I thought it’s time I filed a progress report on my attempt to carve a Bald Eagle. But first, let me apologize for not starting on the BE. You see, I’ve been looking at a couple of geese blanks sitting atop my fridge in my shop. Every time I wanted something out of the fridge, I could just hear these two geese honking at me to free them from the blocks of wood! So after a year of resisting, I finally got one down and started shaping and cutting on it, figuring that if I mess it up, at least I wouldn’t be messing up a Bald Eagle. And it would also serve as the Qualifying School, as in pro golf, before getting on the Pro Tour. Is that wrong to give the Bald Eagle a higher regard than a goose?
Oh, I am not completely sure that it is a goose. They didn’t come with instruction or labels. I Googled both ducks and geese and carefully studied several hundred images of both. While it may be a shade big for a duck, the neck may be a little short for a Canadian goose. So, what do my fellow LJs think? Should I add about an inch to the neck so it’ll look more like a goose?
One thing I want to mention is that I really don’t want to paint it after I’m done carving because I don’t want my goose to look like most of those commercial decoys cast in plastic or resin. I noticed that a lot of them are generally shaped and painted without any detail carving of its feather. I think painting him would cover up any detail carving that I spent so much time on, don’t you agree? I may woodburn the fine feather detail and also make a Plexiglas display case to protect it. I am thinking about applying a light stain overall and varnish or polyurethane it to preserve the natural beauty of wood . . . yes even Basswood.
So far, I’m finding that basswood is so soft, if I didn’t hold my tongue just right, it will chip out at the trailing edge of the feather. So to prevent that from further happening, I plan to apply Minwax Wood Hardener on it after I’m done carving. I welcome any input if anyone knows of a better way, please.
Pic 1: I started caving the tail feathers (3811)
Pic 2: Shows the depth of carve (with a dollar bill) on those tail feathers (3856)
Pic 3: Shows what I’ve done to shape each individual feather on the back, wings and side of the bird. (3840)
Pic 4: (3820) As you can see, I’ve knife outlined the feather at lower left, working on the middle area, and at the right show some rough carved and others sanded. Knife carving the detail on each feather is very slow going and extremely tiring (at least for me) on the hands, arms and shoulder muscles. Very often I’ve wished for a gorgeous masseuse after a day of carving – - – LOL. Yah, dream on, LittlePAW!
Pic #5: (3854) I’m still working on this handsome fellow’s head. I’m not happy with his neck and I need to reset the eyes that came with the blank.
So, here’s the update. I just want you to know that I haven’t been loafing – not totally anyway!
-- Paul - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.