Prized for its dimensional stability, ease of workability and natural resistance to decay and insects, Western Red Cedar has been used to create decoys, totem poles and other carvings to be used outdoors since nearly the beginning of time.
Due to the natural oils and tannins in the wood, anytime you are carving Western Red Cedar, it should be done in a well ventilated area and a mask should be warn.
It is also recommended that a good dust collection system be used as well. All tools should be extremely sharp to achieve the best results; and when shaving the surface of the wood, be sure to with the natural grain of wood to avoid chips and tears.
Step One – Select the object you wish to carve. There are many pattern books available for ducks, birds and other types of carving projects available. We prefer to make a photo copy of the page, rather than using the originals in the book.
Step Two – Select the wood. Western Red Cedar for carving purposes should be Clear (free from knots) with the tightest grain possible and be large enough to accommodate the desired project. If the object you are carving will be hallowed out, such as for working duck decoys, now is the time to cut the bottom board. Normally, the body and head are carved separately and attached together after shaping.
Step Three – Transfer the pattern to the block of cedar using pencil.
Step Four – After transferring the pattern to the wood, rough out the approximate shape. A band saw can be helpful in this step if you have access to one.
Step Five – With a very sharp draw knife, begin to shape the carving. A spoke shave can then be used to further define and shape the object. For added detail, hand tools such as chisels, rasps and files may be used. Some carvers prefer to use electric tools such as Fordom or Dremel type tools for the final details. If the piece needs to be hallowed, this is the best time. Adjoin any pieces of the carving (ie head and body) using a two part epoxy or other adhesive. Allow to dry completely.
Step Six – Clean up any glue joints and sand the carving smooth.
Step Seven – Seal the piece if desired. We prefer amber shellac for sealing.
Step Eight – If you will be painting your carving, use a good oil, based primer first. A tinted primer can be used. If desired, draw on details to help guide you while you paint the piece.
Step Nine – Now the piece is ready for paint!
Seems like you can never have enough decoys
Cedar Creek Lumber provides quality building materials to homeowners and contractors Nationwide; specializing in Western Red Cedar, as well as other domestic and exotic hard and soft woods.
Before your next project, be sure to visit us!
Ph 360.757.6343 Fax 360.757.1050
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