Making fan birds

When Christiane came over to visit me this week I told her she could have a fan bird like the one’s I’ve been showing her via skype. The only catch was that she had to make it herself. Christiane’s made a few spoons and she’s got good knife skills so I knew that a fan bird would be no trouble for her and we’d enjoy making them together. It’s good for me to see how Christiane manages with the techniques and the best way to show and teach them. It’s a good way to refine my own skills in preparation for teaching a fan bird carving course next year.

First off, we prepared the blank from a small larch log. I use the wood green and find I don’t need to boil it as some makers do. You can see one of our other finished fan birds in the photo.
preparing a fan bird blank

The feathers and hinge are carved using simple knives, chisels and gouges.
Carving fan bird hinge

Then the feathers are split out to approximately 1mm thick. This is a time to concentrate but with the right technique it’s surprisingly easy.
riving fan bird feathers fan bird feathers

We used a Frost knife to carve a body and head then it’s just a matter of carefully open out and interlock the feathers to make the wings and tail. During this process, I showed Christiane how to weave in a thread to hang the finished fan bird.
bending out fan bird wings Christiane's fan bird

And I made one too.
Steve's fan bird

About Steve Tomlin

I am a greenwood worker and scythe tutor. I carve spoons, bowls and other products from locally sourced greenwood. During the summer I teach scything around the UK.
This entry was posted in fan birds, SteveTomlinCrafts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Making fan birds

  1. Bob the Bodger says:

    Steve Jealous!!! May be down early Dec. Bob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s