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East Lansing man teaches woodcarving and gives away comfort crosses

Posted at 7:58 PM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 19:58:10-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Fred Erbisch found his passion for carving when he was 12 years old. But it was his brother who got carving tools, so he stuck with woodworking.

Five decades later, he gave it another go.

“Finally, when I got into my 60s, I said, ‘Hey, I want to do more with wood than just build, I want to carve.’ So, I started carving,” Erbisch said. “And now it's rare that I don't do some carving every day.”

Erbisch now teaches classes in East Lansing and Charlotte.

“I have right now two specials carving groups,” Erbisch said. “One is in East Lansing, the Primetime program, where we have meet three times a month and carve for several hours. The other one we have about five times a year at Johnson's workbench, they host it and I teach classes there for children and adults.”

“The youngest child I've had is four years old, and the oldest child I've had is 96,” he added.

He provides his students with the materials and comes up with all the ideas.

“People say ‘Well, I just don't have the patience for it’ and I say: Okay, you start carving something and you decide you don't want to carve anymore. You'll lay it down. You'd come back the next day. It's still going to be the same. Come back in a month still the same. Two years still the same,” Erbisch said. You don't have to have patience to carve, you just have to relax and enjoy it.”

In his free time, he carves comfort crosses and gives them away for free to churches and other groups. If you would like to get a cross, you can contact Erbisch at

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Mikayla Temple

Mikayla Temple

1:39 PM, Jan 05, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Mikayla Temple

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