Carving a Eagle Feather




In this instructable I'm going to show how to carve a feather with a eagle head on in. This is a simple carving that a beginner should be able to do easily.

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Step 1: Items Needed

1. Piece of wood about 14x3x3/8. I used a slat of a pallet but any soft wood will be fine. 2. Pattern. I included one for you to use.   3. Bandsaw or coping saw  4. knife, V-tool needed and a gouge would be helpful.  5. Sandpaper. 6.  Paints and brushes.

Step 2: Draw Pattern and Cut Out

Sand the wood fairly smooth and trace the pattern onto the wood then cut out. I used a band saw to do this. The band saw saves time but you can always use a coping saw for this. Then draw in the rest of the pattern lines with a pencil.

Step 3: Thin and Round Off Feather

Before you begin, ALWAYS use caution and never cut towards any body part including your hands, it is a good idea to use a carving glove.  Plus, always cut with the grain of the wood, if you are cutting and the wood starts tearing you are going the wrong direction and need to cut from the other way. Use V-tool to make stop cut along quill on both sides, you want to go deep enough to make quill stand out good. I will take a few passes probably to get to the depth you want. Don't try and do it all with one pass, as it is harder to control when pushing down hard and unsafe. After the stop cut is done take knife or gouge and remove excess wood from the feather on both sides of the quill. Next you will want to round the feather off from quill to edge of feather.

Step 4: Shape and Round Head

Use V-tool to make stop cuts along the beak, back of the head and the line above the eye. I like to take my knife a cut the round shape of the eye, then remove the wood around the circle of the eye so it protrudes a little. Now round the eye off.  Start rounding the edges of the head and beak. Then cut up to the stop cuts on the beak. You will be removing the wood from the beak so it is deeper down than the head. The lower beak needs to be deeper then the upper beak. Round off all hard edges along the beak and top of eye. I also make sure their are no saw marks anywhere one the carving. use a knife or gouge to remove these.

Step 5: Smooth Feather Up

Make sure feather is rounded down nicely, then take a knife and round off the quill and put a good taper on the end of it, I like to sand the feather a little to smooth it up a bit, especially the quill itself. the rest of the feather not as important but I still hit it a little. The head I don't sand, but that is up to you.

Step 6: Adding Alot of Lines

I like to take my v-tool and cut the first lines that go out the ruffles in the feather, that way the angles are somewhat the same. Then start continuing with the rest of the lines.

Step 7: Painting

I use acrylic paints. The brown i had water down a lot. it was very runny because i didn't want it dark brown. The white i also diluted but not as much as the brown. The yellow was even less, maybe 50/50 with water.  the black i used undiluted and just took a toothpick to put a spot on it.

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11 Discussions


1 year ago

I really enjoyed carving this eagle feather. I will try to post a picture of mine. I used 3/4 inch thick wood because that was what I had at the time. Your suggestion of the thinner wood would be much better. I like the detail that I was able to get into the head.


3 years ago

I've downloaded your instructions. Nice project thank you for posting.


4 years ago on Step 4

felicitaciones que hermosura!!


5 years ago on Introduction

Wow that is really cool. I might look into some small electric tools to do this. I don't think I could do it by hand like you did. It's really pretty!


6 years ago

good work...have been wanting to carve a feather also...eagle is a good idea..


6 years ago

Glad you liked it. I'm thinking about doing another carving instructable but they don't seem to be very popular.


6 years ago

Very nice, I did this myself, thank you


6 years ago on Introduction

Love it! Thank you for a very clear and simple way to start carving.