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Carving Bird Feathers Page 1

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  • Carving Bird Feathers Page 1

    I have been asked to post information on how I carve bird feathers. Here is a tutorial I put together. It will take 3 pages to include the photos. If some areas are unclear, post info and I will try and elaborate.

    Paul Carving Bird Feathers

    Paul D Guraedy

    Photos illustrate techniques indentified in this outline.

    I. The first thing in carving feathers is to define the feather groups.
    Photo: Define feather groups.

    II. Carve in feather groups.
    Photo: Carve groups and draw feathers.

    III. Draw in feathers.
    Photo: Carve groups and draw feathers.

    A. Keep the feathers random ~ avoiding ranks like soldiers marching.
    1. Vary the size of the feathers.
    2. Slightly change the direction of some of the feathers.
    3. Draw in desired splits.

    B. "Hard" feathers are generally along the back, wings, tail and sometimes legs.
    1. Hard feathers are more sharply pointed towards the bottom.
    2. Hard feathers are smaller at the neck and grow larger toward the tail.

    C. "Soft" feathers are along the belly and underside of the neck.
    1. Soft feathers are more rounded and generally larger.
    2. Soft feathers change direction more than hard feathers.

    D. Generally head feathers resemble hair or fur more than feathers.

    IV. Use burning pen to define feathers.

    A. Burn in feather outlines of the hard feathers with heat sufficient to leave a burn line. Photo: Burn hard feathers.

    B. Burn in the quill of the feathers. Avoid symmetry.
    Photo: Quills.

    C. Burn in vanes.
    Photo: Vanes.

    Define Feather Groups.JPGCarve groups & Draw Feathers.JPGBurn hard feathers.jpgQuills.JPGBurn vanes.jpg

  • #2
    Page 2

    V. Soft feathers are not outlined by burning.
    Photo: Belly Feathers

    A. Outline them with a small diamond ball.

    B. Take care not to go deep. These lines will almost disappear later.

    VI. Carving hard feathers.

    A. Using a "V" tool relieve the burned feathers. Feathers are not flat.
    1. Deeper at the top and slightly less on the sides .
    2. Each lower edge should almost disappear into the feather below.
    3. It is highest in the middle (away from sides and both ends).

    B. Lean the "V" tool away from the feather occasionally to raise that area.

    C. Use burning pen to undercut some of the feathers.

    E. Go over feathers with a wire brush to remove charring.

    F. Blend the tips of the feathers into the one below. Using smooth grit sanding.

    VII. Carving soft feathers. Photo: V. Belly Feathers.

    A. Soft feathers should be close to unidentifiable as individuals.

    B. Use a diamond file or sandpaper (sanding stick works well) and lower sharp edges of feathers.

    C. I go over the soft feather groups with a 400 grit diamond ball.
    1. Not individual feathers but groups.
    2. Create varying depths but do not remove all feather edges.
    3. Blend the feathers into one another.
    Belly Feathers.JPG


    • #3
      Page 3

      VIII. Carving head feathers. Photo: V. III. V Tool

      A. Use a "V" tool to make random over the head.
      1. Make some cuts in shape of ˄ with sides varying in length and depth.
      2. Do not make cuts too close together.

      B. Use power.
      1. Lay the micro handpiece in your hand with the stone facing the thumb.

      2. Put your thumb against the carving, and stretching your fingers out and hand with knuckles up. Photo: Tool Extended.

      3. Pull the handpiece toward your thumb by closing your fist.
      Photo: Fist drawn closed.

      4. Make sure that to move your thumb (fulcrum) as you continue. This starts the cut in different locations and avoids lines.

      C. Add to the ˄ shaped cuts with the power tool.

      D. Use a diamond disk to make some narrow cuts at a few locations.

      Head feathers.JPGFeahter bits.JPGFish closed.JPGHand Extended.JPG


      • #4
        Great information Paul. Feather groups and feathers. Tools and how to use them. There is a lot to learn about bird carving.


        • #5
          Thank you!


          • #6
            Paul this is great!!!! I really appreciate your taking the time to do this, it will help a bunch.
            thank you


            • #7
              A good tutorial by an excellent carver
              . . .JoeB