||Types of Wood for Carving
Joined: May 28, 2005
From: The Lost Lagoon
|Posted: 2006-09-29 1:16 pm  Permalink|
Having searched through numerous threads trying to find info on various types of preferred wood for carving, I thought it would be nice to organize some information into a thread that could easily be referred to for new carvers and those looking for new challenges.
Please tell your experience with the type(s) of wood you use(d), avoid, recommend, Pros/Cons, carvability, insects, cracking, wet vs dry, etc..
Joined: Aug 30, 2006
From: Aotearoa (New Zealand)
|Posted: 2006-09-29 1:48 pm  Permalink|
Good idea Capt'n! There are those of us who would gladly gobble up this knowledge. Im sure it will save many people from making expensive and/or time consuming mistakes.
Thanks in advance woodies!! TTT
Joined: Jan 09, 2004
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
|Posted: 2006-09-29 2:35 pm  Permalink|
Boy, that's a Big Question as there is so much info to be had.
HERE is a link to a site where you can find pictures of Hundreds of wood types and Some of them have added info too.
The list is extensive and doesn't show much in the way of carvability.
Just in the Palm catagory are Many types and they all carve differently and some are Uncarvable.
I have carved a couple types of Coconut (there are Many) and they generally are fairly Hard compared to others. Coconut will hold fairly Fine detail unlike most palms. The center meat is some stringy but generally it is good all the way through and finishes very well.
Sabal, or Cabbage
palm is excellent carving though more stringy than coco and it is very soft and will not hold the detail as coco. Also it is very splintery and you will get splinters in your hands for Sure.
is Very similar to sabal but I think a bit better and firmer. It finishes well with detail like sabal.
Joined: Jan 13, 2006
From: las vegas
|Posted: 2006-09-29 2:50 pm  Permalink|
don't carve purple heart.
that is all.
Joined: Apr 06, 2006
From: San Diego
|Posted: 2006-09-29 2:53 pm  Permalink|
Or sand or grind real Brazilian Rosewood. If you do wear a mask and clean up very well the oils in the dust are toxic.
Grand Member (8 years)
Joined: Jan 19, 2006
From: Arlingtron Virginia
|Posted: 2006-09-29 9:21 pm  Permalink|
Here's a cool link for identifying exotic woods.
Joined: May 28, 2005
From: The Lost Lagoon
|Posted: 2006-10-04 08:54 am  Permalink|
Here's a little info I found about some Northern/Midwestern varieties:
Catalpa or Cigar Tree- A little harder than basswood, lightweight, easier to carve. Doesn't split when drying and can be carved wet (as soon as it's cut). Is a fast growing tree and has larger areas between rings. Very resistant to rotting. Cigar Store Indians were carved out of it frequently and Farmers used it for fence posts. Larger trees can have hollow stumps. Not good firewood- Pops when burned.
Cottonwood- Also doesn't Split when drying.
Red Cedar- Red and blonde variation of color- Resists splitting when drying.
Oak- Harder wood to carve, dense and heavy. Holds fine details and lasts for ages. Logs generally splits when drying (1 big crack from center)
Mahogany- Logs generally split when drying (1 big crack from center)
Joined: Sep 27, 2004
From: So FL
|Posted: 2006-10-04 10:47 am  Permalink|
Here are my 2 cents:
Baswood - Perhaps the best for beginners and practice - soft and easy to manipulate - finishes excellent.
Mahagony - Excellent for carving - firm and holds good detail
Cherry - my favorite for carving!! - finishes nicely
Cocbolo - excelent wood for advanced carvers - hard wood but bee-u-tee-ful - skin reactions are common
Paduak - excelent wood for advanced carvers - fantastic reddish color - skin reactions are common
Zebrawood - Not so good for carving - the grain makes this wood scetchy, soft and hard - worth the aggrevation
Ficus - Hard wood with a smotth grain - finishes nicely
Ebony - almost as hard as bone - but oooooooooo black!!!
Purpleheart - hard with a stingy grain - purple and purty!!!! - skin reactions are common
Oak - Hard and holds great detail - good wood to use power tools with
Lacewood - very difficult to carve - has a cool looking grain
Palms - Coconut, Chinese Fan, Sabal are good - Queen and Royal are bad
A lot of my experience with the exotic woods has come from using these on a lathe and carving.
Joined: Aug 22, 2004
From: Sunny Florida
|Posted: 2006-10-04 10:56 am  Permalink|
I recently ran into some palm within my huge stash that when I get near the center, it is literally powder. By that I mean it holds a shape, but, is very vulnerable until it is sealed.
Where does one get large Basswood?
Joined: May 11, 2004
|Posted: 2006-10-04 3:21 pm  Permalink|
I'm curious about the difference between large and small carvings. Would a wood that is great for carving huge tikis, like say... basswood, also be good for carving pendant sized tikis?
Please visit my new website, Leeward Lounge Ukuleles
Joined: Feb 10, 2008
|Posted: 2008-02-13 7:21 pm  Permalink|
Can anyone offer some advice on where to track down wood for doing larger tiki carvings (3-8 ft tall for example). Are there companies that ship? Any help is appreciated. By the way I live in Colorado.
Grand Member (2 years)
Joined: Feb 13, 2007
From: Atlantis/Basque Country/Spain/Mexico
|Posted: 2010-07-28 2:18 pm  Permalink|
What about toromiro wood? Has anyone tried it? Regional tree of Easter Island.
íViva Tiki! Ambassador of Tiki in Mexico. Zeta is specialized in the research, study and preservation of Tiki culture in Latin countries.
Joined: Dec 09, 2008
From: Reading, PA
|Posted: 2010-07-30 1:05 pm  Permalink|
How about poplar? does anyone have any experience with it? I have two 6 foot logs of poplar. I am carving it now. It seems ok but I have noticed that NO ONE has mentioned it. Should it be avoided?
Joined: Jul 07, 2002
From: Neskowin, OR
|Posted: 2010-08-07 03:05 am  Permalink|
In order to keep from chipping and cracking a carving it is important to keep cedar wet while working on a project. This is probably true for many woods. Consider keeping a carving project on saw horses and wetting the wood with a spray bottle. Then, between carving sessions, keep the wood covered with visqueen or some kind of plastic tarp.
Joined: Jun 11, 2004
From: canyon lake ca
|Posted: 2010-08-10 8:48 pm  Permalink|
Cool topic! For the large chainsaw carvings I think the mexican fan or washingtonia is a great choice especially for outdoors. If you are real lucky and score a guadalupe palm you are in business! Hammock bound If you ever cruise to so cal let me know, I have a nice supply of fan palm trunks I could hook you up with! I dont know about carving with easter island wood, didnt that race wipe themselves from this earth for messing with those trees? Benzart is the man on the finer woods, I just work with palms! Tiki Stan....