Making the Wren #1: Start, to almost finished

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Blog entry by Donna Menke posted 05-17-2012 06:17 PM 5651 reads 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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This is the finished bird that I started 2 weeks ago. It took about 24 hours to get it to this stage. I still need to make a mount for the bird, and I’d like to make it unique. That means no ‘bird on a stick’, but also not the trite ‘wren on the edge of the cup/bucket/shoe’ environment. I’ve been wracking my poor little brain trying to figure out something unique and good- that I can do in 3 weeks. Any suggestions.ideas would be appreciated. Thanks
Now to the process:

Actually, the 24 hour time started 3 hours before now, at the stage where I had cut it out of wood and started on the shape. Not counted are probably 5 hours of research, making the plans, and cutting out the blank.

Another couple of hours and a lot of sanding later the basic shape was apparent.

Starting to do the wood burning.

Face burning.

Burning complete.

About 18 hours into the project it is fun to compare the original drawing and the plans to the bird so far.

Glass eyes and pewter feet have been put in place with epoxy putty.

First coat of paint has been applied- thinly.

Second coat of paint- building color.

Finished bird- don’t mess with him!

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

11 comments so far

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5079 days

#1 posted 05-17-2012 06:40 PM

You are one talented lady Donna! Beautiful Wren, looks like it is ready to take flight.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Spoontaneous's profile


1338 posts in 4343 days

#2 posted 05-17-2012 06:42 PM

Wow! I am impressed. You have done a marvelous job making it look real …not only the detailing but the ‘stance’ as well.

As for a mount, the two things that occurred to me right away was a portion of a ‘telephone pole’ where the ‘wires’ are suspended/cantilevered and the ‘bird on a wire’. Or now that I think about it, it could be an old salvaged fence post with the barbed wire extending.

The second was a wall mounted ‘branch’ instead of a table mounted branch.

No matter how you mount this, it is going to look great!

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3627 days

#3 posted 05-17-2012 07:40 PM

Donna you carvers just leave me in awe thats so real looking.beautiful you are a talented master

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3627 days

#4 posted 05-17-2012 08:30 PM

Donna that bird looked so alive and love birds and wild life wanted to share this .. God’s Wings
After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno’s damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother’s wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast … because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live.
‘He will cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you will find refuge.’
(Psalm 91:4)

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View mpounders's profile


988 posts in 3908 days

#5 posted 05-17-2012 08:33 PM

How about on a cell phone? Great job on the bird….Carolina wrens are a favorite of mine. A couple built a nest in my shop right above my clamp rack, and I got to watch them hatch, and learn to fly, and everything. They are pretty fearless little creatures! Maybe perched on a baseball cap or a desk lamp or a wooden plane? Those birds were into everything in my shop and it got quite nervewracking with 6 babies hopping and fluttering and slipping on the light fixtures above. I carved one also, but it took me a lot longer, and I think I like yours better!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View jeffbranch's profile


110 posts in 3665 days

#6 posted 05-17-2012 10:47 PM

Awesome work. My dad is a wood carver; I’ll be sure to show your work to him.


View lightweightladylefty's profile


3610 posts in 4725 days

#7 posted 05-18-2012 03:19 AM


Your carving is OUTSTANDING! Can’t wait to see how you decide to mount him.


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4347 days

#8 posted 05-18-2012 12:11 PM

Wonderful carving Donna. I’m sure you will come up with something far better than anything I could suggest for an appropriate setting.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3610 posts in 4725 days

#9 posted 05-19-2012 06:04 PM


My husband had a great suggestion for the mount: on the horn of a steer! You’re pretty fast so maybe you can get the steer carved in three weeks and that could use up some of that “so much wood . . .”! LOL


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4725 days

#10 posted 05-20-2012 03:30 AM

An amazing carving, what kind of nests do they have?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

617 posts in 5279 days

#11 posted 05-20-2012 12:26 PM

Thanks for the nice comments, fellow woodworkers. Mark- they nest in most unlikely places, like old shoes, cracks in walls, or around here in empty electric boxes set into our concrete walls outside. In the barn once it was in an old stage-coach planter, and that was super cute.
I have decided to mount the bird on a hand. Maybe trite, and I know it has been done before, but not by me. so maybe it will work out OK. I have roughed out the hand using my life-sized hand as a model (I am a handy model- always near-by), but I plan to take about 30 years off the hand removing wrinkles, knobs and veins. I don’t want the character of the hand to take away from the character of the bird.
I will post photos of this process after it starts to look good- so far (after 5 hours) it looks like a baseball mitt- terrible.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

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