Dove Decoys Part 2 – Shaping

| October 24, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Just an update to the dove decoy making. The majority of rough shaping of the first decoy is done. I need to work on head shape, then detail, but in general its looking half decent. I don’t ever start a project thinking I won’t finish it, but I was genuinely concerned that I didn’t have the talent to shape wood blanks into a convincing dove.

While I have decent enough wood working and carpentry skills, and I am confident using hand tools like rasps, files, chisels, and routers, for things like dove tails, tenons, and finger joints, this sort of shaping something from nothing falls into a category of art. I can easily see how people appreciate, and collect decoys as art.

Its actually been sort of strange how many tools I’ve used so far. I’m trying to use the right tool for the job. I cleaned up old 2x4s with the table saw. Then glued them up. I did the major rough cuts for shape and 45 degree cuts to create a ’rounded’ body from the blank with my table saw.


I glued up a head block and tail then rough shaped them with a small hand saw, and chisels. The dove decoy immediately went from a block of round wood to a dove shape. I worked the body, head, and tail with a rasp. Uneven material was removed with chisels and hand routers. I continued to work the whole thing with a rasp.

Then I started to hit the decoy with files, and work it over with the rough drum sanding bit on a Dremel 4000. A little sand paper on the whole thing, and now I can visualize what the final bird should look like. I’ll post a new update after I finish shaping the head and add a little detail.

I’m really starting to look forward to getting beyond roughing things out. It’ll be fun to get to the point where I start detailing, texturing, and painting the decoy to look like a collared dove. While I probably could have done all the work with hand tools, the Dremel 4000 was beyond helpful for removing small amounts of material quickly and smoothly, and will come in handy when it comes time to add detail. If your budget affords it, and you don’t already have a rotary tool you should get yourself a Dremel 4000. I’ve used it for so many things now, it’s paid for itself ten fold in time savings. If you have any suggestions or comments, please leave me a comment below. Thanks

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