A cooperative project with Maine Woodturners supporting Maine Woodcarvers supporting Maine veterans
At the March 2008 meeting, (then) President Peter McCrea described the Eagle Cane Project as a five-year-old ongoing effort by woodcarvers in numerous midwestern and eastern states to carve eagle-headed decorative canes which are then personalized and presented to wounded post-9/11 vets. He said that he’d been recently approached by the Windsor chapter of the Maine Woodcarvers Association - to see if we would be able to support their effort to make these canes available to wounded Maine veterans. This seemed like a truly good cause.
This photo shows wide variations in carving styles, colors, and turnings, but all canes consist of a carved and painted head with a 3/4” hole in the neck. This hole accommodates the tenon turned onto the staff of the cane. Click these thumbnails for a larger image.
Next is a transition piece called an adapter, which serves to visually and physically couple the carved head to the staff. It’s centered 3/4” hole fits on the tenon below the carving. The material and shape of the adapter are not too tightly controlled, although there are some specification that must be adhered to. The photo shows some prototype adapter designs.
Here are a few more adapters by Peter McCrea; and here’s a pdf explaining his approach
Finally, the staff consists of a purchased Ash tool handle that tapers from 1¼” to ¾” over the 36” length. We then embellish the handle. The photo shows the 2½” long tenon required to accommodate the 1” long adapter and the 1½” drilled hole in the carved head. A feature (typically a single or double incised bead) is turned 5” below the shoulder of the tenon. This defines a 5” region at the top of the visible staff where personalized information (name, rank, unit, etc. of the recipient) will be added.
For more information about the history of this worthwhile project, please visit the web site of the Eastern Oklahoma Woodcarvers Association. A member there, a fellow by the name of Jack Nitz, began it all back in 2004. It makes for good reading and describes the process quite well.
Click to see a small sampling of prior recipients from Maine.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can help make the Eagle Cane Project a continuing success right here in Maine, please contact Gary Kitchen.