Carving a Mallard Head – Tutorial

I took the following pictures to document the process I use for carving a decoy head; it is also available on the duckboats.net website in their Carver’s Corner.

67 - Ready for a body   Mallard Drake - 2 May 2013 - closeup

Above left is the head ready for a body.  Although this Drake Mallard head was for a decorative decoy (some would insist I say “carving” instead…), I use the same process for gunning birds.

Mallard Drake - 2 May 2013 back

This bird is finished in oils.

As with all of my instructional posts, this is simply how I do it.  There are many ways to accomplish any job – and there is usually no one “right” way – but watching others is a time-honored way of learning and developing one’s one approach.  Sharing ideas is also an important part of our carving tradition.  So, I hope this is useful to you.

4 thoughts on “Carving a Mallard Head – Tutorial

  1. Steve,you have made successful decoy carving within the possibilities of the novice, like me! I appreciate and admire your concise and understandable teaching style. I’m excited about getting started using the techniques of “the master”. Thank you for sharing your great skill and enthusiasm!

  2. At 73 I have lost some of my stride but I’m still not done for. Shaking hands and endurance. But I would like to take a moment to think you for sharing your skills. Have carved for years, high relief. My grandsons are duck hunters and have asked me to carve some decoys. Your teaching skills are very important to me at this point in time. Very well done Sir and God bless you. Sincerely walter.van_cleave@myself.com

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