Introduction to Carving Woods
Which is the Best Wood to Carve
There are a number of woods for carving, and a number that are not. There are a handful of popular types to carve, and a number that will give you a specific look. Learning which is best for different carving will increase the quality of your finished piece. The most common woods used for carving are Basswood and Tupelo. Both hardwoods, and easy to carver. Oak, Mahogany, Walnut Pine and Maple are often used depending on the variety and what is locally available.
While I carve many different types of woods, carving cedar has been one of the things I have become most known for. I carve a lot of cedar for several reasons.
I get a lot of requests for information on wood. Carvers want to know about what kind of to buy to carve, why does it make a good caving wood and how to select it. I will attempt to answer those questions and more in this section. I will start off with some "good to know" information followed by a discussion of different kinds of wood. I am starting with basswood and will add other woods as time permits. So, check back from time to time and see what I have added.
Cottonwood bark comes from the cottonwood tree. The cottonwood is part of the willow family. They are very fond of river bottoms and do very well in flood zones. The tree can absorb a lot of water and it is my understanding that it is very fibrous. It can be used for pallets and pulp but does not have many other uses.
Some woods that may be carved, most of these I have carved and found acceptable. Which is best depends on its intended use.
In my previous posting, I began discussing woods that a woodcarver might use. I had stated that any wood can be carved and in fact, I enjoy trying new and different woods as they are introduced to me. My friends are always offering me a piece of wood to try. Carving friends are a good and challenging influence in that regard.
If you have a choice of when you are going to harvest your wood, I suggest late fall or early winter right after the sap has fallen and hopefully before the snow has fallen. That way, the moisture in the wood will be reduced making the curing time shorter and helping reduce the risk of checks or splits. And, the coming winter will be a good environment to begin the curing process.
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