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Drift Wood carving?

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  • Drift Wood carving?

    OK. so im new to this site.

    I was wondering if drift wood was a good wood to carve with.
    i would like to know if its good for carving spoons and other small things and also if i would need to dry it out first (whatever that means)

    im really new to carving wood but ive done it before.

  • #2
    Re: Drift Wood carving?

    I got some great Lake Superior drift wood, but, just tons of sand in the wood. I might try power carving it one day, but, not going to put my regular tools up against that sand! Can't brush or wash it out. Maybe a power wash? Hope yours doesn't have the sand problem.

    Jim B


    • #3
      Re: Drift Wood carving?

      i dont have the drift wood now....or the tools yet but i can go down the beach and get some drift wood.
      thats why i was wondering if drift wood is good to carve with, since i can just go get some.


      • #4
        Re: Drift Wood carving?

        Driftwood isn't a single type of wood (like basswood) some of it carves really well, some of it is terrible. Gather some pieces you like and play with them. Once you find out what works - cedar driftwood is my favorite, and pine can be neat too, then head back to the shores and collect what works for you. Some pieces will be dry enough to start working on right away, while others will have to season. Again you can figure out what fits where when you start working with it. Some pieces will appear dry to your eye/touch but will be soaked in the unexposed parts. What type of wood you have collected, how thick the piece is, how decayed/fresh the wood is, how heavy the piece is, will all determine if the piece you found needs to air/season. As there is no formula that I know of that will help you, only you can only figure out what you should be collecting, and how much drying it will need. Play with the wood.

        Have seen some stunning carvings done from driftwood, but I know that the carver went through much collecting, and trying what worked for him/her, to get that finished piece.

        Sand/grit can be a real problem. Power washing the piece when you first find it is what I have discovered works best. But on found driftwood burls even power washing doesn't always help.
        The wood you are finding has been dried/soaked/dried/resoaked etc.. Because it has been naturally seasoned it is often inconsistent: some parts will be harder/softer than others and this can make for a challenge when carving. Detail can be difficult/impossible to achieve.

        The wood is free, and you aren't cutting down anything living to get it. Root balls/roots & stumps can be stunning as each has a unique character. Any piece that just doesn't work out, can be returned to the shore to resume its natural decay.


        • #5
          Re: Drift Wood carving?

          I agree with zebra 100%!
          Keep On Carvin'
          Bob K.

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          • #6
            Re: Drift Wood carving?

            As zebra said, driftwood can be pretty much anything, just like any other type of found wood. In general, I'd say that it's good for carving, but it might not be good for carving what you want to carve. That is, if you want to carve a bear or a hillbilly or some other pattern that you designed or that you got from somebody else, it's likely that driftwood won't be the ideal type of wood to carve it from. Rather, people who carve driftwood tend "see a shape in the wood," and make cuts to "release" whatever they see.

            I know that sounds kind of mystical. It's not. The idea is that the piece of wood will remind them of something, and they'll work around that theme.

            At least, that's my take on it.


            • #7
              Re: Drift Wood carving?

              What everyone above said! Pressure washing is great!
              For me if it feels heavy, I drag it home. There's usually less rot(unless its waterlogged which will make it heavy). But being heavy usually means it's harder than heck.
              Driftwood is pretty much what I learned to carve at first with x-acto blades and a fairly cheap set of little gouges and chisels i bought at the hardware store. It was fine until they got dull and that's when I stabbed myself really bad a few times. Lessons learned!!!!
              Now I use burrs like kutzall and sabertooth in my dremel and flexable shaft unit to rough out and then put whatever detail I can't get with power tools with hand tools.
              Lighter weight wood is good too and easier to carve. I say go for it and carve driftwood!
              There's nothing like going to the beach and finding a little piece of wood and sitting in the sand and whittling.
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