Whittle a Classic Song Bird

Here’s a fun carving you can do to earn your Cub Scout Whittling Chip patch!

Every Bear Scout and Webelos Scout wants to earn the right to carry a whittling knife, represented by the Whittling Chip Award and the Bear Claws Adventure. But before you take the Pocketknife Pledge you have to make a carving!

Here’s a fun and simple whittling project for you from Chris Lubkemann, resident woodcarver at the Amish Farm and House in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

What you need:

  • Pocket Knife
  • Forked branch of choice
  • Sandpaper – a couple of grits on the fine to very fine side (150- and 220-grit would work)
  • Polyurethane or other clear finish of choice (optional)
  • Pencil, pen, or marker
  • Acrylic paints of choice (optional)
Wood Carved Folk Art Fish

Little Book of Whittling

Chris Lubkemann has been writing about whittling for over 45 years, and he actually holds a Guinness World Record for the smallest branch rooster carving! His friendly guidebook, the Little Book of Whittling, will encourage you to whittle away the hours with 18 fun projects for canoes, forks, spoons, birds, animals, trees, flowers, and more. Chris also includes vital information that every scout needs to know about wood selection, knife handling, safety, and sharpening.

Whittling a Song Bird

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 01

1. Here’s a bird (looking down, in this case) and an appropriate blank fork.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 02

2. Remove the bark from the entire fork.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

3. Sketch the side profile of the bird.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

4. Flatten the top and the bottom of the tail.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 05

5. Shape the side profile of the head.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 06

6. Taper the leg branch.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 07

7. Cut off the excess length from the beak branch and taper the tail a bit more.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 08

8. Draw the top view of the head, beak, and tail.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 07

9. Carve the head and sharpen the beak.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 07

10. Carve the tail.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 07

11. Draw lines for rounding the underside of the body a bit more.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 07

12. The body a bit more rounded with the legs a little more pronounced.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 07

13. Draw the two legs.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 07

14. Very carefully cut out the wedge between the legs. Again, where you go from this point is totally up to you! Finetune the details, and have fun painting and mounting

Other Wood Carving Titles

Carving Award-Winning Songbirds

Whittling Volume 5 Magazine

Learn to carve today with fun, fast and easy whittling projects! Whittling Volume 5 is packed with 26 projects that you can make in only minutes, using just a pocket knife. A handy whittler’s starter guide covers all the fundamentals you need to know.

Woodcarver's Workbook

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Whittling Book, Gift Edition

A good knife is all you need to start whittling. Whether you’re in front of a campfire or waiting for a bus, whittling is the creative way to unwind and have fun! In this book, world-famous whittler Chris Lubkemann shows you how to carve useful and whimsical objects with nothing more than an Original Swiss Army® Knife, a twig, and a few minutes of time. Learn to choose your wood, sharpen your blade, and control your knife, with dozens of easy step-by-step projects.

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.