Finding Green Wood For Carving

If you’re new to wood carving then it may be a matter of trial and error in order to find the right type of wood for your carving style, skill level, and projects. Out of all the commercial woods, Balsa is by far the lightest and softest. It can easily be found in local hobby stores, lumber yards, and arts and crafts stores. The wood’s pale color makes it a great choice for carving. Because it’s also easy to work with, it’s often used in projects designed for wood carving for beginners. Below you’ll find a list of the most commonly used types of wood for wood carving.

You can use both powered and hand tools to carve mahogany without any worry because mahogany does not burn easily with power carving tools. Since it has medium density it is considered as a better option for woodcarvers who have intermediate to high expertise in wood carving. It does not cost so much and you can make cooking utensils like spoons or bowls, electric bases, guitars, wood art etc. using basswood. Though it has similarity in figure and grain patterns with black walnut it is softer compared to black walnut wood. Carving the wood along the grain makes the work faster, easier and comfortable. In case of softwood if you carve along the wood grain you will feel it like carving through butter.

woods for carving

You can often expect to pay prices that are double what you might pay for maple, cherry or oak. One of our favorite sub-niches in this space is hand-carved wooden spoons. While we don’t sell in this space we just love how well they photograph and sell in other’s shops. As we’ve mentioned before we run an Etsy shop that specializes in handmade, wooden kitchen items.

What Type Of Wood Carving Tools Are Best For Hardwood?

Any new carver can cut or shape detailed patterns without worrying about encountering knots and defects since they are quite uncommon with Basswood. Basswood is the perfect and favorite choice for wood carving or wood whittling projects. It has a very fine closed-grain texture without knots and does not splinter easily. Painting, staining, or polishing will not be a problem as well as using glues on it. The wood’s natural color is pale brown with faint tinges of white or red, and it is odorless. There is only a slight difference between the colors of the sapwood and heartwood.

If you want to begin with a hardwood, then see if you can acquire hardwood that’s green . Not to be Captain Obvious, but stay away from using pressure-treated wood and pallet-board wood. I’ve also been told that birch and alder are less fibrous and easier to carve for the beginner. I have made one spoon from alder and can say it’s very easy to work with. However, it did develop an unfixable crack after a few uses, so I had to discard it. So you should check something called the Janka Hardness Test if you want to know how soft or hard a wood really is.

How To Apply Beeswax To Wood

Walnut is a dense hardwood, and if you take a look at the Janka hardness rating, you’ll notice it’s over double that of Basswood. First, do NOT try to whittle with White Pine when it’s green. There’s a huge difference between working with a wood when it’s dried or when it’s fresh (e.g. green). You can learn more about this distinction in the section titled “Carving with Green vs. Dry Wood” below. Perhaps my favorite part of working with Cedar though, is that it smells AMAZING. If you’ve ever worked with Cedar, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

  • In terms of woodcarving, basswood is the Holy Grail for woodcarvers and by far the most popular wood used.
  • Additionally, if you plan on staining your final product, you’ll quickly realize that the softness of this wood makes it difficult to achieve an even coating of stain.
  • Basswood is considered the best type of wood to use for beginners.

This wood can be painted on, but several coats will be needed as it has the tendency to soak them all up. Expect a shorter life span and durability with this wood. While there is a wide variety of wood that is available in the market today, it is not difficult to choose the best possible option for your carving needs.

How To Choose Wood For Carving

That is why the basswood blocks are also the choice of many beginners in woodcarving. Wood carving is a specialized field of woodworking best woods for carving that involves crafting wood into different shapes by hand. It is an art that every woodworker may not be able to master.

woods for carving

You can cut a section of wood and then freeze it to help contain the moisture and greenness. If you carve a spoon out of some kind of very porous wood those pores might wind up on some of your edges. If so, those edges are going to be brittle and problematic, they’ll appear to have a rough texture. As a general rule, if the tree or shrub produces fruits or nuts, even non-edible ones, it’s generally going to be a good choice for carving. You’ll get to know some new people and you may find yourself flush with green wood without ever needing to cut anything from a living tree yourself. An orchard requires annual pruning, so they are excellent sources for fruit wood.

To really find a wood you prefer, use the same tool and pattern on each. Pay attention to how the wood feels in your hands and how much pressure you needed to create the desired effect. Mahogany wood’s reddish tones make it a great choice for artistic designs.

Starting out, I’d also recommend wood with straight grain and no knots. Ideally, you want the grain running the length of the spoon. There seems to be a lot of debate or discussion about wood toxicity. Yes, certain woods may be more toxic than others, but it seems uncertain what affect they have on the whole population. There doesn’t seem to be any hard line rules on what woods to use or not use for spoon carving. Newly cut wood is going to have a higher percentage of moisture content.

But I quickly realized that I couldn’t be further from the truth. Safety EquipmentAll beginner carvers should invest in a pair of safety goggles and cut resistant gloves. The gloves can protect you from an emergency room visit due to cutting your hands and fingers. Another tool that I would suggest is a 30-power jeweler’s loupe.

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