Our cardinal wood carving pattern is super easy to use and can be carved very quickly, too. If you glue your bird to a stick (like we did) it makes a beautiful piece that can be displayed anywhere.
The Northern cardinal is one of our favorite birds. We have a male and female that visit our bird feeders every day. They are quite territorial, and once they ”claim” a home, they tend to stay there. The males are bright red, while the females are more muted.
What you need for this cardinal wood carving pattern and tutorial
Our template at the end of this page to trace the pattern.
Basswood block (ours is 1 x 1 x 3 inches (2.54 x 2.54 x 7.62 cm). For a bigger bird, just double or triple the size of your wood.
Knife of choice (we use a Helvie Boxcutter that is great for both roughing out and detail work).
Use our free cardinal wood carving pattern (at the end) to trace your bird on one side (photo 1). You can use Scotch tape or glue to affix it.
Reverse the cardinal wood carving pattern (white side will be up) to draw the opposite side of the bird on your block (photo 2).
You can also trace the back of the bird on the top of your block (photo 1) or just eyeball it like we did.
Prefer to use a bandsaw? You can also use our cardinal wood carving pattern for your roughout.
1. Attach and trace an outline of the pattern
2. Reverse side of template
Cardinal wood carving pattern: Roughout the shape
Using a roughout knife, start to remove wood around the pattern on both sides (photos 3,4).
Use a stop cut to cut the underside of the beak, removing wood from underneath (photos 5,6).
Draw a line to indicate where you will reserve wood for the head (photo 6).
Remove wood from the back of the cardinal (photo 7).
3. Remove wood around guidelines
4. Continue roughing out wood
5. Use stop cuts to create the beak
6. Beak is cut and wood for head is reserved
7. Shaping back of the cardinal
Cardinal wood carving pattern: Shape the head and beak
Shave wood off each side of the head to narrow the shape (photo 8).
Mark wood on the top and the sides of the head where you will use 2 pyramid cuts to remove wood (photos 9-11).
Use an angled cut to remove the wood from the back of the head (marked in photo 11 and completed in photo 14).
Mark the wood that you will remove to shape the tail (photos 11,12).
8. Narrowing each side of the head
9. Wood is marked for removal
10. Starting first pyramid cut
11. Pyramid cuts are made on each side
12. Removing excess wood
Some terrific knives you will love!
The knives pictured below are easy to use and hold an edge extremely well. They are also very sturdy, which is awesome for beginner wood carvers. The FC001 is a great all-around carving knife. The FC016 is my go-to for making clean pyramid cuts with ease. I use the FC015 when I need to remove a lot of wood without too much effort. Lots of great wood carvers on Instagram use them. They are also readily available, which is a plus these days. Check ‘em out! Every purchase you make via these affiliate links helps support this website. Thank you! 😀
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