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Canvasback Head Carving Demonstration

By: Keith Hendrickson

I discussed custom carving knives and some basic cuts in the Winter and Spring 2016 issues of Wildfowl Carving Magazine. For the following demonstration, I used knives for everything except the initial band saw work. I’ll use a good variety of blade styles and sizes so you can get an idea where different shapes can come into play. For this particular demonstration, I’ll carve a generic canvasback head. It will work for a decoy, as a coat/hat/gun rack or even cut in half and mounted on a plaque to hang on the wall. This demonstration doesn’t require precise or detailed bill carving, so it’s a great project for learning how to use and control a knife. I will demonstrate using white cedar. Here in the Carolinas we call it juniper. It carves great but definitely has a defined grain. That can be a bit of a deterrent, but carvers need to learn how to read that grain and deal with it. So let’s get to it:

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