Shawn Cipa

Shawn Cipa carves Santa figures. Well, ok he doesn't just carve them - after all most carvers have done that. But Shawn carves unique and animated Santas and only a few carvers do that. And at the annual Woodcraft National Santa Carving contest they name a Santa Carver of the Year. In 2000 only one carver achieved that, Shawn Cipa.

As Shawn puts it:

"Already possessing a solid art background since childhood, I started woodcarving in 1993, after I aquired a small set of carving tools. My first attempt was a bearded "wood spirit" face, which I scrawled into a piece of found driftwood. After many failed attempts and several piles of firewood later, I eventually improved my skills and now enjoy myself immensely. Having been raised in the rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania, I constantly find inspiration among the rural settings. I have resided there to this day. Woodcarving is my livelihood; I live it and breathe it."

Shawn has a web site by the way. Check out his site at this link. While there check out the book section. Shawn has written five books on different aspects of carving. Our personal favorite is the one on carving Gargoyles.

We got to know him when he purchased a Grip-All Jaws Bench Vise Kit.

Shawn's walking sticks are something to behold. He makes them for himself as the creativity dictates and on commission.

This snake is carved from basswood and is mounted on a shaft of turned maple. According to JK Rowling, a snake was the symbol and mascot of Slitheryn House at Hogwarts. In our opinion, this example is far more interesting than the movie version. It does have a certain air of authority.


Like the snake, this Borzoi head was carved in basswood and was a commission for a friend with Borzois.. It was attached to a shaft of white birch but the joint between the two is a sandwich of mahogany and black walnut. We're sure it's a great walking stick but it's so beautifully detailed. No doubt the owner engages in many a conversation answering questions about it. Nice work, Shawn.

We at Grip-All Jaws are certainly proud to have Shawn as one of our customers.