Starter Projects

Waste Not Want Not

Text and photographs by Maureen Hockley

This could be a simple project for a beginner or, if you’re anything like me and have been carving for a while, you have a pile of small pieces of timber that you can’t bear to throw away because you might find a use for them one day.

My pile was getting out of hand so something had to done with them and looking through a collection of photographs I decided stylized egrets would fit the bill.

I drew up a few designs (1) that could be carved on long grain or cross grain and adapted the sizes to fit some of my off cuts.(2&3) Each shape was cut out using a band saw, a centre line drawn all the way round (4) and the head and tail marked.(5) I found I could hold the shape in a bench vice for most of the carving, (6) but these shapes also lend themselves to knife carving so can be hand held (wearing a safety glove of course).

I used a Number 3/8mm fish tail for the whole carving, shaping the head and tail first (7) then rounding the body and neck to the centre line.(8) Before sanding I drilled a 4mm hole to take a dowel (the small lines on the design drawings show the direction of the holes) I sanded using Abranet 180 to 400 grit, fixed the dowel,(9) cut a small log in half and arranged three different shapes on top of the log.(10)

I’m sure there are plenty of other bird shapes that could be used in a similar way and I have found these simple carvings are quite useful for demonstrating at exhibitions as they are quick, need a minimum number of tools and don’t require a huge amount of concentration, leaving you free to chat to interested visitors.