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Hundred Birds Update

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  • Hundred Birds Update

    I started my Hundred Birds Project back in December, giving myself until the end of this year to carve 100 stylized birds (the "Comfort Bird" from the Winter issue of WCI) out of 100 different kinds of wood.

    As of today, I'm half done. I posted the 50th bird this afternoon.

    It's been an interesting and engaging project so far. I've learned a lot about different types of wood, and also a bit about how to go about preparing found wood for carving. In particular, I've learned that if I rush things I'm going to end up with cracks from wood that isn't quite dry.

    I've also become more proficient with the bandsaw and with the power carver. And I've spent uncounted hours sanding ... sanding ... and sanding these figures so that they're smooth.

    I'm also learning not to push things. I took most of May off from carving because I was getting burned out. It's tough to keep the motivation, but I figure it's best to avoid working with sharp edges and power tools when I don't really want to be doing it.

    I do have a slight problem, though: I'm running out of woods to carve. I think I have a half dozen uncarved woods in my shop, but after that I'm out! I've gotten as far as I have due in large part to generous donations from several other carvers who have sent me wood from their part of the country. In return, I've traded wood with them, reimbursed shipping, or carved them a bird or two in thanks.

    I'd like to continue with that. If you'd like to help me with the project by sending some wood from your part of the country, I'm definitely interested. I can reimburse you for shipping or I can carve one of the birds for you. If you can help out, please send me a private message.

    The best way to see what I've already carved is the Bird Index.

    Some particular woods I'm interested in are magnolia, giant sequoia, California redwood, Texas ebony, red bud (somebody sent me a log, but it cracked rather badly), and ... well, pretty much anything that I haven't yet carved. I know I could buy exotic woods (I have bought some), but I'd much rather use found wood from the U.S. and Canada.

  • #2
    Re: Hundred Birds Update

    I, too, marvel at how you have been able to sustain the momentum in this project.
    As a past contributor, several things come to mind. First, I don't recall which woods,
    other than WRC, I sent to you! Second, I don't know which of those were inadequate, for what ever reason(s). That would be useful to know to look for better pieces and try again. Last, I enjoy the bird that you made for me. There's a thought in it. Plus, I now know, in hand, the approx size of the wood stock needed.

    Thanks for the Bird Index. If & when I find something, I can check to see if you have worked that species or not.
    Brian T


    • #3
      Re: Hundred Birds Update

      Impressive work so far, Jim!

      For those of you who might like a suggestion for wood to send to Jim:
      Red Oak
      White Oak
      Yellow pine
      Jack pine
      Poplar (yellow, tulip)

      What is the minimum size necessary for you to carve a bird?

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      • #4
        Re: Hundred Birds Update

        Thank you, Claude. And thanks for the list of suggestions. I should note that I've carved Oak, which I'm pretty sure counts as White Oak. And I already have yellow poplar as well.

        I carve the birds from a block that's 2" x 2" x 4.5". Typically, I need at least a 3" diameter branch (including sapwood and bark) in order to have enough to get a bird from.

        Just picked up a piece of Huisache (Sweet Acacia) from a friend locally. Should make for an interesting looking bird. Also picked up a piece of willow down by the creek this morning, although it might be a little too far gone. We'll see when I cut into it.


        • #5
          Re: Hundred Birds Update

          Amazing just freakin amazing i havent started carving yet but i want to THANK YOU for the info on the different type of woods seeing the different types of grains and colors its just awesome they are so beautiful i cant wait to go buy a knife maybe a dremel and start carving love the style and i think i may try this for my first project hope the next 50 go just as well


          • #6
            Re: Hundred Birds Update

            Hi Jim, terrific collection you have started and a mammoth task ahead of you. Unfortunately, I cannot really help you with wood from my country as the quarrantine laws here are a killer, otherwise I would love to contribute some of our wonderful woods. Keep it going friend. Joe.


            • #7
              Re: Hundred Birds Update

              MattE and Josef:

              Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. I've been a little busy with other things lately, including making birds for people who have sent me wood. Having to carve two for every one that I include in the collection is slowing me down a bit.

              It really is unfortunate, Josef, that the quarantine laws are so restrictive. Shipping would be pretty expensive, though. Fortunately, there are many more than 100 species available in the U.S. I suspect there are over 100 just in the state of Texas. Now if I could just find all of them . . .


              • #8
                Re: Hundred Birds Update

                I respect this project so much. Nice work.


                • #9
                  Re: Hundred Birds Update

                  No buckeye of sweet gum? I can help you with those Ohio woods. Mike


                  • #10
                    Re: Hundred Birds Update


                    I have a piece of buckeye drying out in the shop. But I'd certainly like that sweet gum! I'll send you a private message.



                    • #11
                      Re: Hundred Birds Update

                      Great project Jim...keep at it! Even if you don't get done by the end of the year it's still worth it! Have you tried Sassafras...carves nice.
                      Keep On Carvin'
                      Bob K.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Hundred Birds Update

                        Thank you, Bob. I'm still plugging away and am still on schedule to complete before the end of the year. I have birds 61 through 63 carved (just need sanding and finishing), and I'll probably have #64 done before the weekend. That'll leave me with four months (17 weeks) to carve 36 more. I've always said that I need to average two per week to keep on schedule . . .

                        It is getting more difficult to find new types of wood, though.


                        • #13
                          Re: Hundred Birds Update

                          Could you post a list of woods you might could use from southern Appalachia (southeast Kentucky)?

                          Right off the top I can tell you I can go in the yard and get (green) holly, redbud, sourwood, tulip poplar, beech, walnut (white I think), mountain laurel, cedar, hemlock (don't know what kind), and maybe a few others. The holly, cedar, and mountain laurel I may not be able to find a tree that's big enough though and are weedy in this area; I'll be taking down the tree (they regrow from the trunk).

                          As I said, green branches from mature trees though. I might get lucky and find fallen branches but they are liable to be unhealthy and dropped.

                          Also there was lots of yellow pine but a disease came through and wiped most of them out. I should be able to find some good wood from that though.

                          Because of shipping expenses I can't ship more than enough to make one or two birds from each type wood I take a branch from.


                          • #14
                            Re: Hundred Birds Update

                            By the way, BobK: I have done Sassafras. See #38: Sassafras | The Hundred Birds Project