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Next month, the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, N.C., will open a shop of later 20th-century woodworking iconography titled: “Blood on the Adze: The Hegemony of Post-radicalist Disestablishmentarianism Among Followers of St. Roy.”

The exhibit will showcase a number of objects that have recently been donated to the museum that shed new light on the activities of 20th- and early 21st-century cultists who followed televangelist Roy Underhill, who was named a saint by his followers in 1998 despite protestations from the Vatican who claimed his continuous spilling of blood did not constitute him an intercessory or worker of wonder, but merely as “clumsy.”

The highlight of the show will be four objects that have never been seen before by the public and shed new light on the scholarship of late-20th-century proto-sylvan behavior in North America.

Exhibit 1: Icon of the Saint.
Dimensions: 2-1/2” diameter base; 7-3/4” high.
Material: Ceramic, cloth, spring, sticker

This remarkably well-preserved iconic worship doll exhibits all the classic aspects of the woodworking “superman” – the oversized cranium covered by an unstructured skull-covering, which contains the saint’s “accessory brain.” The circle of cambium – a round cross-section of a tree’s decimated carcase, signifying the saint’s dominance over the subservient species. The Shouldered Axe. The Suspenders. The Mark Spitz Moustache.

This rare ceramic piece has been found at only a few archaeological sites indicating its status as a way for favored followers to seek the approval of the Roy when encountering tricky joinery problems. To this point, archaeologists have been able to elicit only an approving nod from the icon to every question posed to it.

Exhibit 2: Canopic Vessel
Dimensions: 3-1/4” diameter; 4-1/2” high
Material: Ceramic, clear glaze, black paint

Obviously a vessel for the remains of a follower for his or her trip to the afterlife, this particularly well-preserved example was found with a black residue lining the interior, clearly the remains of a follower’s liver.

The vessel is decorated with worshipers engaged in ritualistic acts of destruction and creation – the de-legging of the chair, the tearing of the table and the nailing of the splat. Archaeologists note that the vessel shows three females engaged in ritual activity with one male – obviously the male/female ratio of followers and practitioners of the craft.

Exhibit 3: Sealed Olfactory Relic
Dimensions: 2” x 4”
Materials: Plastic, pulp, string, “aroma”

One of the most mystifying aspects of 20th-century Roy worship, this smallish tree-pulp icon appears designed to hang from some hook or ring that pierces a worshiper’s body. What makes this particular example notable is that it is still sealed in its original clear wrapper. Micro-analysis of the interior contents indicates that the pulpy icon is imbued with compounds that smell alternatively as “pine” or “armpit.”

Exhibit 4: Origami Mobile Worship Container
Dimensions: 1-3/4” x 5” x 7-3/4”
Material: Pulp, ink, adhesive resin

Featuring a stylized portrait of St. Roy on the front, this “Rosetta Stone” of late Roy-ism explains many of the psalms of the followers as transmitted by the official church organ, PBS. While some directives are still being interpreted by academics, others have been newly translated and will be presented for the first time during the exhibit:

“INGREDIENTS: Oaks, jokes, puns, pines, poplars, splinters, dovetails, bent nails, walnuts, small cuts, shavings, sawdust, expletives deleted, blood, sweat and tears”

“GUARANTEE: If you’re not satisfied with the quality or performance of this product, that guarantees you don’t know your adze from a hoe in the ground!”

The exhibit runs through the end of June at the history museum.

— Christopher Schwarz

For an as-yet-incomplete set of gospels of St. Roy, visit ShopWoodworking – the only place to get the word right from the saint himself.

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Showing 10 comments
  • NormJ

    I think you’re on to something. We shoud start a Roy museum. I have some Roy stuff to donate.

  • keithm

    Figuring I entered a time warp … checking calendar (and sundial) Full moon – check, autumnal equinox – check. No, can’t be April 1? Maybe in southern hemisphere???

  • msiemsen

    I didn’t know Roy had his own brand of Breakfast Cereal, I love the box!
    Where can I get some? It could be used during communion.

  • Jonathan Szczepanski

    slow claps … stands with a gradual building of applause.

  • andrae


    I must now sharpen an axe to prepare for a pilgrimage to this holy place. I shall fell trees and split them to build a plank road along the way.

  • tjhenrik

    This very well may be your finest piece to date. I suspect Columbia University has already etched your name in gold.

  • jagriz

    What? Where is

    The Woodwright’s Shop Tool Kit??

    Roy Underhill’s
    highly-modernized, very miniaturized
    when all else fails…

    I guess I’ll have to preserve my specimen along with Norm’s signed biscuit, L-N airplane, and other woodworking culture artifacts of the 20th/21st century and hope my kids don’t throw the stuff out when I pass on… it will then be lost forever.

    BTW, the Tool Kit is a small first-aid kit!

  • Brentpmed

    The “Icon of the Saint” is clearly a fake artifact created by an opposing sect, as the original would have most certainly had bloody prints of the Saint on the circle of cambium’s annular rings…note the pristine, un-lacerated fingers on the false prophet.

  • Adam

    This museum is soon to be razed in protest by the antidisestablishmentarianists, Sect of the Dark Norm. There will be nail guns.

  • pmac

    I’m smiling ear to ear.


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