Posts from the ‘Bill’s Special Projects’ Category

*Green Heron Pair Project

 September 21, 2013   Welcome officially to Autumn; our favorite season of the year. As usual, work on this project was hindered by several events; for one, I had help from a genius-mentor (must not refer to him as such) setting up my digital movie files on my hard-drive so that I cam watch them wirelessly on our 50″ TV in another room. (several intense & rewarding months) and secondly, I was ill with near pneumonia (bronchitis) for 29 days; totally grounded. However; I’ve been very busy on this pair of Little Green Herons. I’ve decided to post project up-dates at the top of this page. Scroll down to see the previous report. Today’s report includes current photos of the project:

G.Heron Project Status 13 Sep 13 a G.Heron Project Status 13 Sep 13 b G.Heron Project Status 13 Sep 13 c G.Heron Project Status 13 Sep 13 d G.Heron Project Status 13 Sep 13 e G.Heron Project Status 13 Sep 13 f G.Heron Project Status 13 Sep 13 g G.Heron Project Status 13 Sep 13 h


Click on the above photos individually to enlarge to view detail. Photo top, far left are all of the components as they are today. The progress on both birds is even. Remaining texture on both under-sides and backs. After that is completed, will follow the final-fine-sanding of both beaks and sealer applied over-all.  Eyes will then be inserted on both birds. Before sending them to the “Paint Dept.” (Frau Junebug), Both birds will be “dry-fitted” to the base with brass rods, measured and bent to my specs. She will also receive the 21 (surviving) leaves for paint and the , walnut-base and base-stump, as well.

The 2d photo-top from the left is of the carved cray-fish which I’ve carved in deep-relief on the bottom of the base (pond?). To it will be added the fabricated eyes, antennae, legs and tail.While June is so occupied for at least, a week, or so, I will draw and carve the small sunfish (orange?) which will miraculously be a perfect-fit in the Heron’s open bill (beak?)

The three photos in the bottom row provide different views of the two small-twigs protruding, one on each lower side of the stump. These will be the platform from which the Rhododendron pods-of-five leaves each will be fastened to. Find them? Please remember that “ALL” of this was in my head before I started this project. If you are at the scheduled “public-unveiling” of this piece at the Sauder Village Woodcarving Show in Archbold, OH. next month, you’ll know that we pulled it off.  

Wildlife is for Carving, Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3

Little Green HeronMay 1, 2013 The Heron carving  on the left-photo’s artist is unknown (was not me).

This started last summer as the subject for our very last class (ever?), which happened to be the Little Green Heron (my first Water Bird).   As usual, I didn’t get to finish my carving because of the attention I focused on the needs of my class.  Happily, we retired from teaching (after 25 years) in October, last year. Recently we have resumed our “Carve-Ins” for the Hamonhaus Carvers (see the “Terms & Definitions Page” on the Home Page of this blog), I’ve picked-up on this Heron Project as the one I plan to have completed for our next show in the fall. I’ll work on it every chance I get including at the “Carve In”s, Fridays 10a.m.-1p.m.

As you can see from these several photos taken an hour ago, Much of the basic components are quite a-bit more than started. I’m working on the three individual  foot’s detail which is carved into the stump the birds will be perched on.  The “scale”s  and “talons”, to be specific. Soon, I’ll block-out blanks for the cray-fish, branches, leaves  and the fish. I want all of the elements finished to the same degree so I can do a “dry-fit” assembly (no-glue).

The feet will conclude the shaping/carving portion. I plan then,  to attach a few Rhododendron sprigs sticking-up at the rear of the stump with leaves and maybe, a blossom and/or, a bud (or two).  This will be soon followed by a good over-all sanding & a coat or two of sealer. All floral to be pre-painted, then attached to the stump.  This will all be then turned over to the paint department (Junebug) prior to assembly.

Components, not yet carved, nor in evidence in these pictures are, the floral referred to above,  a  fish to be in the open beak of a Heron and the Cray-fish to be lurking under the water. Yes;  Rhododendron, fish, water and crayfish!  Those, as well as the Waterbirds (Herons) are all “firsts” for me. Check-out the photos. I hope to add to this report with some progress and new photos, as we go forward.

G. Heron Pr 6G. Heron Pr 5G. Heron Pr 4G. Heron Pr 3G. Heron Pr 2G. Heron Pr 1

What you can hardly see on the table are the special glass eyes.  I’ll fashion the brass legs which will allow me to stand both birds on the base. At that point, I hope to carve the 2d foot for the up-right Heron, which will be held high against it’s breast. That one will be standing on one leg with a fish in it’s beak. Heron #2 will be fishing. The legs will be covered with epoxy, shaped, textured, etc.

Wildlife is for Carving,  Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3


*Just Finished & Shipped the Blue Jay Repair Job

Blue Jay by Dan Williams

Blue Jay by Dan Williams

Probably in May or June, 2012, I agreed to help a fellow in Northern Ohio repair several bird-carvings that he inherited from his father, I believe. In a magnanimous mood, I said I would defer the repair fee, since I have the needed materials on hand.  He said he would call me when he was ready to bring the carvings to me. I explained my busy teaching schedule and said I couldn’t get to the repairs until after Thanksgiving. No problem!  In July, 2012, I agreed to repair a bird for a lady in North Carolina who thought she had purchased it from me. It turned out to be carved by celebrated artist, Dan Williams. I happen to have a carving book he wrote. I made the same explanation that it wouldn’t be done for many months; there was a fee involved. No Problem!  Then, I was contacted by a man living in a community just north of here. He has a Wood Duck Drake that has a broken-off bill.  Same old story and, a fee.  He brought the Duck decoy here weeks later. 

The above, is sort of my tale of woe because, I’m not a repairer of wood-carvings!  How these people all found me is still a mystery. Why I ever agreed to any of it, is also!  Well, the plot thickens;  man number one contacted me a few months ago  to schedule his visit and deliver his birds.  I told him that he is not to do so until next Spring, because I don’t tend to carve in the Winter and, I’m otherwise too busy. He correctly senses that this “isn’t going to happen”!  Today, I shipped the Blue Jay to N.C.; then called the owner to advise of the total bill (as, she had requested that I should do). She is the most charming and gracious lady. 

Next, I’ll try to get my shop in order for some Wood Duck Bill Carving. That man has also phoned-in some weeks ago for a reality-check.  I’ve actually done some research on the Wood Duck Drake, purchased a pattern; also, a study bill. I cut the Bill-Blanks and have started the initial rounding-off of the top of the profile. The big “unknown” is how I will match it up with the marred and broken surface of the decoy.  I admit this is some fun; but, not as much fun as working on my own stuff.

Please, do not refer anyone to me for repairs of any kind. Thank you.

Wildlife is for Carving,  Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3

*Product Comment about Cool-Chem & Repairs to Carvings

I’ve used “Cool-Chem” in the past as an alternative to using epoxy or solder in the construction of feet for birds; i.e: song-birds. It’s been years ago and I don’t have a clear recollection of how it worked-out at that time.  I do recall that I discontinued it due to it’s expense.

I’ve order a small quantity this morning on-line for a specific project. I’ve previously mentioned that I’m currently re-pairing broken carvings for about four people. They found me, I agreed and now I’m endeavoring to get it all behind me and never agree to do it again. They had such high hopes and I weakened!

Case in hand is a lovely Bluejay which is an excellent carving by someone whose Carving Book I own. Weird, eh?  The beak was broken, a leg split (2-wires), looking like a “wish-bone”, and detached from the wire stem of the base. The foot (cast) was broken and 2 toes missing.  Metal leaves had been epoxied to wire stems, as well and are now 80%  needing to be re-attached.  Well, the stems are epoxied, as well, for texture, etc.

Solder is “out” due to the branch y configuration of the base and epoxy. I hope to be able to use the “Cool-Chem” to re-attach all of the above. I was first referred to this product by Bird-carver Walter Thompson. He said it had replaced solder as his medium of choice. So, here I go again.

I’m hoping to hear from one of you if you have some insight on this product or, on this project.  The beak, foot and leg are now repaired. A stem of leaves is reattached using ribbon-epoxy. I’m now waiting for the Cool-Chem to be delivered.  Watch for a critique in the future on the culmination of this and the other repairs.

This can’t be what I retired recently from teaching to do; can it?

Happy birding and carving,   Bill

Bald Eagle #3

*Post Turkey Day Wrap-up

November 23, 2012

Das Hamonhaus

Our big day (yesterday) lived-up to it’s rep! The Turkey wasn’t the only one stuffed in the room. Get well. Retirement is not for the week or the sick. I’m still in the midst of trying to get these “carving-repairs” behind me so I can get back to my own stuff.  No more repairs; please!
The comments I have made to several, was apparently my own mis-under-standing regarding about being requested to teach a work-shop at next year’s Middletown Show.  I won’t be teaching anywhere for the for-see-able future; nor, clubbing, demo’ing, or judging. Carving has only very recently become my priority and shall remain as such. I may have also mentioned at the show, a commission I’ve accepted (at the show) to carve a tropical bird (sz of a Bluejay). Another, first!
The “list” just doesn’t get shorter as I had hoped that it would. I’m also “itching” to do those long-awaited bases on my router, planner and lathe, cut-out some small critters (chipmonks, cray-fish, fish & bunnies) and finish the herons.
All of this before I can pick-up-to-work-on, the nearly finished Saw-whet Owls, Kestrel and Red-tailed Hawk. Oh, don’t forget my proposed Wood Duck Drake, Eagle Cane and Eagle Walking Staff (wood/blanks on hand). You can feel my frustration (and eagerness). I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.
Best wishes to all of our Carving Buddies for the rest of this Holiday Season. May all of you be equally challenged and re-gain your full measure of health and happiness.
Happy Carving, Bill & June

*The Future of Das Hamonhaus, In the Near Term

The Hamonhaus Artmeisters

I’ll be going out there (my garage/shop) shortly and turn up the base-board heater to get things cozy. I’ll putter around moving my “stuff”; since it was mostly just unloaded from our Nissan when we arrived home from Sauder Village Sunday night.  I’d like to plow right into carving on my pair of Green Herons which are both coming along nicely. However; I first need to “jump” on several bird-carving-repairs which I’ve agreed to do for perfect strangers in need. I don’t know how my name got out there (to several states) but, I certainly don’t have plans to do any more repairs (unless, I’m the carver who sold them).

We  plan to continue doing our five wood-carving shows per year; as well as our exclusive seasonal weekly “Carve-Ins” with the “Hamonhaus Carvers” . I said “with”, because, now I’m just one of the flock. If I don’t have carvers around me, everyone will wonder who I’m talking to!  The main difference  I’m really heavily counting on, is that I will  focus on my own carvings much more; and, not on my responsibilities to the students. Hopefully, this will have the desired affect of improving the out-come and quality of my own carvings!  I am no longer a member of any Carving Guild or Club; with the exception of the National Association of Woodcarvers (Chip-Chats), for the same reasons I am retiring from teaching. Distractions!  I fully expect to continue this blog inperpetuity.

I’m definitely available with-out a fee to any Hamonhaus Carver who has any current or previous carving-class project, as yet unfinished. June will be open (at previous rates) to assist or to teach the painting on these existing projects. She can not undertake teaching new projects unless the terms are increased to a reasonable amount for her time. This is how we are spelling-out our “retirement”. The Wood Duck project several of us are sneaking up on is a “Carve-In” project and has no fees; just individual material costs . Hopefully, we’ll be successful and possibly undertake future projects, as well.

I plan to attend Bob Guge’s Bird Carving Workshop for the three days prior to the Sauder Village Woodcarving Show in October of next year . I’m excited about that. This time of transition feels good to both June and me. We’re getting our Saturdays back for one thing. I’ve carved most every day for several weeks, indicating to me that my new motivation might just be “kicking” in.

There; I hope we’re all on the same page. As I always like to say and think, “we’re all in this together“!

Happy birding and carving,   Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3

*Wood Duck Drake Project (Not a Class!)

Wood Duck Drake

In my previous posting referring to repairing broken wood-carvings, I can mention that one of them is a Wood Duck Drake which has a broken bill. As most of you might know, I’ve never been tempted to carve a Duck! Not even a Waterbird of any kind until my current Smmer Class Project, The Little Green Heron. This particular repair actually led me to purchase a study-beak, pattern and (why not) a set of eyes. While I was in pre-ordering mode, I asked the carvers that were with me that day if they wanted me to order for them also. They did. Guess what? We’re now contemplating  an “off-the-books” project to carve the Wood Duck Drake as a “Carve-In” Project. Basically it’s NOT a class so, we each will only pay-for or acquire our own materials!  We alsow ill basically carve together or apart at our own speed.

We’re at the juncture where we will discuss the pattern modifications (separate for each of us?) and the size of the individual wood-blocks to be ordered soon. It’s looking like a “Winter Project”. Will try to keep you posted as we go.

Happy birding and carving,  Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3

*Winter Hiatus, Again!

Al l of a sudden, this year’s Shows, Classes , Carve-Ins and carving-projects  are over! The Holidays have arrived with Thanksgiving and will finally be over too with the New year 2011! We are “officially” in our annual “Winter Hiatus”, a time for re-charging our batteries and reflecting over the year past with a view towards  doing even better (not more) next year.  It’s a time when you’re not on my calendar so much and I’m not on yours so much either. We’ll  enjoy re-engaging with the whole ball of works again in the Spring.  While on our down-time and not having to work  around class-schedules  on the calendar, I have a lengthy list of former class-projects to finish-up.  All of these are former class-projects that were set-aside so I could commence the next classes coming along.  I’ll just mention the one I’m currently working on is the Eastern Bluebird. I have the best intentions of taking some “world-class” instruction on habitat along the way. Our Carving Year always commences with the Miami Valley Wood-carver’s Show in Middletown, OH. ,on the first weekend of March each year. I’m honored to have again invited to be a judge at that show. Our first classes always commence on the second weekend of March. We expect to do five shows again next year.  I realize that more than a few of our Hamonhaus Carvers also have a few unfinished class-projects to complete. Please be sure to be in touch with me to set a mutually convenient time for you to come by.  That applies to any painting, as well. Please remember to keep those bird feeders filled.

Happy birding and carving,  Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3

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