Wildfowl woodcarver Bob Hand hones his craft in Sag Harbor
In the windows of the modest shingled shop on the corner of Jermain and Madison Streets in Sag Harbor, beautifully carved wooden birds stop passersby in their tracks. This is the workroom of Bob Hand, whose hand-carved songbirds, waterfowl and birds of prey grace the homes of collectors throughout the country.
Hand, 67, has been carving birds and decoys since he was a kid. Although he had no formal training, he recalls drawing birds in school as a young boy in Bridgehampton, where he grew up on a potato farm. The rural setting nurtured his affinity for the outdoors; to this day, he still enjoys bird-watching from local coves and estuaries.
He carves seven days a week—surrounded by ribbons, mostly blue and red, from national carving competitions—and uses tupelo wood from North Carolina, whether he’s creating a bluebird, a mallard or a red-tailed hawk. His prices range from $300 to $8,000, depending on the type of bird (it can take 200 hours to carve a peregrine falcon). All his creations are executed so perfectly that they truly appear to have feathers. His secret? “Just take off everything that doesn’t look like a bird.”
130 Madison St., Sag Harbor, 631-725-2314.