Carve a Comfort SongBird


Comfort Carvings are easy carvings with a great purpose.

Excerpt from Carving Comfort Animals Booklet

Humans are tactile beings. Children reach for a favorite teddy bear during a thunderstorm; your friend grabs a mug of coffee before giving you the news; you twist a locket or play with your phone while waiting for a big interview. Whatever your mood might be—antsy, anxious, joyful, or sad—it often helps to have something physical to hold in your hand. With that in mind, the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine team has scoured the archives for our all-time favorite comfort carving projects and gathered them in one place for the very first time. Each simple animal project can be carved in one sitting with a minimum of tools, so you can make a whole mess of them to keep or gift to anyone in your life who needs a little extra comfort.

Below is a sample Comfort Songbird project and free pattern download by Frank Foust from the Carving Comfort Animals Booklet.

Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine

Carving Comfort Animals

Great for stressful times or gifting to someone you love, Carving Comfort Animals is a compilation of seven all-time favorite projects and patterns from the archives of Woodcarving Illustrated magazine. From hedgehogs and turtles to owls, penguins, and more, each step-by-step, beginner-friendly project will show you how to carve stylized comfort animals with very few tools—in just one sitting!

Wood Carving a Comfort Song Bird

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 01

1. Cut away the excess wood.


Create templates by transferring the patterns to thin cardboard and cutting around the outline of the patterns. Trace the templates onto the blank and cut the top view of the bird with a band saw. Tape the waste in place, rotate the blank 90°, and cut the side view.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 02

2. Rough out the bird.


Remove the sharp edges and rough shape the bird with a sanding drum equipped with 60-grit sandpaper. I use a 1 1/2″ (38mm)-diameter drum attached to a radial arm saw, but you can use a rotary-power carver. Shape the neck with a 1″ (25mm)-diameter cushioned sanding drum.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

3. Finish shaping the bird.


Use a carving knife to shape the beak. Use a rotary-power carver and your bit of choice to add any desired details and to remove any remaining ridges. Make sure the bird is smooth and flowing, with no hard lines or sharp angles.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

 4. sand & Finish the bird.


Sand the bird. Sand the bird by hand with 150-grit
sandpaper. Then buff it with synthetic steel wool until the carving is perfectly smooth. Don’t rush the process. Creating a smooth surface is a vital step. Apply polyurethane. Insert a darning needle into the bottom of the bird to give you something to hold. Then apply a light coat of polyurethane to the carving and allow the finish to dry thoroughly. Buff the carving with synthetic steel wool, apply another coat of finish, and let the finish dry thoroughly. Finish the bird. Rub the second coat of polyurethane with powdered pumice mixed with oil. Remove the oil and pumice, and then apply paste wax. Use a soft cloth to buff the wax to a high gloss.

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When you’re done, don’t forget to share your carving with us on Facebook and Instagram by tagging @foxchapelpublishing.

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About the Author

Robert Triplett has been carving for most of his life. He retired from the U.S. Army after twenty-five years of service and later worked as a safety engineer at electrical power plants. Born and raised in Bedford County, Pa., Robert lives in Hummelstown, Pa.