Byington Blades

Wood Carving

soft wood for carving (4)

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Spoon Carving Tips

Working with Wood

Alder wood is the most popular wood choice offered by Wilding Wallbeds. People tend to love alder because of its consistent tone, less prominent grain and lack of knots. It could be referred to as a chameleon wood because of its acceptance of stain it can be made to look like many other woods, but for less money.

As a general rule, the wood you use should be somewhat soft. These are soft woods, which makes them easy to carve, but basswood has a fine grain, butternut has a coarse grain, and white pine has a medium grain. Basswood is best for whittling, but you can use butternut and white pine for nearly any carving technique. It is typically light to medium brown but there can be quite a variation in colour. Oak has been used through the centuries for construction, cabinet work, flooring, historical carvings and so on.

Do your finishing cuts when it is dry – that is easy to tell by its sound when rapped on another piece of wood. Do remember to thoroughly dry your knives after carving wet wood. When you’re carving you’re working with the fibres in the wood. Life is much easier when the grain is straight and free from knots. Look for a straight branch or log, with smooth outer bark and minimal knots or side branches.

Ash woods that comes from the deciduous species of the tree are particularly hard, in fact they are even harder than oak, but they are less resistant to moisture. Believe it or not, but the wood from this tree is so hard that it is even used to make baseball bats. Within the ash tree, there are two distinct colourings; there is the sapwood that is almost white and then the heartwood that ranges in colour from a warm beige colour to a dark brown.

Natural Engineered Oak UV Lacquered 14/3mm By 190mm By 1900mm

Whittling it with a knife or carving is very easy, and butternut is typically used by professionals because of its visible grains adding beauty to projects. Easy to work with and for any type of project, butternut is a great wood for beginners. Wood carving requires malleable but sturdy woods for different types of wood carving, such as relief carving, whittling, carving in the round, and chip carving.

As with any new hobby, cost is usually considered to ensure it is something that you can afford to take on. Fortunately, woodworking can come in many different forms.

Although many people start their journey driven by price, they soon realise that there’s much more to it than that. Alder wood is a hard wood, less dense than oak or maple, but still very durable. If you aren’t familiar with alder, then you may be familiar with birch wood. Alder is grown on the west coast, and birch is grown in the east, but they are both from the same birch family. Oak has a beautifully distinctive amount of grain that truly sets it apart from other woods.

It also boasts a beautifully stark grain and a rich color that adds attractiveness to your work. White oak has close pores and is widely used for crafting barrels in which to ferment whiskey or wine. Because it is so hard, it is one of the more difficult woods to use for relief carving.

  • These allow you to design patterns and artwork on a computer.
  • This type of work includes burning images or designs into wood similar to someone drawing on paper with a pencil.
  • Mahogany is used in many decorative settings because of the popularity and elegance of the wood.
  • I built my own CNC machine a couple years ago and I loved working with it.
  • Whittling, however, can be difficult as it is a hard wood.
  • The water applied on the outside, and the water migrating from the inside will usually swell the wood and close the crack.

Alder is very easy to work with and is less prone to blowouts or chipping. Alder, like oak, is readily available and priced at the lower end of the pricing scale.

General Wood Information

It is a good idea to remove the plastic bag every day for a short period, then replace it over the piece. I have had black walnut that was stored in a barn, out of any weather, for more than 20 years. When nearly done carving just set it in a shaded indoor spot to slowly lose its moisture.

soft wood for carving

As far as the equipment needed to being turning, the cost won’t hurt too bad. An entry level table top lathe can be found for $150. If you are looking for something bigger to put in a garage, then the costs will go up to several hundred to several thousands of dollars. You can find a buyer’s guide that I wrote for buying a wood lathe here. Pyrography – Another low cost of startup option in woodworking is pyrography, also known as wood burning.

With that in mind, mahogany is also used in traditional settings allowing the grain to compliment the intricacy of the craftsmanship [4]. Mahogany is generally priced similarly to cherry wood. Maple wood is often used in the construction of hardwood furniture, bowling pins, bowling alley lanes, pool cue shafts, butchers blocks, and in rare occasions, baseball bats. Maple is used for these things because of the extreme density of the wood, and the tightness of the grain. Maple is durable, heavy and less prone to dent with common use.

Hardwood is a commodity, so it is priced based on it availability. Right now oak is readily available because of the amount of oak trees planted on plantations 70 years ago. The availability allows Wilding Wallbeds to offer this beautiful traditional wood as their most economical option. If you are interested in trying wood carving, take a look my article geared towards a beginner getting started. In a separate article, I list all the tools you need to get started.

This will help in allowing people just starting out to participate in the new-found hobby without a large investment. Below we will cover a few different options to help you get started in your new hobby. Cracking, where to buy wood for carving and its prevention, is all about controlling moisture loss and the distribution of moisture in the wood. With this knowledge, you can now use all of the wood that you have accumulated, and have been waiting to use.

soft wood for carving

At the end of each carving session, the work-in-progress should be sprayed lightly and covered with a plastic bag. The water in the wood will always seek a balance of even distribution. Enclosing the carving in a bag gives moisture deep inside the wood time to migrate toward the drier outside.