‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Tony Dow Shows Off Breathtaking Wood Carvings

by Jennifer Shea
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Former Leave It to Beaver star Tony Dow went on to become an accomplished artist, and his sculptures and wood carvings now sell for thousands of dollars. Dow pours as much as 50 hours of work into each wood carving he produces, crafting a dramatic figure out of a gnarled piece of wood.

In a recent interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Dow showed off some of his wood carvings, which he said have a symmetry all their own.

“Once you start a piece, that piece takes control,” Dow said. “What it does is it tells you what you need to do next.”

See Dow show off his carvings here:

Nature Inspires Tony Dow

In a 2011 interview with Second Act Online, Dow opened up about his second career as a sculptor. He said he draws much of his inspiration as an artist from themes in nature – contrasting shapes, shadows and materials.

“I will have a subject matter that I’ll decide I want to do, or I’ll have a real interesting piece of wood that I just want to start working on,” Dow explained. “A lot of this stuff is done by hand. The majority of stuff, in the beginning, was done by hand, and the main tool was this particular tool. It’s 30, 40 years old. It’s a pattern-maker’s file. You can’t find them very much anymore. Extremely efficient.”

Dow went on to demonstrate how he starts out with an unsculpted piece, then he cuts it down a little bit, files it down a little bit more, and continues to work on it that way. He works on it with chisels – he has a wide range of chisels for use in his workshop – until he has a partially sculpted piece of wood. From there, it goes to the foundry.

“The inspiration for most of my stuff tends to come from nature,” Dow added. “I mean, I really, I love nature, and as I mentioned, I love contrasts. I love contrasts between different materials, different colors, but primarily different shapes.”

Watch Tony Dow give a tour of his workshop here:

Dow Loses Himself In His Artwork

But where does he get the raw materials for his artwork? Dow apparently goes up into the woods behind his house to scavenge for chunks of wood to sculpt in his workshop. Sometimes he finds wood leftover from a fire, sometimes it’s from a fallen tree; occasionally he’s even found pieces lying by the side of the road.

As for the sculpting itself, Dow tends to spend long chunks of time in his workshop, occasionally as much as eight hours at a stretch. He gets caught up in the work and loses track of time.

So now Dow has fashioned quite a lucrative hobby out of his pastime, to the extent that it’s become his second career. And diehard Leave It to Beaver fans can purchase artwork hand-crafted by Dow from his website if they’re so inclined.