MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. — Everybody has probably heard the name Bob Evans…but this Evans isn’t a multi-million dollar sausage maker, nor does he own a chain of restaurants. He’s a quiet, affable 84 year-old man from Middleville that loves to hand carve things out of wood, particularly walking canes.
Bob started carving more than 70 years ago as a boy scout and has found a niche for carving canes for free for folks that need some help and stability walking. While it may not sound like much, he has a small work shop in the garage and a stack of bass wood where he carves by hand with only a knife. He’s made about 40 or so canes over the last several years that he donates to people, many of which are from his church. His technique and trademark is to carve the handle in the form or shape of an animal…what he calls critter canes.
Bob also carves religious figures, baseball heads, and heads of some of his friends for fun. While some of the projects may require being roughed out and cut down on a band saw or use of a belt sander, most of the work is by hand. He tries to capture the animal running, standing, or walking when he solidifies it in wood.
A retired elementary school teacher and administrator by trade (who retired in 1985), he sometimes draws a pattern on each piece of wood to be used as a guide for hand carving. He loves to read…in fact, many of the books in his work shop are instruction books and manuals about how to carve. It’s about a three-day process to make a critter cane and he can produce about 10 or 15 per year.
As we said, he makes them for free (he loves to stay busy) and he literally gives them away to people in need. If you’d like to contact Bob Evans he can be reached at 269 795-4066.