Fittingly, a gooseneck lamp curves over Walter “Brother” Gaskill’s marvelous, meticulous workspace, where he carves purple gallinules and red-breasted mergansers for collectors and competitions. The chisels, knives, spokeshaves — to “true it down” — sanders, and calipers that he uses on his decoys are arranged in a foam organizer. Dozens of bird bills dangle from nails, so that Gaskill can study their features, like the wartlike bumps near the mouth of a Ross’s goose. Or he can sit outside beneath the scuppernong arbor and watch the real things paddle around a natural habitat he created. When it comes to decoys, details matter.
Gaskill and other decoy carvers will sell their creations at the Core Sound Decoy Festival on December 3 and 4. Learn more at decoyguild.com.