Meet Birdie Woodfeathers

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Project by Underdog posted 06-11-2019 03:27 PM 455 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Meet Birdie Woodfeathers, a part of the aRt BiRd flock at Oconee County Cultural Arts Foundation.
She started out life as a fledgling Muslin aRt BiRd made by (ViVi) OCAF member volunteers for the arRtBiRd fundraiser. (See fifth picture)

I took some ideas from the fan carving world and rived out shaped feathers for the birds. Still it took an inordinate amount of time to create these birds, but I’m very pleased with the result.

I turned and solder-gun heat-bent some 1/8 spruce dowels to insert into the body and to mount the wing spars on to. The bent dowels give the wings a little camber. (HINT: Bamboo skewers don’t take too well to the heat and bending – hence the hand turned spruce dowels.) The wing spars and tail socket are hand carved from Basswood and then slotted to receive the feathers with a dremel tool and about a 1mm dentistry bit. They were then drilled w/ an 1/8” bit to receive the 1/8 dowels. The muslin body got a sort of hand-sewn serging around the dowel holes for the wings. The dowel holes were just slit w/ an exacto knife and the serging and E6000 glue keeps it together. Then the dowels were slid through the holes and (with much difficulty) through the synthetic fiber stuffing. The top of the muslin tail was cut off, whereupon the tail socket was hand sewn into the bird.

The beak was carved out of Alder with a flange and spike to hold it inside the muslin body once it was sewn back around it. It took some careful seam ripping and hand sewing for the beak and tail socket… on this one I was much more careful than with Woody- the first time around on him was quite sloppy.

Making the feathers was probably the easiest part of all this. I took some walnut 3/4×3/4 rough sawn Alder blanks, shaped them with the bandsaw, sanded to refine the shapes, then soaked them in water for a couple days. I then sharpened up a cheap paring knife with a single bevel to make a riving knife, the rived off feathers at about 1mm thick. I collected them in old medicine bottles until I had enough. Once they were dried (in the microwave – DO NOT tell my wife!) and dry fit, I glued them into the wing spars and tail sockets. Some careful paring and fitting was necessary to mimic real feather patterns. The wing accents were made the same way but were more carefully fitted and glued on top of the Alder feathers.

I also hand turned the eyes out of Blackwood and Alder with a little barbed spike on the inside to help hold it in. I just punched that through the cloth and a little E6000 and the barb holds it it nicely.

I played with making a crest, but it looked too much like punk rocker hair to suit me. I did figure out how to make it so it wouldn’t break though. Maybe next time. If there is one.

I also played with the idea of gluing a whole bunch of feathers onto the body, but discarded that idea because it made him look too much like an armadillo. Maybe another time… This one I just left the muslin alone and did not paint. It gives it a softer more feminine look for the alder.

These were a LOT of work. Worth it though to help the local art guild. But maybe I’ll win the prize money!

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

5 comments so far

View tyvekboy's profile


1944 posts in 3581 days

#1 posted 06-11-2019 07:15 PM

Very interesting art form. Interesting technique and wonderful results.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View ClaudeF's profile


1024 posts in 2275 days

#2 posted 06-11-2019 11:24 PM

Great looking bird!



View Bud_3's profile


907 posts in 1792 days

#3 posted 06-12-2019 08:18 PM

Nice,very interesting.

-- Personality and character of a man is like wood,you must polish it to shine.....

View bushmaster's profile


3740 posts in 2850 days

#4 posted 06-13-2019 10:40 PM

That is a super project, well done both of them are No. 1

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View tinnman65's profile


1394 posts in 3982 days

#5 posted 06-16-2019 01:17 AM

Very cool bird. It looks like a lot of work and very well done.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

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