I start with a piece of wood or cork. In this demo, I am using a piece of white cedar. I have already jointed and planed this block to ensure it is flat and square. This step is critical. While cutting out the blank on the bandsaw, any imperfection will be magnifed the thicker and wider the block.
Here are the top and side profile patterns, along with the side head pattern.
I first draw a reference line on the front of the side and top of the blank. Then I'll line up the side profile pattern to that line and draw the side profile on.
Here is the side pattern drawn on.
Now I'll draw the top pattern on, lining up the front of the pattern with the front reference line.
Here is the block with both the side and top profiles transfered.
Now I'll draw on a "hollow line". While the block is still square, I'll cut it into two pieces. I do this because I'll be hollowing this decoy out after I have completed most of the carving.
Now I'll screw the two halves back together so I can carve them as one block.
Now I've taken the block to the bandsaw and cut out the top profile. Once the top is cut out, I use hot-glue to reattach the pieces. Then I'll flip the block on it's side and cut out the side profile.
Here is the completed body blank after I've cut both the top and side profiles.