Flying Seagull




Introduction: Flying Seagull

About: I am a retired engineer.


I enjoy woodworking and have made the bird as a means of thanking another for something special they have done for me.

Pretty wood grain coupled with the shape of a bird soaring, brings together the magnificent beauty of the wood and bird marriage.

Note:  Regrettably, no picture can convey the striking beauty of such a masterpiece where wood and bird unite. The shadows can be useful to understand where the bird's contours are (i.e. the shadows reflect where a void is).

Step 1: 1st Step - Gather Material & Tools


Materials consist of five items.

Wood is the primary material. Left over wood from previous projects or new wood is my sources of wood. Which wood is chosen impacts size of the bird.

Second piece of material is a rock to be used as the mounting base. Find a rock which has a tinge of the selected wood 's color. Blending color enhances final product.

Third item is glue (INSTA-CURE" IC_GEL Ethyl Cyanoacylate Gel & CA Aerosol  Activator).

Fourth item is a 1/16" diameter copper tube (about 6 inches long to support the bird).

Fifth item is fine line graft paper for making templates.


X-Acto set (with various blades)

Sand paper (of various grits)

Dremel tool (variable speed)

Radial drill press

Band saw or jig saw

Step 2: CreatingTemplates

Creating Templates:

Two templates were made on graph paper to support shaping the body and wings.

Study the birds (particularly the wings, body & head orientation) before sketching your templates.

The first photo shows my first attempt at sketching and cutting templates. Be patient in this step, for everything that follows depends upon these sketches. Transfer the template shape to the wood.

Step 3: Shaping Bird's Body

Shaping Bird's Body:

Starting at the bottom image on the photo, there is a sequence to the bird's development.

The bottom bird reflects the shape after cutting on the band saw (two dimensions only). The next two birds reflect most of the waste material (wood) being removed. At this stage, care must be given to the shaping of the bird's tail. Also, the tail is easily broken off or sanded through.

There are four methods used to remove wood. First is sanding with the sanding disk mounted on the radial drill press. By operating the drill press at low speed and applying pressure in one direction to the disk, sanding with a distorted sanding disk will permit removing wood in two dimensions (better shaping and blending will result). 

The remaining methods for removing wood involve shaping the head, tail & beak require using either the Demel tool, scraping with wood's grain using the X-Acto blade tool or sand paper. In the last stage of shaping the body, work at envisioning where the wings are to be attached.

Step 4: Crafting the Wings

Crafting the Wings:

The wings bring the grace and beauty to the bird. They are the most challenging to create. Take time studying the shape, contour, attitude and impact of tilting the wings on the bird. 

Creating the wings requires patience. Initial sanding using the radial drill press will reduce time considerable. The first photo above shows a pair of wings after using just the band saw. The second photo shows two wings after some sanding. Note the gray shadows. The shadows reflect where a greater amount of sanding has taken place to give a sense of depth to the bird. Studying the wings in the second photo, a sense of life and beauty is given to the bird. The wings should be 1/32" to 1/16" thick when finished except where the wings and body glue together. Soaking the bird and wings in oil (preferably same oil used to finish the bird) and then holding the bird up to a strong light: may aid in the carving of the wings.

Step 5: Attaching the Wings

Attaching the wings to body is the last major step in crafting the bird. Using four brads (or needles about 1/32" diameter 1/2" long), make half inch support pins by cutting the brad nails to a half inch and removing the nail head. Drill eight holes (4 in the body and 2 in each wing) 3/8” deep with the Dremel tool; be careful to make sure the holes between the wings and the body align properly. Shape the joint between the bird and wing and with CA glue, baking powder (used to fill the gaps) and CA activator cement the wings to the bird.

Step 6: Select Rock Base

A small or medium sized rock makes for a good base. Crystalline, white or colored (blending with both the mounting base and bird) are good color choices for the base.

The finished bird is supported from the base by a 1/16" diameter copper tube. Using a 1/4" concrete drill, a hole1/2" deep is drilled in the mounting base. The 1/4" hole is filled with either lead; fiber glass resin etc. with a 1/16" hole for the tube is drilled in the center of the mounting plate's 1/4" hole.  A corresponding 1/16" hole is drilled in the bird.

The last step is to apply an oil finish multiple times.

Step 7: View the Bird in Different Angles

The bird is on a desk which is a true French polish finish. It was re-finished by myself (Note: I did not write this part up as an instructable). You can see the beauty of the finish and wood grain (click on the last photo to see the entire picture).

Cabot Woodcare Contest

Participated in the
Cabot Woodcare Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Lighting Challenge

      Lighting Challenge
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Puzzles Speed Challenge

      Puzzles Speed Challenge