Looking to add a touch of modern wooden decor to your home? This ever popular wooden bird project is a perfect fit for any room in your home. Put your band saw to work making compound cuts, and then use the spindle sander or chisels to create a smooth three-dimensional bird from a simple block of wood.
- 1 piece of 4x4 at least 6 inches long
- thick gauge wire (the wire used in this tutorial is repurposed from a clothes hanger)
- wood glue
- clear packing tape
- sandpaper 150 grit
- spindle sander or chisels
- drill bit that is the same diameter or a bit wider than the wire being used
1. Cutting the Bird
Use paper to cut out the side profile of your bird and adhere it to the wood with clear packing tape. Make sure to cut out small areas inside the bird pattern to allow the tape to come in contact with the wood somewhere other than around the edge of the design. This will help keep the paper pattern from shifting while cutting out the design.
Next, cut around the top half of the bird with a band saw. The bottom half of the waste wood will be retained for making the second set of cuts. Be sure to cut the bird in two pieces, top and bottom.
Cut around the remaining bottom portion of the bird.
On the top of the partially cut bird, draw the guide marks for cutting the top-down shape of the bird. Make the finer areas such as the beak and the point of the tail a bit thicker than you would like them to be in the end. These areas will be further shaped during the sanding process.
Now replace the bird into the bottom part of the block. The bottom of the block will be the flat surface that is placed on the deck of the band saw. Now cut along the lines that are drawn along the top of the bird.
After cutting along the lines you should have a three dimensional figure like the one below.
2. Shaping and Sanding the Bird
Using a spindle sander or chisel, sand the sharp edges that were created where the horizontal and vertical cuts come together.
Continue using the spindle sander or chisel to give the bird a more rounded and flowing shape. Also use the sander to shape the beak and point of the tail further.
Once rough sanding is completed, your bird will look similar to the one below.
Now sand the bird by hand with sandpaper until it has reached the desired smoothness.
3. Making and Installing the Legs
Mark the position and drill two holes on the bottom of the bird's body. Use a drill bit that is the same size or just a bit thicker than the wire that will be used for the legs.
Cut a length of wire that is a bit longer than the total length of the leg. The length will depend on how tall the bird will be. This wire is from re-purposed clothing hanger so the hook shape was already there. Regular wire can be used as well.
Straighten the wire until it has a small hook on the end.
Crimp the hook down to create a "toe".
Then bend the wire at approximately a 90 degree angle. The length between the "toe" and bend should be at least 3 cm (1 inch) or longer. The non-hooked side will be the end that will be installed into the bird's body. Repeat steps 2 to 4 to make the second leg.
The completed bird body and pair of wire legs will look like this.
4. Installing Wire Legs
Insert the legs into the holes and make sure that they are even. If they are not even, carefully trim the ends until the bird will stand squarely on the legs.
Remove the legs and fill the holes with wood glue.
Insert the legs into the glue-filled holes. Wipe any excess glue away.
Carefully place the bird upright on its legs and adjust the angle of the legs so that the bird stands balanced. Allow the glue to dry for at least 12 hours.
Add any details such as eyes with a fine paint brush.
Your Feathered Friend Is Complete
Great job! You have created your very own wooden birdie friend. You can customize your bird to fit any decor by picking the perfect shade of paint or using a wood stain for a natural look.
If you enjoyed making this project, be sure to try our other woodworking tutorials!