NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | Meet George Effrem, NE Minneapolis wood carver


George Effrem, wood carver and turner, teacher and storeowner, quietly observes that every culture offers its own distinctive style of working wood.  It seems just right, therefore, that Effrem should move to Northeast Minneapolis where the mix of cultures is rich and appreciative of the craft.  Effrem is in the process of settling into new quarters where he will display, teach, support and share his love of the wood carver’s time-honored skill and unique craft.  He is settling into the Wood Carver’s Store & School, located in what locals know as the “Alamo Building” at 1519 Central Avenue Northeast.

Though the site is new, the craft is in Effrem’s DNA.  For many years his father plied the wood carver’s trade in Southwest Minneapolis.  George learned the craft at an early age.  In the late 1980’s he took over his father’s business.  Along the way he studied at Bethel where he majored in art and business, studied commercial art at the Hennepin Technical Center, and honed his craft with short-term study in England.

Effrem and his colleagues offer formal classes and will also share their knowledge on an individual basis.  The curriculum ranges from fundamentals to detailing and finishing a wood carving.

The Woodcarver’s Store aspect of the business meets the needs of neophytes and expert carvers alike.  Customers, including students, hobbyists, sculptors, printmakers, and the intellectually curious about all things plumb the depths of George’s experience with the wood carver’s craft.  The shop teems with wood crafters’ tools – hand and power tools that wood crafters recognize as gouges, chisels, mallets, veiners, fluters, rasps, rifflers, even books and safety gloves.

George cites a number of reasons for his move to Northeast, in particular the culturally diverse neighborhood that welcomes artists and crafters.  He noes the recent move of the American Craft Council to the Grain Belt Brewery just up the street.  In his mind’s eye he sees a day when there will be an exhibit of “woodcarving around the world” at the nearby Northeast Library.

On a practical note he mentions that he welcomes that fact that his shop and school are close to both downtowns, the U of M and the many colleges that offer wood carving classes.  He is also pleased to know that customers and learners have  ready access via public transit — MTC #10 stops in front of the Wood Carver’s Store & School  every few minutes.

Wood Carver’s Store & School is open afternoons, sometimes more.  Stop in or make an appointment – reach George Effrem at or call/leave a message at 612 927 7491.


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