He's done leather crafting and worked with stained glass, and now his woodworking has garnered several awards.
Former Jefferson City Councilman Cliff Olsen recently received several first-place awards at the Kansas City Elegance in Wood Show.
"I've done wood carving odds and ends all my life," he said. "My dad was a carpenter. I carved the neckerchief slides for my Boy Scouts for 30 years, but it wasn't until 2004 that I got into the more intricate carving."
Olsen won awards for his carvings of nature scenes and his "Bluebird in Dogwood" carving won Best of Group for relief carvings in Kansas City.
"It was my wife that got me into the competitions," he said. "She was in the Firehouse Carvers group. I couldn't go to their meetings when I was on the council and with my Boy Scout duties. But once my schedule cleared, I started going with her and became a member."
Olsen said he took his carvings to shows in places such as Camdenton and won first-place awards there. The projects take anywhere from a few days to a week or more to complete.
"They can get pretty detailed because not only are you carving, but you're also painting," he said.
Olsen said he enjoys doing crafts with his granddaughter, who enjoys glass work.
"I think kids need to put down the video game controls and actually see what they can accomplish," he said.