Flying Bird Ornament in the making

by shelbyvision on November 1, 2009

I first thought about making a bird in flight using my one-piece technique as with my previous birds, quite a long time ago, but was hung up on having the seam lengthwise as before, and came to a dead end for how to do it. I had pretty much given up on the idea until a few weeks ago, while waking breifly during the night, the solution suddenly popped into my head. Fortunately I remembered it in the morning, and was able to start working on the idea. It turned out to be mostly a tooling project, and took quite a long while to get the tooling and techniques correct. This first picture shows all my failures.


One of the biggest problems was breaking through at the beak end of the head, so I had to develop several stages of punching the head, with annealing between each stage. These next five pictures show the process from first annealing (flat blank) to the point where it’s ready for second annealing.


The wood die in the pictures has a large hole at one end and a smaller hole at the other end. All the rest of the steps shown are done at the smaller one. The next picture shows it punched with a slightly smaller hemispherical punch, again ready for annealing. Next, punch is same diameter, but bullet-shaped, and ready for annealing again. Then we have the most elaborate tool I’ve made so far, to finish the shaping of the head.


Next, using that fancy tool, I shape the rest of the body and the tail. Then some hammering to get it ready to silver-solder the seam. Then we see the seam soldered.


The next steps are pretty mundane: filing, grinding, sanding, polishing, attaching a jump ring to the back. Here’s the final result:


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

shelbyvision December 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm

No, sorry, I don’t have any available.

michelle December 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

can i buy one of your birds as a christmas gift? please let me know asap! thank you!!!

shelbyvision March 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Mary, they are for sale at my Etsy shop:

Mary March 1, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I have been looking all over for something like this. Are you willing to sell any of them?

Margaret December 24, 2009 at 12:26 am

How beautiful. I will ask my husband to make two, to take off from our pond on curved metal supports. I think that will look even nicer than hanging them.
What a lovely man you are. Thank you.

shelbyvision November 7, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Thanks, Shelby. (love your name 😉 )
Yes, it’s brass.

Shelby Raymond November 7, 2009 at 3:41 am

I love your birds! I assume you are using brass, is that correct? Great work.

shelbyvision November 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Thanks Dale, Mary.

mary November 3, 2009 at 7:40 pm

I am truly amazed at the birds…I love the bird form and you have done an incredible job….thanks so much for sharing!

Dale Miller November 3, 2009 at 12:49 am

Quite a delicate piece to create. Very nice!

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