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Power Carving a Loon

Laurie J. McNeils new book demonstrates how she carved a life-size loon and its two chicks from a single piece of tupelo. In this excerpt, she explains her approach.

By: Laurie J. NcNeil

I figured out early in my carving career that I did not like using wood filler and glue to hold my pieces together. I had seen enough old decoys with glass eyes missing from now-gaping holes, cracked neck seams, and laminated blocks that had split open.

In 1987 I began to carve from single pieces of wood because I felt this ensured a better future for my sculptures. I use tupelo wood for my birds, and butternut for the bases. I create my carvings with the idea that they will still be here long after I am gone. I cannot bear to think that my pieces would exist with huge holes in their eyeless heads, or fall apart because the wood filler holding them together had crumbled away. 


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