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Wood Whittling 101

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Step 2: Wood

So once you have your tools, you'll need something to carve. There are tons of different kinds of wood and they all carve differently. My recommendation (and the wood that I learned how to carve with) is basswood. It's cheap and you should be able to find it locally. The grain is small and the wood is soft.

However, it isn't crucial that you even know what kind of wood you have, so don't worry. Use what you have– that's part of the fun of carving wood.

Make sure the wood is dry; you'll have more control over it. Carving with wet wood adds a level of unpredictability, since as it dries it tends to warp and crack.
 
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"It's cheap and you should be able to find it locally".

You know this internet thing is global, right? Could you possibly explain what properties of basswood make it good for carving and suggest alternatives?

don't know about basswood but when I was into carving Lime was the wood to have. Very even and fine grain and also relatively soft to cut, but hard enough to wear well. Guy in our joinery had an epic eagle he'd carved from an old lump of lime. This is wittling (whitling? sp?) though so it may be different. We carved with fine chisels and gouges.

As for dry wood is best, I know wet wood will warp and crack as it dries but wood is just sooo easy to work when its green off the tree. Totally different though, I agree.
Lime is the same as linden and basswood, so you are talking about the same wood, although the exact species might be different. All three are names for various trees of the Tilia genus. Check out Tilia on Wikipedia if you want to know more.
 Now I'm curious. I'm no expert but I've done some carving and some projects, especially those that call for carving initially with an axe (my favorite part) call for using green wood.

Maybe it's just to make the initial rough work easier?
When he says find it locally he means at a nearby hardware store, not youre backyard
SwanRonson2 years ago
Good Information regarding the Basswood. I found it locally and it's a pleasure to work with
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