Presentation: Bill Maloney – White Cedar Birds

This month’s presentation was delivered by Bill Maloney.

Bill has been making white cedar birds for most of his life. This craft has been passed down through many generations and is believed to have originated in Russia or one of the scandinavian countries, but Bill is not sure where his father, being Irish, learned it and passed it down to him and his brothers.

As a boy he was delegated one specific task in the process.  When he and his brothers were still young, his father passed away, but they continued the craft.  As his brothers reach High School age, they lost interest and taught Bill the rest of the process.  When Bill reached High School, like his brothers, his interest changed and he stopped making these birds until he got out of the Service.  At 85, Bill has continued to make these birds every since.  He demonstrates a unique and special love for his craft and is willing and eager to share it with anyone who is interested.  Bill doesn’t compromise on quality, but he does recognize there is a balance between quality, time and artistic expression.

Bill’s White Cedar Birds are all made from one single piece of wood and have no glue.  They are finished only with a coat of shellac and some wood burning to accent the piece.  Sometimes he will mount them on a stand, but prefers to hang them up.  Because “it’s difficult to get a bird to balance”, Bill will mount the ones that won’t balance on the string.

Information on Northern White Cedar:

The whole process of making the birds begins with selecting the right trees.  Every few years, Bill drives to Vermont and hand selects the right trees.  Though, it’s possible to make them from all kinds of wood, they are best made from straight-grained White Cedar.

If the bark is straight, the grain of the wood is straight.  The first three feet of the tree is not used because it contains imperfections in the grain.  However, the next 14-18 feet of the wood above the 3 foot base is used.  These are cut into 38 inch lengths for the trip home.  All of the bark is removed and only the sapwood is used.

Once the wood arrives, it’s put into a 55 gallon barrels filled with water where it remains until it’s used.  Often his stock will remains here for a few years.  Storing the wood this way stops checking and insures the highest quality piece.  White cedar is very easy to carve when wet.

A regular bird takes Bill about 30 minutes to make.  Hummingbirds take about 15 minutes each.  Bill teaches some class on how to make a bird and generally it takes a new student about 2 hours to learn the entire process and make their first bird.


It is very hard to make a mistake.  He has taught classes on how to do this in about 2 hours for an new student.

Once it’s carved, the piece is dried overnight.  The next day, the piece is shaved and sanded.  The carving process is done with a sharp swiss army knife with a thin blade.

Next, Bill uses a Swiss Army Knife with a thin blade to slice the wings.  This knife is ideal for this part of the process and technique is key to getting clean slices.  The grain of the wood help, but also the very thin blade prevents the need for a sawing movement.  Bill learned that simply moving the piece a little further from his body during cutting enables him to produce pieces much faster and with better consistency.  

Once the wing slices are made the bird wings are interlocked and set to dry.  The next day, Bill will add the details and finish with one coat of shellac.

Jim Kakacek – Toolbox and Restored Tools

Jim is a tool collector and has built a beautiful tool box to also store some of the tools he’s made.  Cherry wood, hand rubbed and wax finish.  All of the wood is flat-sawn so the wood produces a different feel and different results.  Using a stain hides a lot.  Some shellac was used initially to eliminate blotching from the Cherry wood.  Case is dovetailed on all four sides.

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Library Update

Wayne Manahan provided an update of new resources in the club library.  There are newly purchased DVDs as well as some donated books.  See the Librarian at our regularly scheduled meetings to check in/out resources.

Shop Clean-up

Shop clean-up will be the last weekend of the month, October 27th at 9am.  We’ll be throwing out a lot of stuff and cleaning the shop.  It shouldn’t take too long.

Bowl Turning Class

The Bowl Turning Class is progressing well.  They’ll be making 4 bowls.  Due to the positive response the class will be offered again in the new year.

Woodworking Sales

Klingspor is having their woodworking Extravaganza Friday/Saturday October 26 & 27th.


WestPennHardwoods-LogoWest Penn Hardwoods will also be having a big sale as well and some of us will be going there while in the area.

Officer Elections

Officer Elections will be next month.  All officers have agreed to serve again if elected except for Vice President Bill Blackett.  Nominations were taken at this month’s meeting.

Nominations received:

Jim Dunn – Vice President

Boy Scout Merit Badge Workshop

Please sign-up here:

Current Sign-up Sheets

No sheets currently available at this time.

This will be the 1st Two Saturdays in November 3rd & 10th from 8am-2pm. We need multiple people at each station to help the kids in different areas.  Please plan to attend.


We have an ongoing raffle for a Belt Sander.  Raffle tickets can be purchased at the meeting, or online via paypal from the website.

Members Store

Help Wanted

We are looking for a few volunteers to help setup and manage the raffles at our monthly meetings.

Upcoming Classes

Bruce Bogust will be doing a basic Table Saw Class on the 1st Saturday in December.

Christmas Party & Gift Exchange

Our annual Christmas Party & Gift Exchange is December 18th at Brixx Uptown

There is free parking nearby.  This is just around the corner from the 7th Street Light Rail Station.

Cost is $10.

Don’t forget to put your red ticket from each meeting in the box for a drawing to win.

Our members will be doing the gift exchange again this year.  Preferably shop made items that are given to our spouses (if you bring one) and servers.

One Special Christmas


One Special Christmas Banquet / Auction will be on December 1st, Saturday at Oehler’s BBQ Barn in Charlotte, NC.

This is our opportunity to help kids have One Special Christmas! Since 1989 One Special Christmas has raised more than $800,000 to help children experience the feeling of being special.

This year we will be helping children to have a BIG, life-changing Christmas season!  Please help us this year by entering an item for the auction, coming to the auction and buying things!

Preview and silent auction will begin at 5:00 PM.
Dinner will start at 6:00 PM and the live auction will begin at 7:00PM.

Click Here to RSVP

or call 704-360-0643

Be sure to invite friends! 

If you plan to donate, please fill out this form and bring it with the item.  If not going, drop off the Monday before the meeting (November 26th).











September Newsletter


Bruce is planning an advance table saw class where he will teach how to make raised panels box joints etc.

One Special Christmas is fast approaching. We encourage our members to make and donate “something” which is auctioned off to raise money for a local family. The money is then used for various items such as electronics/school laptops and supplies.

The Christmas Party is set for December 18 at Brixx Restaurant uptown (225 East 6th St). Free parking is next to the restaurant. Just save your ticket and have it validated inside.

It was a busy month for the Club. We had exhibition booths at both Matthews Alive and Festival in the Park events. Our participation serves as a membership drive and to promote woodworking. The Club owes many thanks to the people who donated their weekend time as demonstrators or greeters. We expect to acquire many news members due their efforts of the volunteers. When you see a new face in the shop shake their hand and welcome them to the Club. Make them feel at home.

Matthews Alive

Mike Smith Showed kids the proper use of the Japanese Pull Saw. He made his T-puzzle and challenged the kids to assemble it. After they were frustrated he gave them a hint.

There are videos on the website on how to make both his Box and T-puzzles

Fred Miller did double Duty at Matthews Alive. He demonstrated how to make hand-cut dovetails (above) and explained the purpose and use of the Shaving Saw Horse.

2X4 Contest

Show & Tell

Mike Smith with mesquite clock
For show and tell Mike showed off his clock made with mesquite wood. Because the wood is rated at 2345 on the Janka Hardness scale it is difficult to work.  The tar from the wood also has many medicinal uses.

In addition to the contest Mike Smith showed off his clock made of mesquite wood. Since mesquite wood is 2345 on the Janka Hardness scale (twice as hard as oak) it is difficult to work. On a side note the black tar of the wood, when diluted with water has many medicinal uses such as eye wash, antiseptic for open wounds, chapped lips and as a sun burn lotion.

2X4 contest
Angled dovetail box

Bruce also described how to make the angled dovetails on his box. He also spoke on the differences between dye and stain. Dye is absorbed into the wood fibers. It gives a more consistent color but not recommended for wood food utensils. Stain is actually made of particles that stay in the grain. Color can be built up with each layer and is most effective with open grain woods. One reason to use a stain or dye is to make one type of wood look like another.

Festival in the Park

George Thomas, Christian Bettendorf, and John Arnaud, gave demonstrations at the Club’s booth at Festival in the Park.

While bands played in the Amphitheater at the Festival, George Thomas displayed and spoke about making a guitar at our booth.

Bob Fields gave a demonstration on how to use this Shaving Horse and draw knife. After making a doorstop, he gave them away as souvenirs of the Festival

Hand Made Guitar
George Thomas shows off his award-winning handmade guitar. He remarked it takes about 328 hours to make one

Scroll Work
Christian Bettendorf shows off his scroll saw work

John Arnaud
John Arnaud

Shaving Horse
Shaving Horse

In the Shop

Fred Miller showing a new member (Nifemi Ogunro) how to use a lathe. In no time she was on her own making small bowl type containers.

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Due to the limited number of repair shops in the area, Doug Rink is making a repair on his planner


September Meeting Announcement

It’s time again for our monthly meeting.

This month is the club 2×4 contest.   Bring your 2×4 project in, demonstrate it for a chance to voted best in the club.   We’re looking forward to your entry.


  • One construction grade 2″x4″x8″
  • No specialty woods allowed.
  • Only one can be used in project, but don’t need to use all of it.
  • Can use hardware.
  • No other wood except for 2×4.

This months meeting will be at the Jackson Park Ministries Chapel.

5415 Airport Drive
Charlotte, NC 28028

We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Meeting Agenda for Tuesday September 18th.

5:30 – 6:15        Meet and greet.  This is the time to meet other woodworkers, talk about projects and look over the Show and Tell stuff.

6:15 – 6:20        New Member Introduction

6:20 – 6:25        Safety Information

6:25 – 6:45        Announcements

6:45 – 6:55        Show and Tell

6:55 – 7:00        Raffle – lots of good prizes (see below)

7:00 – 8:30       Presentation

8:30                  Meeting Adjourned

Raffle Items for this months meeting:

September Raffle