CANVASBACK (Antique decorative Decoy)

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Project by dlcarver posted 03-21-2008 11:51 PM 2816 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Canvasback is carved from basswood in two pieces….... the head and the body. To make an Antique duck one must first carve the fellow of course, then he has to be painted, (sort of life-like) by that I mean, you need the colors all in the right places…...( but you don’t have to be quite so meticulous about it ), you can get away with a few cracks and flaws in the wood…. which actually enhance the Antique. After the painting, you must distress the carving. I literally beat up my carving…. I use a heavy screw driver, a piece of metal with square sharp points on the corners, I use the round shank of the screw driver as well. Certain places I know I am going to burn, I will leave heavy layers of the paint exist. Where the paint is heavy it allows me to torch burn the area and actually make the paint boil right on the carving. Making it somewhat bubbly and worn. When painting, I leave some bare spots allowing the wood to burn more easily. Before torch burning the decoy, I take a flat grinding stone or high speed steel grinder in my Foredom flexible shaft with motor and make a handmade wood grain effect. He is lifesize. He still gets the glass eyes and has several coats of satin varnish applied.

Note: You must be careful in distressing the decoy…. I have broken a bill before. The idea of nicking it is to resemble having been shot with buckshot BB’s. So you have to nick the wood as opposed to poking the wood.

-- Dave Leitem,Butler,Pa.,

9 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14182 posts in 4754 days

#1 posted 03-22-2008 02:54 AM

cool ! I sometimes use dark wax or even KIWI brown shoe polish to antique my work. adds about 20 years

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4545 days

#2 posted 03-22-2008 03:33 AM

Hi Dave

Beautiful job on the duck as always. Thanks for poting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6869 posts in 4751 days

#3 posted 03-22-2008 04:09 AM

Hi Dave;

Great work here. The duck does look like he’s been around for quite some time.

Do you find it difficult to distress your work?

An area that always gives me trouble is distressing something I have created.

Nice job!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4540 days

#4 posted 03-22-2008 04:10 AM

wow thats really lifelike. you do some great work and i look forward to seeing some more work!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4593 days

#5 posted 03-22-2008 05:03 AM

Hi Dave,

Wonderful post as usual. Thanks for describing the antiquing process. I can honestly say that I don’t think I could take a perfectly gorgeous piece and purposefully beat on it. It is just not in my nature to do so. But this obviously works for you and is a very successful detail on your pieces.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4837 days

#6 posted 03-22-2008 05:46 AM

Another beauty Dave. I sure am happy that I don’t have to choose my favorite piece – all of your pieces of art are exceptional.

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

View dlcarver's profile


270 posts in 4502 days

#7 posted 03-22-2008 01:58 PM

It doesn’t bother me because I am creating a different project…... actually, the one I set out to create in the first place. It helps me in the painting process, by not having to be so meticulous and perfect. The antique process actually begins in the carving stage by using a body that has a flaw or two in it…. which makes them look even more authentically antique.
Thanks all for the comments !!

-- Dave Leitem,Butler,Pa.,

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4494 days

#8 posted 01-03-2009 06:33 PM

Nicely carved. Your characature and position of the duck is very life-like. What if you put the duck in an empty (large) wet/dry vacuum and then hose up some buck shot? The pellets would ricochet around a bit and dent the wood. It would be random and may occur damage you don’t want so this is only a theory for damage control. Or lack of. Please do not hold me responsible for any unwanted damages accrued . . .

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View dustygirl's profile


862 posts in 4500 days

#9 posted 01-03-2009 06:49 PM

Great looking duck Dave.Thanks for explaining how you antiqued it.

-- Dustygirl..Hastings,Ontario.. How much wood can 1 gal chuck if 1 gal can't cut wood?

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