Turning Scrap Wood into Treasure

A work in progressTom's first duck, carved in 1983.One of Tom's favorites, a pintail made in 1996

A lowly scrap piece of lumber can become an amazing work of art in the hands of local wood carver, Tom Duszynski. Tom has been carving beautiful small wood ducks for over thirty years out of scraps of wood used to build walls in houses.

Tom’s father was an excellent artist, and Tom always wanted to be like him when he was growing up.  His father could draw, paint, and carve.  It seemed like there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do.

Tom also got to enjoy raising ducks when he was young.  “I always loved ducks since I was a kid,” he said.  That would start a passion for him to create something artistic based on the waterfowl.

He started carving his first duck back in 1983 out of just a 2×2 piece of lumber.  Although it was a rather basic carving, he enjoyed creating it and found it very relaxing.

He wouldn’t find his signature style of duck carving until he attended a carving show in Missouri.  There, he saw another wood carver creating full sized decoys in a “lumpy duck” fashion where the feathers are puffed out.  Ever since then, Tom has based his carving on that idea.

The process Tom uses to create his ducks is just as creative as the duck itself.  Using pieces of 2x4s and 2x6s, he cuts and carves sections of the duck, including the body, head, and wings.  Gluing them together, he then works on the finishing which involves a wood burner to create color and grooves in the feathers.  He then paints them using watercolors and sometimes will use a toothpick to put paint in specific highlighted areas.

Although Tom has rarely sold his creations through the years, he is now selling a few of them at the Downtown Lawrenceburg KY Visitor Center.  He loves what he produces and can take him three weeks to make one of his ducks.

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