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Wood Carvers 'Magic Kingdom' Is Austin

Updated: Wednesday, February 26 2014, 01:10 PM CST

On a rural road just south of Austin, R.L. Blair saws and sands every day. "I've been making stuff for 50 years, seven days a week. I can't tell if I'm working or goofing off. It's the same thing," he says.

Thousands of people have probably driven by his outdoor studio, never noticing the crusty old wood carver concentrating on his next creation.

"I don't like to sit still. Every day I make something. I don't care what it is!" Blair says.

Blair's carvings eventually caught the eye of Disney. He was hired to create more than 500 wooden displays for different Disney theme parks in a job that spanned two decades.

But Blair is not a big fan of America's favorite mouse. "I did a five foot Mickey Mouse for them one time. That is a difficult carving to do because there is nothing to work with, big eyes, big button here and a button there. There's no great detail," he says.

Now custom work is history for Blair. At 68, he is officially retired and relishes working on whatever he wants.

"I don't need somebody to dictate to me what they want. It's more fun to just dream it up and make it and it all sells," Blair

He has spent his life transforming plain pieces of wood into art. He's carved 15,000 creations and counting. For him, his woodworking studio is the happiest place on Earth.

"I don't have a wrist watch, an alarm clock or a calendar. Every day is Friday and you can't beat that!" he says.

For more information on his work:

By Judy Maggio

Wood Carvers 'Magic Kingdom' Is Austin

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