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Archaeopteryx carving update

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  • Archaeopteryx carving update

    Attached should be several photos of my Archaeopteryx carving in its present state. Much work needs to be done on refining the body shape and texturing the wing, tail, and body feathers, but the image I had in my mind of a small, feathered, running dinobird making a sharp turn is coming to life. Any experienced carvers reading this might cringe at this admission, but I am using pine for this carving - select, straight-grain, knot-free pine - eight pieces of which were glued together to achieve the basic shape. The feet and wing claws were made from Kwikwood epoxy compound applied over wire armatures with a brass rod embedded in the support leg. The carving is life-sized, using measurements obtained from a cast of the “Berlin Archaeopteryx” fossil. I thought I would share with this group my carving of this unusual subject.

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    Last edited by J Norton; 12-03-2020, 09:05 PM.

  • #2
    ONLY eight pieces? Remarkable carving.
    You have just about brought it to life. Well done.
    Brian T


    • #3
      Three pieces for the body, one piece for each wing, one piece for the tail, and two pieces for the head and neck. Pegs were used internally to strengthen some of the joints.
      Last edited by J Norton; 12-04-2020, 10:46 AM.


      • #4
        Outstanding job. Your detail is well done.
        We live in the land of the free because of the brave!


        • #5
          Beautiful, James! Unusual subject, but a good's easy to get in a rut, to keep on carving the familiar.

          What type of pine are you using?


          • #6
            "the image I had in my mind of a small, feathered, running dinobird making a sharp turn is coming to life."

            I'd say you did a great job of that! An interesting subject - what color(s) do you plan to paint it?



            • #7
              That is amazing, even adding the hooked "toe" on the wings! What a great balance you have accomplished with it.


              • #8
                Wow. Just wow.


                • #9
                  Hi James , you have put together a Great Carving with Outstanding Detailing and looking forward in seeing it Painted . It looks like it is very Delicate and Wondering how you will Display it , maybe under Glass ? Merle


                  • #10
                    Very cool project, well done.
                    Local club


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all of your comments. Here are some responses to your queries: I am using select, kiln-dried northern White Pine, a 1”x8”x6’ piece purchased at the local big box building supply store. No problems yet with grain, pitch, or anything like that.

                      I plan to paint the plumage of the creature various shades of black, with some iridescence on the neck and breast, similar to a raven or crow. Not sure yet about the color of the exposed skin on the snout, legs, and claws. I have been looking at images of various lizards as well as the work of dinosaur paleoartists to find a color. I am a long way from painting, so I have time to decide about colors as well as about how to display it.

                      Archaeopteryx had a three-fingered hand. The first digit was mostly exposed, and corresponds to the feathered alula on modern bird wings, The second digit is buried in the flesh of the wing, except for its claw, and the primaries are attached to it. The third digit was partially exposed through the feathers on the bottom of the wing. I have included below an early photo of the yet-to-be-attached wing to show what I mean.

                      I have carved things for others, but this one is for me. I may have to build my own custom case for a shelf, or house it in a large plexiglas dome on a lazy Susan, so it can be viewed from any angle. I did that with one of my ship models. Those domes are expensive, though.

                      Last edited by J Norton; 12-04-2020, 02:50 PM.


                      • #12
                        Beautiful carving and very well done...thanks for posting it.
                        Living among knives and fire.



                        • #13
                          First of all, I had to head to google to look up "Archaeopteryx", I didn't know if my young tender eye should be exposed to such a thing.

                          Boy, I glad I did look, what patience you must have to do this fine job, Well done sir.
                          . . .JoeB


                          • #14
                            Amazing detail on this critter!

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                            • #15
                              I have been working on the texturing of the plumage of Archaeopteryx. I did some of the softer contour feathers with my Dremel tool and an inverted cone stone bit yesterday, and today used my wood burning setup for the stiffer feathers in the tail and wing. I worked all afternoon and managed to finish only the undersides of the tail and the left wing. This is the first time I done this for a carving (as a matter of fact, this is my first serious bird carving!) so that’s why I started underneath where folks are less likely to look. Once I finish under the right wing, I will have enough practice to do a better job on the topside areas of the wings and tail that will be right under the nose of the viewer.

                              The photo below shows the underside of the tail. Archaeopteryx had a long bony tail, unlike modern birds that have a shortened tail structure called a pygostyle. Fossil evidence shows paired feathers along the sides of the tail, so I included those, and then used some artistic license to include contour feathers along the center of the tail covering its bony core. A different kind of animal, for sure.