#61: Douglas Fir

Bird number: 94
Date: August 28, 2012
Wood: Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga)
Source: Fellow carver

One of the carvers who sent me wood for my project included a couple pieces of Douglas Fir. I didn’t use them at the time because the wood was only 1.5 inches thick, and I was wanting all the birds to be the same size (carved from a 2 x 2 x 4.5 inch block). But then I started getting other pieces of wood that were smaller, and I decided that by limiting myself to the one size, I was hurting my chances of actually getting enough woods for the project.

As a result, this bird is somewhat smaller than most of the others.

I was somewhat surprised to see the crack form in the breast like that. The wood seemed dry when I got it, and it sat out in the hot and dry garage all summer. I know that the crack wasn’t there when I cut the pattern, so it must have formed after I carved the bird. Unexpected, but not a deal killer.

Douglas Fir is a common construction timber. In addition, it’s used as a substitute for Sitka Spruce in the building of airplanes, and also for boat building. It’s also among the most common species used for Christmas trees.

I carved this bird with the Foredom, but I could easily have carved it with a knife. The wood is relatively soft, and some experimental knife carving I did on another piece shows that the wood carves very nicely. (People have since told me that Douglas Fir is very hard once it’s fully dry.) Like all the softwoods, I had some trouble getting a smooth finish, but I think it turned out okay.