Sunday, May 16, 2010

Carving Wood Bear Claws

While at several recent Scouting events I've come across several people who had both real and carved wood bear claws, as necklaces, walking stick decorations, or just hanging from a string on a pocket. Bear claws have always caught my attention when used for decoration so I talked with a lot of these folks and they allowed me to photograph their claws.

About a month ago I began researching bear claws and the picture to the left shows my progress as I search in quest for carving my own bear claws.

From the tip of the claws root to the tip of the claw, they measure 2-1/4" long and I used basswood. As seen in the pictures to the right I first cut out the claws using a scroll saw then used my v-parting tool to separate the root from the claw, then proceeded to shape up the remainder with my jack knife.

After the initial carving I then applied a bit of dark maroon acrylic paint to the root of the claw, then used my propane torch to char the entire claw being careful not to actually catch it on fire.
I then read somewhere about running a project like this through clear candle wax so that's how I finished my first claw after lightly sanding it after torching. Looks like a pretty good finish to me but I'll be trying other options too.

 Although I haven't gotten that far yet, I would now like to carve several more claws and then work on making a necklace. I'm also thinking that they will also make a great addition to a walking stick wrist strap. Maybe one day I'll get some real bear claws like in the picture to the left, but until then I'm going with wood!

1 comment:

  1. These claws look just like a pattern that I saw in an article years ago. (40+) Possibly by W. Ben Hunt in Boy's Life magazine. The finishing trick was to scorch them with a lit candle and work in the melted wax. A little sandpaper to lighten and shade the tip of the claw adds to the realism. The key, as I recall, is to not be afraid to really work the claw in the flame and wax.