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Woodcarver’s work featured in national magazine

June 25, 2011
By Cindy Votruba ( , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - For almost 25 years, Gene Hochhalter of Marshall has created many woodcarvings, ones that are funny, ones that perform an action and various birds and animals.

But it was presents for his grandchildren that had a magazine take notice.

Hochhalter's article "Heirloom Baby Rattles" is featured in "Whittling," a new special issue from the magazine Woodcarving Illustrated.

"Whittling," which recently came out, includes one-knife projects, such as quick and easy projects to specialty projects.

Hochhalter came up with the idea to create a present for each of his three grandchildren, which is featured in the article.

"I thought I should carve some kind of baby rattle instead of just buying one," Hochhalter said.

Hochhalter has a website for his woodcarvings, which included the rattles. Woodcarving Illustrated ( must have found the website, Hochhalter said, because the magazine asked him to write an article on how to carve heirloom baby rattles.

"It's something they haven't seen before, so it's a unique type of project," Hochhalter said. All three of his grandchildren still have their rattles.

Each rattle is a different design. In the article, he said the rattles were inspired by the classic linked chain and ball-in-cage patterns. The rattles can be carved with knives, chisels or rotary-power carving tools.

In the article, Hochhalter said he decided to make the rattles because they are "functional and sentimental."

The article was published a couple of years ago, and now the magazine had wanted to reprint it for a special edition called "Whittling."

"They've been fantastic," Hochhalter said about Woodcarving Illustrated. "I couldn't believe it when they called and wanted to do it again."

Woodcarving was a hobby Hochhalter started in 1986 when a friend encouraged him to start.

"I would've been carving years ago if I thought I could do it," Hochhalter said.

During the years, Hochhalter made many woodcarvings, including ones that are animated.

"I carved a number of animated stuff," he said.

Hochhalter said he wasn't a stylistic carver, everything was realistic to him.

Hochhalter stopped carving about a year ago as myopic degeneration has affected his vision. He can't see the detail that he would put into projects anymore.

But he hasn't gotten rid of the power tools he used to make his woodcarving projects.

"I still might do something," he said.



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