Squiggle birds

When I was working on my 100 Birds Project, I saved the larger scraps from the bandsaw cutoffs. I nearly always had two cutouts that were in the shape of the bird’s side profile. The cutoffs are flat on one side and have the contour of the bird on the other side. Below are pictures of two cutoffs from a Juniper bird I did a while back, and then a bird cutout and the left side cutoff from a piece of Mesquite.



(If you look closely, you see that the mesquite cutoff is from a different mesquite bird. But you get the idea.)

I had originally planned to take a belt sander to the curved side of the cutoffs to create a bunch of flat bird profiles that I could make into refrigerator magnets or hang from a mobile. I was working on those when my friend Mike took one and made what I call a “squiggle bird.” He sanded the flat side to follow the contour of the curved side. The result is pretty cool.squiggle4We made a couple dozen of those, the idea being that I could hang them from a mobile. But there are problems. Finding the balance point is somewhat difficult. If I attach a line just a few millimeters forward or back of the balance point, the bird takes a severe nose-up or nose-down attitude. I tried to solve that problem by attaching the line to the tail and to the head, but that just looked ugly. In addition, if I attach the line to the back, then the bird ends up tilted on the roll axis–as if it’s making a turn. I’ve yet to find a good way to attach the squiggle birds to a mobile.

Last week I got the idea to mount a couple of birds on a standing base.

2014-04-20 21.37.54-1

The bird on top is mesquite, and the one on the bottom is pecan. They’re attached to a mesquite log with little twigs, also carved out of mesquite.

That looks okay, and I made another just like it. But it seems a waste to use such a large piece of mesquite for the base, and it’d look neater and more compact if I swapped the birds’ positions. So I made another one with the new design.


Both of the birds are mesquite, and the base is a piece of mesquite from which I removed the bark and then sanded away most of the sap wood. The birds and the plaque got two coats of Watco Natural Danish Oil, and then the birds got a couple coats of Deft Gloss spray polyurethane. The birds are attached to the plaque with mesquite twigs that are approximately 3/8″ in diameter. The plaque is flat on the back, and about 1/2 inch thick at its thickest. It’s designed to hang on a wall rather than stand on a desk or shelf.

I really like how this one turned out. I suspect I’ll be making more like it. My biggest problem might be picking out wood combinations that look good together.



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