Decorate shelves, walls or table tops with homemade wooden birds. Hang a handmade bird from the back of a chair, curtain rod, a hook above the porch or place it in a tree. Hand crafted birds can be made of various woods from pine balsa wood to hard woods. Carve balsa with a sharp blade and sandpaper, but use complex wood-working tools to cut shapes out of other hard woods. Carving a bird from a soft block of pine wood is easy with an idea, preparation and your materials in place.
Select a bird with a simple shape if you are carving for the first time. Get a mental image of the species of bird you want to carve. Look at pictures, and go to an aviary at a zoo, to observe its movements and shape. Find easy, free, patterns on the Internet and print one out. Make a durable template from cardboard or a thin sheet of plywood. Use this pattern again on future carvings.
Start with a block of pine that is three inches thick, eight and one quarter inches long, and four and one quarter inches wide. Use the print-out pattern as your template.
Check to see that the tail and beak in the pattern go with the grain of the wood. Outline the pattern with a pencil. You’ll be able to erase any markings left on the wood later. Mark the center of the eye with a nail, awl or a drill, before removing the template.
Cut Out and Shape
Stabilize the wood with a clamp, in a drill press or vise. Line up the eyes by using a one sixteenth inch drill bit to drill straight through to the opposite eye.
Cut your bird out with a band saw, a scroll saw; or by hand with a coping saw. Keep the coping saw at a ninety degree angle.
Think of the rounded form of a bird as you sand and smooth the cut out bird. Sand with sandpaper by hand or use a faster method to carving by using a small electronic handcrafting tool kit with a variety of sanders and drill bits.
Shape the channel the eyes sit in. Drill a shallow recessed hole over the small guide you drilled in the eyes. Apply wood filler and fix fake eyes into the fitted holes.
Sand your bird to a soft finish with fine grit sandpaper. Take your homemade winged wonder in hand and carve the wings and tail with etched curves and lines. Choose the next step. Stain or paint your natural wood bird form and seal it, or challenge yourself to carve its feathered parts in detail.
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