Ryan Cook, Williams Lake star in HGTV’s new series ‘Carver Kings’

The show premieres April 5, and showcases the effort and artistry of an under-appreciated medium, says Cook.

B.C.'s Ryan Cook stars in HGTV's new series Carver Kings

B.C.'s Ryan Cook stars in HGTV's new series Carver Kings

So, you’re standing in front of a big, hulking log in Williams Lake. And you have to turn it into a beautiful bald eagle – tail, feathers, beak, trademark piercing eyes, and all.

Better start cutting…

“Oh man, that was my first time doing an eagle like that,” said Ryan Cook, one of the stars of HGTV’s new series Carver Kings – based out of northern B.C. The show premieres on the network, April 5.

“I actually thought I’d knock the eagle out in like a day, but ate some humble pie right away.”

Cook spends much of the first episode chainsaw-ing, carving, and pecking away, eventually creating a regal eagle for a client in Colorado – although he faced some self-imposed adversity, forgetting to leave enough wood for the bird’s tail feathers.

As one of the young guns in the show’s varied cast, the pressure was on – not just to fulfill the client and a tight five-day deadline, but also to prove himself to his mentors he shares the camera with.

“For each one of us, we want to put our best foot forward,” he said Monday, on the phone and on a break from hacking, sawing, and trimming. “It’s cool, because all of the carvers kind of rose up. If one was down, we’d step in and help. And, let them do it themselves.”

Cook, who’s from Britannia Beach north of Vancouver, migrated to wood carving from acting, falling in love with a career he never really knew about while apprenticing on OLN’s series Saw Dogs.

“I got cast in this role and I had no idea what I was doing, ‘What is this?'” he said. “I was into it. As soon as that camera was off me, I was trying to carve.

“That was it. I was hooked.”

After Saw Dogs was cancelled, Cook stuck with it. He turned pro and has travelled to and competed in Canada, Amsterdam, England, France – “every day, something new, something different,” he said.

He joins the cast of Carver Kings after joining Pioneer Log Homes, a Williams Lake-based company which stars in HGTV’s precursor to Cook’s show, Timber Kings.

“It’s been an awesome adventure,” he said. “I’m just so grateful to have had the experience and to move forward.

“It’s a beautiful medium. It’s immersed by soul so much, that it’s what I live for.”

Cook says the best part of the show, although it hasn’t aired yet, is to have the opportunity to showcase a living and an art form that’s no doubt under-appreciated, even in Canada. He didn’t even know about it until Saw Dogs, after all, and now he’s a professional chainsaw artist.

Think of how many hotels, apartment buildings, or homes you’ve been in somewhere in British Columbia, where wood carvings of animals or something else ‘wild’ line the entrances. And how many times have you really stopped and stared at them, and wondered what went into creating them?

“I love that we got a chance to show people and show the viewers just how much passion all the carvers have,” he said. “You really get to see most of the carvers, all on our show are passionate and they study anatomy and how different things would turn, or their muscles… nuances that people wouldn’t really think to even think about.”

And, yes… the drama and the deadlines and the pressure, that’s all real, he says. At least, this isn’t The Hills.

“As much as I know reality shows, everybody knows that some are fake or scripted or whatever, but our show was real and you’ll see it throughout the whole show,” he said.

“It was real situations and in carving, nothing’s ever perfect… There’s always hiccups and things that happen. It became stressful for sure.”

HGTV Canada will air 14 episodes in Carver Kings‘ first season. They were filmed last fall and winter, from September to December, and Cook remembers their final day of shooting bottomed out at minus-32.

As mentioned above, Cook spends the first episode working for respect among his older mentor, Mark Colp. And the others have 30-or-so years on him.

(For example, take Cook’s bio on HGTV.ca: “Ryan may be a newly minted world champion – but nobody at Pioneer cares. He’ll have to prove himself in the yard, just like everyone else.”)

But the growth, he says, unfolds from start-to-finish.

“My place gets more solidified and the guys start to really accept me,” he said. “I’m piecing myself together as a carver… it was tough, but it was a great, great time.

“I just wanted to be myself and have my real character shine through.”

And the lessons learned in September are already paying off.

“Now, I actually do quite a few eagles.”

*You can check out more of Ryan Cook’s work on his Facebook page, Saw Valley, and his Twitter page at @RyanCOOKers.

Ryan Cook Photo

Former actor Ryan Cook got his start in the carving business on OLN’s Saw Dogs, and he’s parlayed that into a globe-trotting career and a role in HGTV’s new series, Carver Kings.

Ryan Cook

The cast of Carver Kings is all smiles on-set in Williams Lake, at Pioneer Log Homes. The show premieres on HGTV on April 5, 2015.

VIDEO: Ryan Cook carves ice in Northern B.C. (Shaw TV Northern BC)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake GMHL expansion questions, concerns, to be discussed later this month

If approved, the team would begin play in the fall of 2021

Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler comes off a night shift on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Our Hometown: The doctor is in the house

Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler was born and raised in Williams Lake

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

(File photo)
Kamloops Mountie bitten while arresting woman

The assault on March 1 is the latest in a string of incidents that have left local officers injured

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read