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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been raining off and on around here most of the day, so I was looking for something to keep busy with. In my scrap lumber box I found a couple pieces of 2 x 4's I had ripped down to 2x2's to make one project or another. Not sure what type of wood the 2 x 4's are made from (smells like pine or fir) but after whittling on it for a bit I thought this stuffs not half bad to carve.

I have roughed out this eagle for a topper on a red oak staff I picked up while walking through the woods at the county park last week.

The hardest part is next, adding the feathers so it looks like an eagle. Maybe a combination of V gouge and wood burning? Any suggestions?

Attached pics are the piece of 2x2, roughed out eagle and red oak staff.
 

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Your carving is coming right along.

Looks to me like a high grade piece of white pine. Its hard to find pine that is free enough of knots and sap pockets, as well as a tight even grain. That carves really well. But I've only seen top grade in 1" nominal thickness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks gdenby.

Looking at the "eagle" today I have quite a bit more shaping to do on the head to make it look more eagle like, it looks more like a puffin at this point.

I believe your right on with it being pine, I am slightly allergic to pine pollen and the way my sinus's reacted I think I'm slightly allergic to the saw dust as well. (should quit looking at the dust mask hanging on the nail and wear it!)
 

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Thanks gdenby.

Looking at the "eagle" today I have quite a bit more shaping to do on the head to make it look more eagle like, it looks more like a puffin at this point.

I believe your right on with it being pine, I am slightly allergic to pine pollen and the way my sinus's reacted I think I'm slightly allergic to the saw dust as well. (should quit looking at the dust mask hanging on the nail and wear it!)
Hah, your eagle looks more like an eagle than my 1st owl, which I am not going to show. When I showed it to the missus, she said "Oh! A little rooster head."

Sigh, from the mouths of babes.
 

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You have chosen a difficult subject to carve always had difficulty with the eagle.

To carve a very small piece is difficult .I would use a rotary cutter to texture the bird ,but you should consider rounding of the body more .on small pieces the shape is more improtant than the detail.

I just normally carve the head it allows me to make it bigger and enables much more detail to be carved .Have you tried looking at decoys carving the give a lot of detail to texturing the birds and loads of hints on painting which you may find useful .

The most difficult thing with carving any bird is thats its difficult to get good refernce pictures from the front , you can get loads of pictures from a side perspective if you can lay your hands on some they would help both with shape and texture

I would think that a v gouge would be to big a tool to use on such a small piece and a knife would be more pratical. as for the finish it would depend what you want a natural finish with some wood burning or painted .

But good look with it
 

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Thanks guys for the input.

I think the "eagle" is about as far as I can go with it. I don't think the head is quite right but its about the best I can do with the size stock I started with. Next one I do I think I will do as Cobalt does and glue on another piece of wood. An eagles head is more elongated than upright and his body sits at about 30* angle to the head, rather than upright as I have carved it. You need more stock to accomplish this, maybe an extra piece at the beak area.

I removed the eyes I had placed on the rough bird, lowered the head and sloped it down more toward the beak. Then I repositioned the eyes on either side of the beak as they should be. I used a 90* palm V tool and a detail knife to put in the head feathers and then burned them for accent. The body feathers were installed using an 8 mm gouge pushed in then removed to raise the wood. I then inverted the piece and flooded stain under the feathers for accent. Tail feathers were done with the knife/V-tool and burned for accent.

After I attach this carving to the staff I am going to try a mixture I saw on Lumber Jocks. Its a home made wiping varnish of equal parts boiled linseed oil , stain, mineral spirits and spar urethane.
 

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Nice feather effect ,overall your carving is improving , Some items are difficult to carve but hopefully each time we try improvemenst are made.,but i keep trying and hopefuuly some thing i do will come out really well..

its not a bad finish on it ,not bad at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had originally planned to put this topper on a red oak staff, but I had this hickory stick already debarked and finished. It had been sitting in my "stick barrel in the garage since last summer. I thought the eagle was a good fit, so I drilled it and epoxied the two together.

I also took another .25 of an inch from the top of the eagles head, I think it looks proportionately better. After all is dry I will finish this stick and post the last pics.
 

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Really, for an early effort, the carving turned out pretty well. Next time will be better.

For the past few years I've tried to become a passable home cook. Something that encourages me is a quote from Thomas Keller, arguably the top chef in America. He was asked how many times one had to practice a technique to get it right, his reply was that it took 5000 tries.
 

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Nice MJC4. My eagles did not look that good for a long time. One of the things that was a big help to me was going to a carving club. Not sure where you are in Indiana. There are a number of of groups in you state. Most meet once or twice a month. I have found carvers to be a fun helpful group of people.
 

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Keep carving it gives satisfaction and keeps you out of trouble well my wife says so?

I to would like to jion a carving club but there dosnt seem to be one in my local area which is s a pity. could do with some help with my work have trouble carving hands and feet. So its all a learning curve

You work is improving and it will get better as time goes by , but like my carving its on the small side always more difficult how much detail you can get in i think sometimes that its better to concerntrate on the shape but i always seem to want to do the impossible and then spoil the whole pieice.It seems knowing how far to go with it ,its like painting when is it finished?
 

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Sketch sketch sketch :) similar muscle training to carving. But I can tell its an eagle, so better than my early days :)
 

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2x4 eagle topper stick is finished.

I wrapped the joint with suede leather, at the insistence of my wife. (I believe it is her intention to abscond with this stick! :ph34r:)

The shank was already stained with Minwax gunstock . I tried a wiping varnish concoction I saw on another site of equal parts boiled linseed oil, spar urethane and mineral spirits for a finish. (They called it poor Man's Danish Oil) Then burnished the stick. I liked the results, not as thick (?) looking as straight urethane. Pics don't do the finish justice
 

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so whats the next project?

looking for something different myself ..Think mayby a bit of serialisum? Rene Magritte takes my fancy ,bit of a fan of his work
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Next project, mmmm?

1) My grandson's wife wants me to do a self standing owl for their fireplace mantel, she has pics of one from a craft magazine. ( I have not seen it yet, so not sure how intricate) 2) Or I have that book I ordered from Tree Line, "Carving Wood Spirits Beyond the Basics". I would like to try the author's method of carving wood spirits, or 3) My wife has requested a duck on a stick. (Sounds like something you get to eat at the county fair doesn't it ?)

Or my sister is turning 60 middle of the month, thought I'd take one of my early wood spirit sticks and dress it up a little for her B-Day.

Probably do that first, then who knows?
 
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