a lifetime of art
The authority on handcarved signs
Paul has published two best selling woodcarving books for beginning carver’s “Woodcarving Illustrated” and “Woodcarving Illustrated II” which he illustrated as he carved. He has been a teacher for over 30 years with as many as 60 students a week at times. Paul became the in-house woodcarver at the U.S.S. Constitution Museum in Boston while his oldest son ran his shop in Scituate. When asked by one of his former apprentices, Billy Rowe, to become the woodcarver at Nantucket Woodcarving in 1992, Paul handed over his shop to his son, Michael McCarthy, now named Yankee Woodcarvers.
During the 11 years of its existence, then on his own till 2006 Paul has been responsible for many of the beautiful signs visitors see today. Some of those are The Atlantic Cafe, The Pearl, Nantucket Town Seals, Sconset Cafe, Rose & Crown, Museum Gift Shop, Nantucket Sleigh Ride, Jared Coffin House, Nantucket Chamber of Commerce and many more.
In 1815 maritime law made it a requisite that every ship have its name affixed to its stern. The law also required that name boards or quarterboards be placed on the ships’ bows or quarter panel. The figurehead carver was often called upon to provide them. The result has been a collection of such quarter boards which shows the endless variety of decorative carvings at the board-ends as well as the carefully incised letter on the boards themselves, many of which were carefully cut and filled with gold leaf so as to show the name clearly at some distance.
“Figureheads & Ship Carvings” at Mystic Seaport by Edouard A. Stackpole
Just take a short stroll on Nantucket and you’ll see several signs handcarved by Paul. Here are just a few…