B.C. wood carver forced to rebuild after fire destroys workshop | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. wood carver forced to rebuild after fire destroys workshop

Recently completed cedar sculpture 'Cow Boss' was commissioned for the city of Williams Lake, but was lost in the April 16 fire.
Image Credit: Facebook/Pine River Carving
April 26, 2021 - 7:30 AM

Wood carver Ken Sheen has some rebuilding to do after his work shop 'Castle Cariboo,' between Quesnel and Williams Lake, went up in flames on Friday.

He had just finished work on 'Cow Boss,' the second iteration of a sculpture commissioned for the city of Williams Lake. While in the process of writing an email to tell the city it was ready for pick up, he was shocked to look back at his dog barking and scratching at the door, only to find his property was on fire.

Sheen lost all the pieces he worked on over the winter and many specialized tools he's collected over the years.

"Normally, I'll carve until pieces are 80 or 90% done in the winter. Then get all the fine tuning done in the summer," he said.

On April 19, Sheen said he went out to return deposits to everyone whose commissioned works burned up in the fire. They were hesitant, but he suggested to them there were other ways to help. Like offering a hand to clean up or rebuild the property.

"Today I was in town and found a quonset at a good price. It's all doable," he told iNFOnews.ca. "I'm trying to come up with a portable shop and get gravel hauled in. It's good to have such a supportive community."

He was tired after a weekend of cleaning up debris.

After all his tools and works lost in the fire, Sheen is glad that he was able to stay busy through the winter amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I self-isolated all winter and I was busy. That was one positive, even though I didn't get anything out of it. The pandemic has made everyone stressed," he said.

As for what caused the fire, Sheen is certain he can point the blame at his saw dust burner.

"I know what the cause was and I'm not the first carver this has happened to. I accumulate a lot of saw dust over time, and in the winter I burn it in my outdoor heater," he said. "I was using a burner out back over last three days, but this spring has been drying up so fast, I guess sparks got out and it went right to the shop."

Sheen said he has many friends in the carving community that will help him re-acquire some of his lost tools, and there is also a fundraiser launched to help him rebuild.

Although it's unlikely he'll get all the specialized tools he once had, Sheen just needs enough to get carving again.

"I'm just at that age where it's about time to retire," he said. But in lieu of the fire and all the winter carvings that burned up, he's determined to continue his work.

You can check out the fundraiser to help Ken Sheen rebuild his workshop here.

Image Credit: Facebook/Pine River Carving

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