Fur, Feathers & Fins
How to Carve with FOREDOM Power Tools and Accessories
by Frank Russell

Published by Foredom Electric Company, CT, USA


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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 139

Successful power carving demands not only knowledge and skill but also the use of power carving devices that deliver the results required of them.

All of these aspects of power carving are covered in the three DVD set, Fur, Feathers & Fins, which includes instructions for three 'carvings in the round' - a Cotton Tail Rabbit, Mallard Drake Duck and Small Mouth Bass.

Frank Russell will already be known to many readers. He is a professional woodcarver and for many years taught power carving at his Stonegate Woodcarving School in Vermont (USA). He is the author of several books (such as Carving Vermont Folk Figures, Carving Realistic Animals with Power and Carving Animal Canes and Walking Sticks with Power) and is a contributor to Wood Carving Illustrated.

The presentations on these DVDs benefit from Russell's long experience as a teacher. His manner is relaxed and confident and he covers the material slowly, carefully and clearly. After a while, the viewer feels almost as if Russell is sitting at the bench in front of a class.

To make a point, to show how feathers must be rounded not stepped for example, Russell resorts to a blackboard, further reinforcing the illusion of being in a classroom.

The three projects are described from the initial collection of research material to the final touches made to the fur, feathers or fish scales.

The DVDs are sponsored by Foredom (manufacturers of power carving equipment) and Frank Russell's unhesitating recommendation of their products is obviously sincere. He says he has been using Foredom gear for all of his 25 years and demonstrates his knowledge of it throughout the presentations.

(A bonus chapter, added by Foredom, lists the major equipment available and demonstrates the physical aspects of its construction and use. Foredom products are sold by Carba-Tec and while Foredom has a number of specialised attachments, the general carving information on the DVDs also applies to other motor tool carvers such as the Bosch Dremel).

The wide scope of these videos enhances their appeal to the novice or semi-experienced power carver. But the experienced power carver will also find much of interest, for Russell spends a considerable amount of time detailing the abrasive techniques as well as the pyrographic methods that he uses to achieve the real-life appearance of his animal and fish carvings.

Disc 1: Carving Basics and Carving the Cotton Tail Rabbit
1. Setting Up Work Station
2. Woodcarving Bits
3. Maintaining Control of Carving Bits
4. Cleaning and Re-Shaping Bits
5. Reference Materials
6. Using the Band Saw
7. Using Lines of Control
8. Roughing Out the Rabbit Blank
9. Defining Contours
10. Rough Hair
11. Setting Eyes Tutorial

Disc 2: Texturing and Carving the Mallard Drake Duck
1. Texturing Fur Tutorial
2. Duck Templates
3. Preparing Duck Blanks
4. Rough Carving the Duck
5. Contours and Feathers
6. Joining the Head and Body
7. Feather Groups
8. The Duck Beak
9. Feather Texturing Tutorial
10. Burning Flight Feathers

Disc 3: Carving the Small Mouth Bass
1. Templates and Blank
2. Drawing Details
3. Rough Shaping the Bass
4. Defining Shapes
5. Split Mandrel Tutorial
6. Discussion of Fins
7. Carving Dorsal Fins
8. Burning Fin Details
9. Head Details
10. Lateral & Center Lines
11. Scale Burning
12. Carving Dorsal Fins
13. Final Finishing of Scales

Bonus Chapter on Foredom Basics and Rabbit Pattern included!

This set of three DVDs has in-depth instruction for beginning woodcarvers as well as detailed tips for power woodcarvers who want to enhance their technique.

Filmed at the Vermont studio of renowned carver, Frank Russell, Fur, Feathers & Fins shows the many steps involved in bringing simple blocks of wood to life. The Cotton Tail Rabbit, the Mallard Drake Duck, and the Small Mouth Bass are the focus of this film - the star, however, is Frank Russell himself. His congenial manner and accomplished teaching style lend to the enjoyment of learning to carve.

Disc I (76 min.)
Disc 2 (62 min.)
Disc 3 (83 min.)

DVD - English - NTSC