Bird number: 49
Date: March 6, 2012
Wood: Shaggy Bark Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma)
My friend in Arizona sent me a few blocks of this juniper, which she labeled “AZ Juniper.” I remember from my time in Arizona that at least two species of juniper are common there: the shaggy bark, Juniperus osteosperma, and the alligator bark, Juniperus deppeana. Considering the marked difference in the wood from Juniperus species (compare this bird to the Cedar and Ashe Juniper birds, for example), I made it a point to ask her which type she had sent.
Of the three junipers I’ve carved, this one is the least interesting. It lacks the color of the other two, and doesn’t have a distinctive scent. It’s slightly harder than the Cedar, but has much the same character. It cuts much easier than the Ashe Juniper.
I started carving this bird with a knife, but finished it with the power carver over the weekend while I was working on some of the harder woods. You probably noticed that this is another of the short-tailed birds. I didn’t see any reason to reject the wood just because I’d have to modify the pattern a little bit.
The wood carves nicely enough, and I’ve seen some nice pieces made from it. I find it a bit bland, though. And maybe it’s just me, but I have difficulty getting a good finish on the softwoods (pine, juniper, etc.). This particular bird isn’t the best example of my work.
I have a few more blocks of this that I’ll almost certainly carve into something. When I do, I’ll probably experiment with stains or other ways of adding some color.