Make A Thanksgiving Turkey from Reclaimed Wood

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To make a Thanksgiving Turkey from reclaimed wood, I started with a picture of a turkey display that I saw in a store and drew a 24" wide x 24" high pattern. Then I used transfer paper to copy the pattern onto a 1/4"-thin piece of plywood to make a backer board. 


Using a jigsaw since the board is too large to cut on the bandsaw, I cut out the perimeter of the pattern, making sure to stay about 1/4" inside the lines to make the backer board slightly smaller than the pattern. This will keep the backer board from showing after assembly.


Using pallet wood and some used 3/4" rough-sawn oak that I salvaged from my wood pile, I transferred each of the parts from the pattern onto wood pieces. I used a bandsaw to cut out each part.  I used a drum sander attached to my drill press to sand the rough edges and manually round over all the edges for a smoother look.  On some edges, I sanded deeper in places to make the board look more rustic and less uniform.  One 24"-long x 3"-wide board was used to make the base.

I used painter’s tape to cover the parts where they will glue together, and I used  Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint in different colors to paint each piece. I easily mixed the orange color using white, red and yellow. After the pieces dried, and I removed the tape, I was nearly ready for assembly. I use the drum sander to sand the edges of some of the painted parts to allow the edges of the wood to show through the paint.

 Using Titebond III Wood Glue, a pneumatic nail gun and 1/2" staples, I attached the feathers to the backer board, nailing from the back.  Then I switched to a pneumatic nail gun with 1-1/4" 18-gauge brad nails to glue and attach the base at 90° to the backer board.  Next, I attached the body and head pieces.  It is an easy assembly that achieves a very nice result.  I have helped several beginning woodworkers complete this easy project with great results.


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