Not a Bald Eagle - a Canada Goose

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Project by LittlePaw posted 02-16-2012 07:37 PM 2396 views 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well Folks, It’s almost done. The carving on individual feather was slow going. Then when the carving was done, the woodburning on each feather started. That presented a completely different range of problems and challenges. The body of the goose came bonded with four blocks of basswood 2 ½” wide each running front to back. Apparently each of those four blocks had different densities, grain pattern, age or even origin. So, when I burn a feather vein, crossing over from one block to another, the burn changes to much lighter or much darker. With the dial set almost to 1 and drawing very slowly, the burn could range from no color to very dark! Looking at it, one would guess that heat setting were numbers apart or slow to fast draw! That was enough problem for me to be pulling out the little hair I have left! I ‘m not a novice woodburner, but I had the wood telling me how it’s going to burn!
Another challenge I had not encountered in all my other carvings was compound curves. There is a concave trough, if you will, that runs along the top center of the bird. When carving a feather that runs down into the trough and up the other side, the first challenge is the knife outline. When I carve each feather I’m watching out for grain run, smoothing out all the bumps with micro files and final sanding. Then comes the fun of woodburning those lines down one side and up the other! Oh, not mention having to turn the ten-pound bird upside down at times to get to those almost-impossible-to-reach places. I did run into a few of those impossible to reach places at the tail. Along the way I found all the little misses that had to be corrected too.
All of these challenges will again enter into the carving of a Bald Eagle, on even a larger scale. With that in mind, I am doing another bird, maybe a duck to be sure I am aware of and know how to overcome any problems that I haven’t run into yet. I can tell you that it was more fun carving this goose than I thought possible.
Is my Canada goose a decoy? I wouldn’t call it one. Since I started on this project, I bought several decoys – some quite expensive! – to see how they do it. I also visited a large decoy manufacturer and talked with its owner at length. I learned that mine could not be used to cast plastic decoys for the simple reason that molds cannot go around corners, therefore the carving must be much simpler. All my feathers are carved under the trailing edge from 1/16” to over ¼” deep. My goose is a detailed carving of a water fowl – not a decoy. Therefore I have no plans to paint any of mine with elaborate colors to make them look like plastic decoys.
Thank you all for looking. I do appreciate all your comments good or critical.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

25 comments so far

View Alexander's profile


194 posts in 3498 days

#1 posted 02-16-2012 07:46 PM

Great looking bird! How many days do you think you have into this project? It’s not up my alley but sure is nice to see and would look great on any table or shelf.

-- John at Sugarloft Mountain........Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

View patron's profile


13648 posts in 3728 days

#2 posted 02-16-2012 07:56 PM

or pond

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10605 posts in 4439 days

#3 posted 02-16-2012 08:31 PM

That Wing detail is just AWESOME!

GREAT JOB covering that… I can imagine the WORK that you spent Getting it!

I know it’s not done… I think the head & neck should be blacker… closer to the tail Black… and the bill blacker…

We have a pair in our front yard that I had to repaint not too long ago… I collected a bunch of GOOGLE Images on the Canada Goose… which was a BIG Help in getting it just right.

Beautiful Job! Love it!

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3465 days

#4 posted 02-16-2012 09:05 PM

Alexander: It took me, on and off, a month and a half. During the burning, I took frequent breaks because of hand fatigue. I am looking for a more flexible cord; this one is not flexible enough with a mind of its own!
You’re quite observant, Joe. Since the bill is shinier, I sanded 400 to 600 and to 1500 to get the shine. But in the process the black went to gray. So I’m going to bring the black back, apply wax and polish it to a shine, hopefully that won’t dull the black. Yes, I plan to go back and burn to darken the head and neck some more. Thanx Joe.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View mpounders's profile


921 posts in 3282 days

#5 posted 02-16-2012 10:29 PM

Great carving! Until I carved a bird, I had never realized how difficult they can be, and mine was not as large as yours! Nice burning too! I can’t blame you for not wanting to paint it, as nice as it looks!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View Tag84's profile


573 posts in 3044 days

#6 posted 02-16-2012 10:34 PM

wow incredibly realistic paul! not at all a bald eagle ;)

-- -Thomas -

View stefang's profile


16705 posts in 3721 days

#7 posted 02-16-2012 10:56 PM

Beautiful work and a fantastic result.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7709 posts in 3188 days

#8 posted 02-16-2012 11:40 PM

That is amazing… just amazing! Thanks for posting!

-Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
Blue Collar Woodworking? That's the best show since wood was invented! ”- The Eastern Northwest Southerner’s Journal

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Roger's profile


21006 posts in 3191 days

#9 posted 02-16-2012 11:53 PM

a beautiful and lifelike carving. very awesome!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4280 days

#10 posted 02-17-2012 12:07 AM

Nice, really nice carving

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

#11 posted 02-17-2012 12:36 AM

Very beautiful carving,Paul,


View a1Jim's profile


117626 posts in 3964 days

#12 posted 02-17-2012 12:36 AM

Wow Paul that’s an amazing goose ,great job.

View DocSavage45's profile


8814 posts in 3230 days

#13 posted 02-17-2012 01:39 AM

Diligent and masterful. A definite learning experience? Thanks for taking us on your journey. With the goose under your belt how are you feeling about the eagle? Congratulations on a job well done!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3077 days

#14 posted 02-17-2012 01:58 AM

I told you it was great Paul. All of the above comments confirm my opinion. I’m with Joe, the black parts could be blacker. Hell, I’d use a magic marker! But then that would probably be cheating.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Woodenwizard's profile


1355 posts in 3430 days

#15 posted 02-17-2012 02:06 AM

Outstanding tallent.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

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