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.

Here are some photos of the first phase of the project. Though I don’t like gluing up blanks, for a carving like this it is necessary. If you could find a piece of wood large enough and thick enough, it would probably crack as it aged and dried out. This carving blank required several steps to complete the glue up. I used a full sized pattern I created from the original eagle to guide me through the blank building process.


After all the pieces are glued together I used the full sized pattern to mark the blank for cutting on the band saw. Here is the blank cut out.


And here is the blank after about a half hour’s worth of carving.

I’ll post some more photos soon.

2 thoughts on “Carving an Eagle In the Round

  1. This looks like a great project, I hope you bring it to Mystic next year to show us. By the way how heavy do you think it will be and where will your wife keep it?? Looking forward to watching your progress.

    1. Hi Martin, the eagle only weighs a few pounds. I used some large pieces of basswood I’ve had laying around for the past ten years. It’s pretty light stuff. We have an antique tea table in our living room that will be home to it.

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