When Chris Voit and his wife, Leslie, moved to Dassel last spring, they brought with them a passion for wood carving. Now they’ve turned that passion into a profession with Carved Creations.

Chris, who worked as a machinist in Jackson, Minnesota, started his business there, mostly designing wood-carved signs and decor at family members’ requests. He recently decided to make it official and launched his website carvedcreations.business.site. Now, working in Hutchinson and living in Dassel, he wants to bring his business to the community.

He’s designed specialized Department of Natural Resources ID signs for ice houses with wildlife scenes, a mountain landscape of Colorado for his mother, 6-foot tall welcome signs, candle holders and almost anything one could ask for carved out of wood. Chris said he began being interested in wood carvings due to his family.

“My dad and grandpa both did custom cabinetry,” Chris said. “They showed me the importance of good, quality work. That’s what led me to my career in machining.”

Chris, a native of Heron Lake, Minnesota, attended a private school in Wisconsin where he first learned about machining. The school scheduled tours of businesses for students to explore career options. He visited a machining shop and from there decided to attend Chippewa Valley Technical College to study machining.

Much like cabinetry, machining takes a skilled mind. A raw hunk of metal is transformed into bumpers for cars or intricate shapes to fit anything imaginable. At his machining job, Chris was promoted and began learning programming. Combining his two passions — machining and woodworking — with his knowledge of programming, he found a home in Dassel with a large enough workshop to make his business come to life.

Chris inputs a program into software on his computer that tells a machine exactly how to carve into the wood for his custom creations.

“You have to figure out the size of a project, cut a board to roughly that size, take those dimensions and create a 3D file on the computer,” he said. “I pick out the router bits to create different details and scenery. It’s called a router bit, but it’s V-shaped. It spins and the machine moves it around and cuts it to certain depths.”

And the router bit, the piece that attaches to the machine that carves into the wood, is where the name and logo of his business came from.

“It all revolves around the bit I use to make my signs,” Chris said.

Chris said Leslie’s keen eye for design helps him create home decor, adding two sides to his business. He has made wall hangings, coasters and more, all engraved with Bible verses just for Leslie. So far he’s completed about 50 projects since he’s started the business.

Chris said he had always dreamed of having his own business and liked to work with computerized machines. Now he is living that dream.

“The wood is kind of like a blank canvas,” he said, “and you can carve it into anything.”

Cam Bonelli is editor of the Leader’s sister newspaper, the Litchfield Independent Review.