Turned Birds

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Project by SPalm posted 05-19-2013 05:57 PM 2981 views 21 times favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These guys keep staring at me while at the breakfast table. I am not sure whether to smile or look away.

I am trying to teach myself to turn. These birds are part of my education. I have spent the last couple of weeks playing with them. They are addicting. The two maple ones with the flat heads are the first two that I turned, and then the others came in as a procession. They even have names – I am going nuts. The skinny mahogany one with the long beak is Ralph.

I saw the idea from a Norwegian turner named Lars Beller Fjetland (‘ya gotta just love that name). They are turned from a central core with a belly piece and two matching wings on the sides. The central core can either be a solid block or two book-matched pieces. I tried to show in picture #6 the effect of the book matching. Either curved-in or curved-out matching works, I just made sure to book-match or a goofy grain pattern would ruin the work. Those are before and after shots of Cindy’s and Gertrude’s backsides showing the grain. I matched the grain direction on their wings too.

Ollie’s big eyes were drilled before turning, first with a small bit and then a half inch bit. This was the only one that I predrilled. It worked out better than drilling on the curve after turning. The beaks are 3/16” round and were made with wood chucked into a drill and sandpaper.

They are about 3.5 inches tall by about 2.25 inches round. They are made of various woods including cherry, maple, walnut, rose wood, mahogany, and leopard wood. Finish is Danish oil and wax.

Thanks for looking,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

42 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3311 days

#1 posted 05-19-2013 06:03 PM

This is a great project for beginning turners, Steve.

I stared at them for a minute or so trying to visualize how they were done. All of a sudden it hit me, and I thought “Gee, why didn’t I think of that!”

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View a1Jim's profile


113840 posts in 2670 days

#2 posted 05-19-2013 06:37 PM

Steve this are really cool ,your always so good at finding and creating unique Ideas.

-- Custom furniture

View kiefer's profile


4229 posts in 1760 days

#3 posted 05-19-2013 06:41 PM

Well now that is a gift item that would make any body smile .
I just love them and will be something I try on my band saw lathe .
Thanks for posting this Steve .

-- Kiefer 松

View PurpLev's profile


8522 posts in 2741 days

#4 posted 05-19-2013 06:42 PM

very sweet. not everyone has birds to teach him how to turn – consider yourself lucky ;)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View oakwood's profile


321 posts in 1162 days

#5 posted 05-19-2013 06:46 PM

The birds are adorable and have a certain charm about them…luv em. I have seen these before and totally forgotten about them. Nice work and thanks for posting .

ps These guys would also look great with hats on, small legs and feet and so on. There is no end to the possibilities. Just a thought.

View stefang's profile


14979 posts in 2427 days

#6 posted 05-19-2013 07:00 PM

Cute birds Steve. They look nicely turned and finished too. I was thinking that you could put these birds to work as nice salt/pepper shakers if they were hollowed out and had holes drilled through the top.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View nonickswood's profile


502 posts in 1480 days

#7 posted 05-19-2013 07:03 PM

These are Great!! Steve,
I am partial too Ollie,- looks like a little Barn Owl.
What a Great Fun! project.

-- Nick, Virginia,

View Karson's profile


34994 posts in 3493 days

#8 posted 05-19-2013 07:53 PM

Now you need to hollow them out and make Salt and Pepper Shakers out of them.

A very nice job Steve.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View fernandoindia's profile


1079 posts in 2036 days

#9 posted 05-19-2013 08:00 PM

Cute birds Steve. Are those segmented birds?

A lot of suggestions here.

if you include hats on, small legs and feet and so on.


if they were hollowed out and had holes drilled through the top you´ll get nice salt/pepper shakers

you can add a pile of papers in the bottom, and u get nice paperweights preventing papers to fly

-- Back home. Fernando

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

14435 posts in 2198 days

#10 posted 05-19-2013 08:02 PM

Nice ones, Steve. For sure they are not angry birds like they sell all over the place!!
Nice job on them.
Watch them or they’ll eat your breakfast!!........................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View amagineer's profile


1402 posts in 1690 days

#11 posted 05-19-2013 08:15 PM

Steve; I agree with everyone, they are so unique and fun to look at. They could be used as gifts for showers and parties even variations like Fernando’s idea’s. Thanks for sharing this wonderful design.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View sras's profile


4270 posts in 2222 days

#12 posted 05-19-2013 08:20 PM

What a fun project! So many comments on this one!!

They even have names – I am going nuts. ” Not long of a trip to get there was it? ;) Seriously though you need to tell us all their names.

+1 on the salt/pepper shaker idea (Fernando beat me to it)

I like how they all turned in unison on Pic 2 – did you make a noise to get them all to look the same way?

If that’s Ollie in Pic 4, is Stanley with him?

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View peteg's profile


3477 posts in 1915 days

#13 posted 05-19-2013 08:40 PM

Steve, man these are real cool little dudes, love the variation you have with the same theme, fabulous mate

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View JL7's profile


8127 posts in 2058 days

#14 posted 05-19-2013 08:46 PM

These are super cool Steve….you should also consider making an Angry Bird version… the names…

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View lew's profile


10701 posts in 2848 days

#15 posted 05-19-2013 08:48 PM

What infectious little characters, Steve!!
Love the one with big eyes!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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