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  • Green Basswood

    I have recently come into a great cache of green basswood. I have a lot of experience using green wood and drying turnings from green wood successfully.

    When carving green basswood, do you keep it in the chips from the carving in a box or bag to prevent it drying out and cracking between carving sessions too?

  • #2
    I use this process although I know others use other kinds of methods so far this works for me. It is noted I live in high humidity tropical area....so you may want to do more? So..... During the carving process, some water will always evaporate. Using a spray bottle periodically to dampen the piece will inhibit rapid moisture loss. 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. If progress is going to be delayed for a lengthy period, you can also coat the piece with a light oil, even mineral oil will do. Long delays are not a problem; however, wood enclosed too long may grow mold. This has happen to me......so ... It is a good idea to remove the plastic bag every day for a short period, then replace it over the piece.

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    • #3
      great advice. I tried it with birch but it got spalted (typical for birch?). The mistake was to let it in a closed bag for to long I think without opening it every day like you suggest.Now I keep some willow in a bucket with water to keep it green and I experiment with willow in the freezer (my wife let me use 1/20 of the freezer, NOT MORE!).
      Jos
      Belgium

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      • #4
        I always use a paper bag or a cardboard box so things can breath, but they too have to be checked for mold. dumping the shavings out of the box every once and a while depending on temperature and moisture and then replacing the piece and the same shavings in the box is a good idea.

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        • #5
          Birch sap has a fairly high sugar content (birch sap syrup produced here) so the wet wood goes moldy very fast.
          Willow is no where near as bad.

          No ideas about fresh basswood but it would be worth a bunch of experiments since you have lots of it.

          The Pacific Northwest native carving community uses a lot of alder specifically for masks.
          Much of that gets kept under water with a rock between carving sessions.
          I lost(?) maybe 40' x 6" alder in pieces before I knew anything about that.

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          • #6
            I've used microwaves and all sorts of things while turning green wood some time ago. Closed paper bag in chips seems to be best. However it can began to color with growth. HOWEVER think of this and maybe try it. Put in a couple of Moth Balls. It might be good enough GAS in a semi-closed bag (like closed paper) to keep growth back. Martin

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