Best of 2003: Best Wood Mantel Carver

Bill Nevers, Nevers Oak
312 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

For 26 years, artist and sculptor Bill Nevers has been carving mantelpieces. "I love them because they are so important in a house," he says. He'll carve dolphins, birds, seashells, your family crest, life-size dogs, horses, your initials -- anything -- for a few hundred dollars to $50,000. A mantel with fifteen horses coming at you with roses on the side sells for $26,500. One with elephants is $16,000. The price often depends on the wood. A "Dolphin and Surfer" mantel carved from poplar costs $3000. Expect to wait about three months from order to delivery.

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