Former Disney Imagineer Finds New Passion, Becomes “Woodcarver Guru”

in Disney, Disneyland Resort

Credit: @woodcarverguru on Instagram

If you’ve ever dreamed about owning a piece of Disney history or, even better, learning from a former Disney Imagineer, now’s your chance!

Bringing Disneyland Resort to life in all its glory took the work of thousands of Cast Members and Disney Imagineers, each master of their own trade. From architects to artists, engineers, plumbers, construction workers, cooks, carpenters, and so many more, the legacy of thousands of hands that helped shape Disneyland Resort into the Happiest Place on Earth will live in the hearts of Disney fans forever.

Disneyland exhibition at 2015 d23 expo
Credit: D23

Related: Guest Shares Unusual Disneyland Souvenir In Their Family For Generations

However, most of us have, at least once, dreamt of hearing all the stories and learning all the secrets from Disney Imagineers like Bob Gurr, Joe Rohde, Bob Weis, and Tony Baxter. Fortunately, Raymond Kinman, a former Disney Imagineer, has become the “Woodcarver Guru” and now dedicates his life to creating breathtaking custom pieces and passing along all his tips and tricks to master the art of woodcarving.

Raymond Kinman’s woodworking career reportedly launched in the late 70s after he accidentally volunteered to hand-carve a sign for his friend’s restaurant in the Lake Tahoe town of Kings Beach, California, despite never having picked up a chisel in his life at that point. The sign kicked off a decades-long career for Kinman, who hand-carved designs for rides and restaurants in the Disney Parks, and, most recently, creates hand-crafted pieces of art, some inspired by Disney, for private collectors, with some pieces reaching a $50k price tag.

Raymond Kinman, former imagineer, hand carving a wooden piece of art
Credit: @woodcarverguru on Instagram

Some of his work at Disneyland includes the wooden sign for the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost, which can no longer be found at the California theme park, and the Country Bear Playhouse Sign, another defunct Disneyland attraction.

Credit: ITM

Kinman has also found a new passion in teaching, as he offers three-day workshops at his home in northern California, for which participants, some of who travel across the globe to learn the trade from the “Woodcarver Guru,” pay $1,450 to hone their skills. Many students have never carved wood in their life, to which Kinman comments, “When they leave, they have their project and are saying, ‘I can’t believe this came out of my hands.’ Giving a student permission to try is really all they need.”

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