Maple Hen


I just finished a hen bowl in maple and left it natural except for the bit of red paint on the comb.  Besides the lack of paint on the body, I made a couple other changes compared to those I’ve carved before.


The most obvious difference is the longer tail feathers.  This log was long enough to allow for them, so I used it up.  The finished bowl is 15 inches long, 7 inches wide, and 4 3/4 inches high.  The coloration of the wood near the beak and tail occurred while the log was in storage.  Begins pretty quickly in maple, and I like the effect in this case.


Here’s the blank prepared and laid out.


I hollow it out first.  The adze does a bit of the work, but with such a deep and undercut hollow it gets put aside pretty quickly in favor of a bent gouge.  After that, the remainder of the hollowing work is done with a spoon bent gouge and hook tools.  Then I hew the outside with an axe and follow up with a spokeshave.  Then it’s ready to dry before moving on.


After drying, I sketch on the ridge lines between the flutes to be carved and dig in with a gouge.  Just keep it between the lines.  I wrote a post about that general process here.

One last shot with the oiled hen tilted for a better view of the hollow and crest.





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9 Responses to Maple Hen

  1. Scott Thomas says:

    Certainly a grand champion poultry winner at the fair Dave. The touch of red comb is just right. I always appreciate your “in process ” photos along with the end product. It’s good to see from where it comes, answering which was first, the chicken or the log?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marie L Pelletier says:

    oh yeah, really nice–beauty–

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Reed says:

    Really like this a lot! Carving cross grain on the tail feathers? Thanks David


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Yes, for the tail feathers I carved the division between them with a v tool then removed the wood along the sides with distinct cuts across the grain with a gouge. At least, that was the method for this one. We’ll see on the next one. Thanks John.


  4. Jed Dillard says:

    More good work and good explanation of the steps.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John Fielding says:

    Hi Dave, a beautiful bowl! I’m impressed with how you keep expanding your designs and executions! I was in your class at Fine Woodworking back in April; thanks for the knowledge and inspiration! Don’t know if you recall, but after that class I sent you a pic of a walnut ladle I had carved… I now have roughed out and dried a bowl blank from walnut we cut here on our farm in Virginia for the next “challenge”. Just curious; have you ever carved scrolled bowl handles, like the scroll on a fiddle head? Any suggestions on the layout/carving sequence? All the best, and thanks, John Fielding

    Sent from my iPad



  6. Dave Fisher says:

    Thanks, John. Glad to hear you’ve continued to do more with the walnut from the farm. I have carved a few scroll ends. Here’s one example in this post
    Here’s another
    In my website gallery there are a couple other examples (image #41 and #48)
    As you see, I’ve explored different ways of transitioning from the surfaces of the bowl into the scroll, ending the scroll, and so on. I try to carve a clean surface on the sides of the scroll to sketch the outline onto. Once I’m happy with one, I transfer some key points over to the other side then sketch that as well. Sorry for the lack of details on the layout and carving. It will require a individual post or article to get more into that. I’ll aim for that sometime in the future.


  7. John Fielding says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Dave. Carve on!


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