How to Carve Duck Decoys

Carved Duck Decoy image by Melinda Fawver


Carving is an enjoyable hobby intended for releasing creativity, as well as relaxing. Although there are scores of different carving knives, a novice carver can carve those first few carvings, using a simple pocket knife and a block of wood. Duck decoys are one of the simplest subjects to carve, as you don't have to worry about adding tiny legs, because you can easily have them in a sitting position.

Step 1

Find a pattern of a duck profile, either online or at a woodcarving magazine. Then, trace the duck's profile onto paper and cut out the shape.

Step 2

Lay the pattern on a small block of wood, ensuring the grain runs parallel to the duck's length, running from head to tail, and draw the pattern.

Step 3

Securing the wood with a C-clamp screwed on your workbench, use a coping saw (or band saw) to cut out the pattern.

Step 4

Studying the shape of the pattern, start carving around the outline traced on the wood's bottom to begin rounding off the chest.

Step 5

After rounding off the front and back draw a line down the duck's center from its bill to the tail to keep the sides balanced. Then, on the head and neck, sketch lines about 3/8" from both sides of the center line to draw the shape of the body (neck, head and bill). Begin carving away excess wood, taking extra caution when working the head and neck.

Step 6

Use a paring cut (as in paring an apple) when rounding off the back, using levering cuts (the thumb in one hand holding down the wood and knife in the other to remove chips) to create an oval shape.

Step 7

Sand down any rough spots with sanding paper, and paint your duck with acrylics or wood stain.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep your hand behind the knife's blade as you carve.

Things You'll Need

  • Pattern or silhouette picture of duck
  • Small block of wood
  • Three-bladed pocketknife
  • Wood bench with C-clamp
  • Coping saw or band saw
  • Acrylic paints or wood stain

Who Can Help

  • Hand Carved Duck Decoy
  • Duck and Decoy Carving
  • "How to Carve Wood" by Richard Butz
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About this Author

Venice Kichura has written on a variety of topics for various websites, such as Suite 101 and Associated Content since 2005. She's written articles published in print publications and stories for books such as "God Allows U-Turns." She's a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked in both Florida and Connecticut schools.

Photo by: Melinda Fawver

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Carve Duck Decoys