Odd Birds (and Other Winged Things)

At first glance, this rhododendron bird bowl seems typical of other bird bowls I’ve carved, but this one was an experiment in working with crotch wood. As usual, I learned from it.

There’s the huge rhododendron Y above. The area in the center of the Y has a very different grain situation from a crook. At the confluence of grain between the two branches, there is all sorts of crazy tensions and toughness,. Still, seeing that nice curve, I had to try it.

I split the crooks off of the outside. Some spoons from those will be appearing soon. Then I cut the central “stem” off beneath the crotch.

After planing the bottom flat, I was ready to find the bird in there.

There’s the finished little bird, and my hand for scale, oriented to match the blank in the previous photo.

So, while it worked out in the end, it was tough going! Even green, that crotch grain area was hard as nails. And as the piece dried it moved and twisted all over the place. A narrow crack opened up along one side. It didn’t extend to the inside and I Iet some CA glue wick into it. After drying, I went back and carved the whole thing back into shape. You can see the remnant of the crack running from foot to wing, right along the center of the crotch. All of the movement took place during the drying process. It’s solid and stable now.

Another finished experiment is the bird above. An exploration in working white pine. I showed some progress shots in this post. As expected, the biggest challenge was getting clean polished cuts in this soft wood that just crushes if the tool is not ultra sharp. It worked out, but I don’t plan on making a habit of it. It was better, I think, to carve it green when the cells were more supported by water. Maybe.

I painted the inside with thinned artist oil paint.

A shot from above.

Not a bird, but almost as big. Chip and I came outside one morning last week and found the largest moth I (we) had ever seen on the door frame. Five inch wing span. As I learned, it’s an Imperial Moth. Chip was curious but cautious. No harm came to the moth.

One last flyer, a bumblebee reveling in Rose of Sharon pollen in the side yard last week. There’s always more to learn and notice.

This entry was posted in bird bowls, finding wood, nature, trees, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Odd Birds (and Other Winged Things)

  1. sartorius2015 says:

    Love the facial detail on the pine bird. That line caught my eye. All the birds are great. Just saw a dead one of those moths on the sidewalk in front of the local grocery. Even in beat up condition it was striking.


  2. Scott Thomas says:

    Dave, as always, your carving eye and talent are greatly admired but I also enjoy your sharing of what you and trusty companion Chip come across on you journey through the world of nature. Whether in the woods on in your own back yard, it can be amazing out there.


  3. Kent Townsend says:

    David Woodturners call the pretty crotch wood feathering. It is very pretty in the bottom of a wooden bowl. I am sure it was hard to carve. Great job as always.
    Kent T


  4. francedozois says:

    looks like you’ve been having lots of fun and checked out the imperial moth and it doesn’t appear to visit MA–nice work as always.


  5. Rick Wilson says:

    Absolutely beautiful. So much skill, so much talent, so much hard work. Please, please keep doing what you do.


  6. Tad Kepley says:

    I am always amazed at your ability to visualize the outcome of your bird bowls in a crook or bent piece of wood. Where most see the wood you see a beautiful bird and we can feel your excitement in the pictures and your words. The pictures also inspire me to do a bird bowl.


  7. Rick says:

    Another very nice piece Dave – keep m coming


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