Carving an Eagle in the Round (part 3)

I started shaping the back of the wings and body, and as you can see, I have roughed out the ball the eagle is standing on. Carving a ball is normally fairly easy. But with an eagle standing on the ball, the job gets much harder. The eagle gets in the way and makes it difficult to both see the outline carve around the feet and tail. The only way to get it right is to work all sides of the ball together, little by little, until it looks right. At the point I don’t want to get too fussy with the ball because the feet need to be carved before the ball is finalized.

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Carving an Eagle In the Round

I recently restored an antique eagle for an antiques dealer. It is a Pilot House style eagle. Unlike most of the carvings I deal with that hang on the wall–what we call a relief carving–this eagle is carved “in the round” or in full 3 dimensions. This eagle is more folk art than a realistic type of carving.

My wife fell in love with this eagle once it was restored so, obviously, that means I have to carve a replica for her. Because carving in the round presents many difficulties not experienced with relief carving, I decided to post an ongoing tutorial during the carving process. It will probably be many posts over the course of a month or two. Be sure to subscribe to this page to be notified of updates.

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Trend Airshield Pro: Build Your Own Battery

I do a lot of woodturning, so eventually it was necessary for me to buy an air supplied shield. After hours of research I decided the Trend Airshield Pro was the best choice for me. It was expensive, but with some more research I found one online for less than $300. It works great. I’m really happy with it.

After about a year the battery refused to hold a charge. No big deal–rechargeable batteries wear out, won’t hold a charge and need to replaced occasionally. I went online to buy a new battery and was shocked at the price. They cost $70. I thought that was crazy. I took the battery out of the helmet and noticed that it was just a plastic container holding a battery pack. The battery pack is marked 3.6 volts, 3600 mah. I took the plastic container apart, which was really easy. It just snaps together. Inside was an unlabeled, shrink wrapped group of three batteries. I scoured the internet looking for a replacement but could find nothing. You can’t buy a 3.6 volt, 3600 mah battery pack. It looks like Trend had this battery specially manufactured just for them, forcing you to pay three times what the battery should cost to keep your AirShield Pro running once the battery wore out. Things like this really piss me off. I have no problem with companies making money, but when they design products that require purchasers to continually pay for that product by forcing their customers to buy overpriced, proprietary consumables, I refuse to play that game. Had I known I would only get a year out of a $70 battery, I could only buy from Trend, I would have bought something else.

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More Decorative Carving: Samuel McIntire’s Fruit Basket

Samuel McIntire is one this country’s most famous wood carvers. The homes in Salem Massachusetts are filled with furniture decorated with his carvings, many buildings feature some decorative carvings of his and, in fact, many of the buildings in and around Salem were designed by him. During the late 18th and early 19th century McIntire carved hundreds, maybe thousands, of ornaments for builders, cabinet makers and government buildings. Perhaps his most famous design is the fruit basket. These were usually carved in shallow relief from thin mahogany and then attached to furniture. I’ve wanted to carve one for years and finally took the time to do it. My carving is about 12″ wide and carved from mahogany. I mounted it to  a piece of maple for contrast and then framed the entire piece with mahogany moldings. A pattern will be available soon.

Some Decorative Carving

I spend a lot of time looking for interesting things to carve. One of my favorite subjects is traditional decorative carving. The acanthus has been one of the most popular motifs for hundreds of years. While searching internet for images of acanthus leaf designs I found a drawing for the carving in the photo below. Instead of the typical relief carving I carved this almost in the round out of basswood and mounted it to a scrap piece of walnut I had. It is about 10″ tall and a full 1 1/2″ thick.

Another Boston Carving Co. Eagle

After carving the recent Boston Carving Co. eagle for a customer,  I decided to do another one more to my liking. This one has full depth wings, a shorter banner and a different finish.

I reshaped the banner a bit, and instead of an aged gold finish, I dyed the wood and finished it with linseed oil. The paint is acrylic.

The overall width is 60″ with a 51″ wingspan. This eagle is for sale and ready for immediate delivery.