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Thread: Which Wood?

  1. #1

    Question Which Wood?

    Hey all. I have an idea for a project that is carved in the round. The wood would need to take a fair amount of detail and be rather sturdy as it may be handled often.

    It wouldn't need to have any color or figure, as that would not matter to the finished piece. I would consider material with light grain or color as bleaching might be a finishing option.

    I'm primarily concerned with strength. The piece would be indoors. I was considering holly, but I just don't know.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for taking the time.


  2. #2
    Maybe this is a stupid question? Sorry, I'm a complete noob. It's just that I've discovered that there are about a bazillion types of wood...

    I'm not even a carver yet, but this project has been a dream for so long. I know planning it is going to take forever.

  3. #3
    Not sure what you're making or how much handling it will receive but Cherry holds good detail, carves nicely and is quite strong. Bass is very light in color but again, not sure how strong it has to be or how strength is a factor in what you're planning but it too may work. Once sealed it may do OK.
    The Woodworking Studio

  4. #4
    check into Calif. Nutmeg, i stumbled across a pc. It is pale yellow,carves great and has little variation in color/tone.Since i picked it up by accident, i don't know a source...smells like nutmeg as you carve.Alder carves well. Rob

  5. Try butternut (also known as white walnut). Carves easily, fairly sturdy. It does however have fairly pronounced figure and color. But generally nice to work with.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Southeast MN
    If you've got the tools and patience, maple might be a good choice. In particular, silver maple has subtle grain, is strong, relatively inexpensive, and readily available. If the piece is large, though, I suggest using power tools due to the wood's toughness.

  7. #7
    Thanks so much for the suggestions. I found a supplier that has a woods list. Wow.
    I thought that I had an original idea. Turns out that it's been done. I've wanted to do it for so long I think I'll still have a go. A lifesized, anatomicaly correct human skeleton. I saw a carver online who does skulls of all types. Very well done.
    Phalanges, those'll take a while...

  8. #8
    Limewood is great to carve. It has a very 'obedient' (?) grain in that it doesn't alter mid stream. It holds the detail very well and as it's light in colour not only is it easy to see pencil lines it's also fine for staining; you can always darken timber but to make it lighter is more tricky.

    Live long and splinter!

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