Hand Carved and Painted Realistic Wooden Bird Sculpture
CARVING AN EAGLE
The following photos show and explain the steps that were
used to complete the eagle shown on the Home Page
This carving is made from four inch thick air dried basswood. After a drawing of the bird is completed, measurements are taken and wood is cut to size and then glued up. After the glue is spread, clamps are placed at even intervals around the edges and it is allowed to cure over night.
After the clamps are removed, the outside edge of the bird is drawn. This profile is then cut out on the band saw.
The head and the body were shaped separately. The surfaces to be glued were sanded lightly on a 12" disc sander to create flat surfaces resulting in a good glue joint.
After the surfaces were joined, 4 screws were used to tighten the joint. When the glue set, the screws were removed so they would not hamper the carving process.
9/16 steel rods were used for the legs. They had to be heated so they could be bent.
A 2 pound hammer and a few heavy blows were used to bend the legs to the angle needed.
Holes were drilled into the leg positions of the bird
Shaping the legs
Now the bird is ready to stand on his own
It's time now to lay out and start shaping the crossed primary feathers.
Removing all unneeded wood around the primaries with a grinder
The primaries are ready for detail carving.
After the heavy roughing is done, the shape of the feather patterns are defined
Ready for feather carving.
Now we're going to take a slight detour and I will show how the base was made. When finished, the bird will be standing on 3 layers of rocks. What you see here is the top layer that the bird will be attached to. That is why it is made of wood. It is connected to the base by 4 wooden pillars that are screwed and epoxied for strength.
The rocks on the lower 2 layers are made of foam blocks that are glued together and cut with a knife to shape them.
This is the base totally formed.
The rock forms are now covered with a cellulose mix (kind of like paper mache') called Sculpt-a-Mold. It's put on in layers over a few hours as each coat hardens. The base is then put under a fan for 4 days to dry and is then painted
The next step is to cut out the feet and then fit them to the contour of the top rock. The foot is laid on the rock where it will be sitting. The contour of the rock is then traced onto the bottom of the foot and then cut to shape with the band saw.
The fit to the rock is now fairly close but it still needs to be refined. Carbon paper is laid on the rock carbon side up and then the foot is pushed down hard against the carbon.
Here you can see the spots that the carbon made. Each one has to be carved down and then the same thing is done over and over again until the foot fits the contour of the rock perfectly
After the feet are snugly fitted to the rock, the detail is carved into each toe. The talons are made from sharpened copper wire and inserted into the end of the toes.
After roughing and sanding, the detail carving starts with the head and nape feathers
and then down the body to the tail after many hours of carving
Still carving feathers
When the carving is finished, the feather detail is burnt into the feathers with wood burning tool
The final carving detail is completed and the bird is ready to paint