Busying idle hands

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Local man creates Irish-themed wood-carving business after life-altering transplant

By Ramsey Scott

Even though Troy Gill started carving wood as a way to occupy his time while recovering from surgery last August, he wouldn’t necessarily call it a form of therapy. 


“It couldn’t be therapy because I kept slicing my fingers,” Gill said. 

What started for Gill as a hobby has become Celtic Wood Works, Gill’s custom Irish-themed wood-carving business. This past weekend’s Colorado Irish Festival at Clement Park marked the first time Gill has taken his work from his garage to a festival. 

Gill said he was going crazy being still while recovering from kidney and pancreas transplant surgery. Being idle didn’t suit him at all, especially after serving in the military and then as an insurance fraud investigator for 17 years, 

“I was bored. I was down not doing anything,” Gill said. 

So he started to whittle a piece of wood. After he finished carving the first piece, he started on the second one. 

“I’d do something a bit more intricate. I’d screw it up three or four times before I got it right,” Gill said. 

Despite the cuts to his hands, Gill said the carving was great therapy while he was restricted. 

“It keeps your mind going. I hate being idle,” Gill said. 

Gill said he had dabbled in sketching and air-brush painting when he was younger but never took any formal training. 

He focuses on Irish designs in his work because he loves their intricacies. It also didn’t hurt that he has Irish ancestry plus his wife moved here from Ireland more than 20 years ago. 

His in-laws in Ireland have kept him busy with requests for carvings. 

When you consider that hundreds of years ago, artists in Ireland were carving these intricate designs into stone and steel with the most basic tools, it’s just impressive, Gill said.  

Now Gill is hooked on carving.

“I didn’t know I’d be into it this much,” Gill aid. “I think it’s important to test yourself each time you start a piece.”

Gill said he plans on trying to go to other Celtic festivals to show off his work, and recently he put up a website for his business. For more information, visit www.celticwoodworks.net.

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22 and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.