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Cuckoo Bird Missing Head Repair Tutorial

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  • Cuckoo Bird Missing Head Repair Tutorial

    I just finished this project and thought it might be of interest to some here.

    I thought I would post a step-by-step about my latest cuckoo bird head transplant.

    The subject clock can be found at: Moving Eye Cuckoo Clock Info Needed (like this forum, you man need to register to see images - registration is free)

    The damage done...

    20180316_165642.jpg 20180316_165711.jpg

    Step 1. Mourn and cry a little.

    Step 2. Pull yourself together mate - you've got work to do. Go scrub up.

    Step 3. Clean the dirt, grime, etc. before starting. Then prepare the wounds - basically take off as little as possible, but make sure the broken surfaces are flat for better mating. The surface can be at an angle, but it should be a smooth plane.

    Step 4. Take a block of wood (I use basswood for carving - barely any grain, easy carving) and work it to make the mating surfaces match the wound as best as possible. It usually works better to carve the general shape of the piece while working on the matting surfaces to get a good fit.


    Step 5. Shape the profile to match and blend smoothly. Make sure to carve with the grain so you don't split it. Don't be to hasty - just take a little off at a time.


    Step 6. Continue to work the shape checking from every angle. I like to keep redrawing the profile when it gets carved away to have a reference. Also, keep the piece attached to the stem as long as you can so you can hold it easily while working on it. At this stage, it is best to be a little over-sized rather than carving away too much. Don't carve the details yet, just get the shape close.


    Step 7. Once you get the replacement piece close to the right size and shape, cut it free from the block and attach it to the body (I used Tightbond II). Let it dry (patience here - overnight is best, but it's hard to resist forging ahead).

    Step 8. Blend in the replacement piece at the mating areas and then carve the details. This is why you want to wait to make sure the glue is dry and secure.

    20180316_210310.jpg 20180317_085811.jpg

    Step 9. Paint to match. On this one, I had planned to apply a new base coat and start over completely until I cleaned it and realized it still had a pretty good amount of original paint under the grime, so I did my best to blend in the replacement piece and touch up the body.

    The finished cuckoo ready to sing again, while still preserving its well aged appearance.

    20180317_143631.jpg 20180317_143358.jpg

    Happy carving! Feel free to add your tips.


  • #2
    Clickable larger scale images for details.
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    Last edited by Gleber; 03-18-2018, 11:27 AM. Reason: Sorry for extra images... trying to work out image insertion.


    • #3
      Very nice job Tom, if you can get that paint to match, no one will be able to tell. Looks like the lower half of the beak still works too. COOL:::

      If I took the time to fix all my mistakes, I wouldn,t have time to make new ones.


      • #4
        Nicely done! Great work.



        • #5
          Nice tutorial, Tom! Glad to see you hit the ground running with a contribution to this font of knowledge!


          • #6
            Thanks Arthur and others. It was nice of you to point me to this forum Arthur.



            • #7
              Originally posted by Gleber View Post
              Thanks Arthur and others. It was nice of you to point me to this forum Arthur.

              You're welcome. With our shared love of horology and carving, it was a natural fit!


              • #8
                Thanks for showing us the process!

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