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909 South Schumaker Drive
Salisbury, MD 21804
410.742.4988

Museum Hours

Mon - Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

David K. "Davey" Nichol (1859-1949) Smith Falls, Ontario  

Davey Nichol lived as a bachelor with his brother Adam or "Addy." The two hunted together and started carving together after they became so disgusted with their mail-order decoys that they burnt the birds in a bonfire. The decoys they carved for themselves provided the basis for the family business they eventually established.

Davey Nichol was a boatbuilder and incorporated the same high-quality craftsmanship he used in building boats for carving decoys. He spent winter nights in front of the stove with his brother, holding the block on his lap and carving with knives and chisels. He concentrated on scaup, but also did some whistlers and about twenty black ducks (Fleming 88). Each duck has a smooth body, raised wings and a careful paint job. For the flat bottom board, Nichol used chestnut or butternut wood because it is supposed to be more resistant to rotting than cedar. Nichol carved birds in a variety of positions and textured the surfaces with a tool that made tiny perforations to create feathery lines. Nichol never became a commercial carver, but he did sell off his old rigs once he had made new ones. When his brother died, Davey Nichol gave up carving and waterfowl hunting, but not before he influenced his nephew, Davey W.