Saturday, January 15, 2011

Two New Tools and a Shorebird

This year's Christmas list was weighted heavy with carving items and other tools. Santa came through and added to my stash of woodworking goodies. Two are mentioned in this post, since I have found them most useful for my current project, a shorebird.

Living on Long Island gives me access to a wide variety of beaches and coastal marshes. Although I don't get to the be as often as I'd like, I do prefer the more natural areas that favor and protect wildlife. Shorebirds are among my favorites and it's always a thrill to see them running about in their natural surroundings. So I thought maybe I'd try carving a few. After searching around online and taking out a few books from the library, I decided I prefer the smaller birds and especially the ones with very long beaks. I also decided o do a more stylized version of some of my favorites, but keeping fairly close to actual form and proportions. I'm just not interested in trying to burn in every feather with scientific precision.

I am carving this from basswood with a piece of dowel I formed for the beak. The legs will be made from coat hanger and wrapped with some yellow/blue epoxy and painted. That will give me the strength I need and allow me to form the kneecaps. I haven't decided on a base yet.

The new tools? Well, one is a 3" Flexcut draw knife, helpful in rounding out the corners after I roughed it on the bandsaw. After further shaping the body with a shallow gouge and a utility knife, I took the body over to my new favorite tools, a Ryobi combo sander station. The belt allowed me to get the body to the shape you see here in minutes! Next, I'll use a bench knife to add texture to the body and some definition under the wings. To get a stylized "feather" look, I plan to paint the body, sand off some of the paint for a weathered look. Should be a quick and fun project.

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