Archive for December, 2009

*My Great Horned Owl Project Page 2

Great Horned Owl - The Prey's ViewPreamble: This project started off well in 2006 and halted after only about 1 week! Thats when June’s mom, who had lived with us for over 4 years, passed-away at the age of 93. We handled it as well as could be expected; however, I never returned to this project! I just set it down and didn’t feel like continuing. Well, I do now and it’s the end of 2009! Let’s go back to my notes and start at the beginning. I had decided to use Tupelo Wood from my normal source in Bourg, LA., Steve Robichaux. (Robe-a-show) The block had to be 22″ X 9″ X 8″. I also use  Basswood, from time to time, which I  get,  for many years, from Heinecke Wood Products in Cumberland, WI.  Great quality & Service from Dale & Marge. The 24 mm glass eyes are yellow and come from Tohickon Glass Eyes.  Feet will be fabricated and then  attached to the body appropriate to the stance. I used pattern imput from Floyd Scholz’s Book, “Owls” as well as from  Denny Rodger’s new book,  “The Illustrated Owl, Barred Owl and Great Horned Owl.  Additionally, I’ll refer continually to the dozens of photos I’ve saved-up in my bird-photo-reference folders.

GHO Day 1 GHO Day 1


Day #1:  I cut patterns of the front and side profiles which I had modified from Floyd Scholz’s  pattern. I also did a top-of-the-head-pattern with which to later orient the turn of the head. I transcribed both the front and side profile’s outlines as well as the top-of-the-head pattern (turned at about 45 degrees) to the block of wood. Turning a birds head is usually a good thing because it helps to animate the block of wood. An advantage (one of several I can think of) in using Tupelo is that it can be acquired in larger dimensions than the normal stock limitations of Basswood. Basswood usually must be laminated to get larger sizes. An other advantage to Tupelo is it’s user-friendly to the “power-carver” and less so to the “knife and gouge” carver. I’m a “power-carver”.   I then bandsawed the Owl blank on my Jet 14″ Wood Bandsaw”. Scraps of the cut-away tupelo are saved for possible use later on the carving as feet, etc.  At this early stage in this project, it’s not too early to begin considering the base and it’s design. I always tell my students that you can’t make the feet without having the base roughed-out. The base determines the shape and and position of the feet.

GHO Day #2
Day #2 :  A center-line was drawn down the center of the front and rear of the bird. A  penciled center-line on every bird-carving is essential to the symmetry of the bird. It’s your “compass”!  It helps to keep you from becoming “lost” and your bird from becoming “lop-sided”.  When the line gets cut or sanded off, be diligent and promptly replace it. I also drew a similar line on the sides of the bird for the exact same reason. To cut into that line will adversely alter the profile of the bird. Don’t do it.
Day #3:  I then rounded the rear (back-side) of the wooden-blank (Owl) to the lines on the side of the bird. This left the rear rounded and the front still flat.Referring to the pattern, using my calipers and pencil and pattern, I drew-in the feather groups on the rear of the block (from this point, I’ll be referring to the carving as the “bird” and not the “block”). 
Day #4:  Using my Foredom Flexible Shaft Grinding Machine with a hard-sanding-drum, I relieved the groups. Avoid sanding for the most part as it tends to compress the wood pre-maturely. This may possibly impede the carving of  detail later.
day-7-starting-the-base  I scrounged through my stock-wood-pile for suitable blocks & boards to glue & clamp-up for the base. My turned, recessed, walnut base is large enough for this project.  I speculate that I will first carve the stump of blocks into a more rounded, realistic trunk with short branches of some sort.; maybe, pine with clumps of pine-needles here and there. I really don’t see this as a short stump; rather, a section of trunk, higher up the tree. I’d expect to use bamboo slivers for the needles. My “rule-of-thumb” for all glue or epoxy dry-time is “overnight”. With the clamps in place, it was time to walk away from the someday base.
Day #5
day-8-base-blocked-out  Using my 14″ wood-bandsaw very carefully indeed, I shaved corners off of the sides of stump, curving it over a little to more resemble that “trunk” than a “telephone pole”. HMmm, it fits nicely into the base’s shallow-recess. I lately hesitate to use wood-screws to fasten base stock to the bottom bases due to deterioration & loosening over time.   True, I’ve not yet seen this occur, but I am concerned about it (in maybe, a 100 yers or so) on such a large piece as this. Rather, I’ve used larger wooden dowels fitted into holes drilled through the bottom of the base into the top base and glued with wood glue. Maybe several! We’ll see.
OH, Oh! Florida beckons!  It’ll be a few weeks before I think about this bird again. Enjoy.
Day #6 


GHO Day 6b


Now, back to carving the bird’s body.  I screwed a “Clamping Jig” onto the body of the bird, just below the head.  I then clamped the bottom of the jig into the bench-top jaws of my Work Mate Work Bench (below).  This jig will be repositioned  to the other sides as I am required to rotate the bird to carve each side of the head in it’s turn.

GHO Day 6c


I can now use my Draw Knife to cut the head in a taper from the shoulders to the penciled out-line of the top-of-the-head’s profile. 

 7.   More to follow soon….


Happy birding and carving,  Bill



*Let’s Talk Family Gathering

Forever Young

Well, it’s “different” again this year. The configuration of our “family” continues to evolve; shrinking and expanding again.  As I recently mentioned in one of my posts, “the family that is, has changed the family that was!”  Daughter Michelle has taken over much of the work and planning of our gatherings at her home. Son-in-law Jerry always does the honors of deep-frying the Thanksgiving Turkey #1 and we bring the roasted Turkey #2 (the ‘send-left-overs-home’ back-up). Most everyone brings something. Christmas,  this year is at our house; das Hamonhaus.  Son Rick and Daughter-in-Law Lisa will be up from KY and will bring her Son (our Grandson) Mitchell (maybe), his Girlfriend  Ashley (if Ashley doesn’t have to work)  and their Daughter Makayla (the Apple of Rick’s eye and, our Great-Grand-daughter). Lisa’s Daughter Elizabeth (our Grand-daughter)  might or might not be here from Cincinnati with her Boyfriend Tony and their two Children, Eli and Zoey  (our other Great-Grandchildren).  Jerry and Michelle will be here from Clarksville, OH with our Grand-daughter Alexa.  Their other  Daughter (our Grand-daughter) Nicole will bring her Boyfriend Billy and possibly, his Mother Debbie.  June’s Sister Susan will bring her Daughter Sarah and possibly her Son Chris.  Chris is home for the holidays from college in Wisconsin.  I might have to find room in the stable outside and eat with the Maji, Shepherds and the livestock. It’s  entirely possible that we’ll break all previous attendance records (15?)  with a new possible total of 18. We pray for this event and it’s invitees for a blessing, safe travel and a greater bond for all.  If I understand the scriptures correctly, we are all brought together, friends and family alike, for God’s own reasons. We may never fully know and appreciate those reasons; but, I’m certain that it’s for the good of all.   So, from our family to your’s, may you enjoy a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Bill and June

June with Davidson

*June’s Retirement

Bill & June

Life Comes at You Fast!  June has only a few more days to train her “replacements” at her work to take over her duties. She’ll be missed. They’ll sadly and unavoidably learn pretty fast that “she” was the glue holding the place together! ”  Just watch and see.  Hard to believe that she’s been there for nearly 21 years.  She loved working. She loves people.  She loves me. She epidimizes the Golden Rule of Life; to “Love Only One, Have Many Friends and, be Kind to Everyone.”  She’s officially Retired at the end of this month; the end of this year; the end of this chapter of our lives.  This new life must live up to be whatever she wants it to be. I pledge to see that it is (the Lord willing!). Hopefully, health, family and home remain intact and supportive in our “Golden Years” which remain. They aren’t just beginning; they’ve all been Golden because we’ve always been side by side together.  I’ve been doubly blessed to have woo’d, won and wed  my “Trophy Wife” the first time around.  Come the 8th of April, 2010, we’ll be married 49 years!  Of nothing else, am I so proud.  Who knew that  she would become the very best wife, mother to our children, cook, decorator  and friend that I would ever know. She’s always been a beauty!  Pause to add-up the score: I’ve Won!  Now, for the minor new adjustments of our new found freedom.  I’m sure she will try this and try that to get back to whatever will be “our” new routines  (shudder!) . However, it’s certain that she will successfully weave into the tapistry of all of our mingled lives, the vibrant colors of more time with family, friends and each other. I’ll be smart to just hold-on and enjoy the ride.  Whatever turns this journey may take, I’m totally confident that “The Best is Yet to Come” .  At present, we envision no changes in our Woodcarving activities;  why change that when we’re just starting to get the hang of it!   You’re invited to join us and hang on too. Can hardly wait. 

Happy birding and carving ,   Bill
Bald Eagle #3

*This Isn’t a “New Deal”! It’s America!

Like many of my family and friends, I’m bucking the “system”!  “Politically Correctness” just doesn’t “cut-it” around here anymore (and, never did!). All People, Races, Religions, Causes, Issues, etc. are individually addressed and engaged by me on their own merit and worth; not on their own possible vision of a sick-protocol of entitlements that require “freebys” of consideration from me and my government  at our  expense.  No more “cutting to the head of the line ” ,  “Affirmative Action” or of bumping more qualified applicants for “anything” just because of  Minority Status.  That culture has  a stench (effluvium) and needs to be set-out at the curb with the trash that it is. I will continue as always to show respect to respectful individuals and to worthy issues and causes. Other than those who show their personal worthiness, sense of personal honor, integrity and respect for myself and for my ideals, don’t expect very much regard from me at all.  Described herein are the lenses with which I will continue discern friends from my foes!  Henceforth, I do not (and have not) recognize the “self-serving and legitimizing” labels of “this-or-that -kind-of-American”; they sorely offend me! Never mind what may offend them; I’m in line here too!  If you have been so privileged and honored by birth or by petition to be an American Citizen, no matter what your Union, Political Party,  Anti-Defamation League or  Community Organizer says, you are an “American”…PERIOD!  Get off of your self-entitled soap-box that you neither built yourself or paid for!  I distain anyone who asserts to be “MORE EQUAL” than anyone else. Now, with that said, I believe that I’m ready for a “Change that ‘I’ Can believe In”!  Sorry for allowing the kettle to boil-over. I actually didn’t realize it was getting that hot! I sometimes never know when I get out of bed in the morning who’s going to show-up first; the former Marine, Bank President or Woodcarver. Move over Attila!
To assist me in this general process, those who wish, may “Unsubscribe” and be dropped from my rolls via e-mail.
Feedback is always welcome.
Semper Fi,   Bill

Old Glory


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