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Acceptable moisture content range for Basswood?

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  • Acceptable moisture content range for Basswood?

    What would be the acceptable moisture content range for carving Basswood?

    Thanks, guys (and gals)

  • #2
    i have alwaysheard 6 per cent 16 per cent for firewood seems a bit low though i bet google will tell ya

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    • #3
      The Equilibrium Moisture Content will vary, depending on the climate where you live.
      Air dried, outdoors under cover, stacked and stickered if need be, you can expect the EMC to be around 12% to 14%.
      That takes about 1" per year to establish. So, drying from all sides, I'd expect a 4"x4" to sit at the EMC in 2-3 years.

      This isn't an invention of Professor Google.

      Once a year, weigh the piece(s) and write it down. When you get a constant weight = you're done.
      Unless woods are very badly kiln dried or oven dried, the EMC should have less effect on carvability tha=
      reaction wood in cheap cuts and branches. That's tension wood in Tilia.
      Brian T

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
        The Equilibrium Moisture Content will vary, depending on the climate where you live.
        Air dried, outdoors under cover, stacked and stickered if need be, you can expect the EMC to be around 12% to 14%.
        That takes about 1" per year to establish. So, drying from all sides, I'd expect a 4"x4" to sit at the EMC in 2-3 years.

        This isn't an invention of Professor Google.

        Once a year, weigh the piece(s) and write it down. When you get a constant weight = you're done.
        Unless woods are very badly kiln dried or oven dried, the EMC should have less effect on carvability tha=
        reaction wood in cheap cuts and branches. That's tension wood in Tilia.


        Thanks for your response.

        I'm expecting a delivery of Basswood from Heinecke any day now. I'm going to check the MC with a moisture meter. Once I have that established, I can compare it to some 7 year old Basswood that's dried out (indoors). I'd like to bring the MC of the dried out Basswood to that of the arriving Basswood, but to leave it outdoors in hot and humid south Florida, would only invite mold/mildew, especially if covered. Suggestions?
        Last edited by Mike Ross; 09-05-2018, 03:42 PM.

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        • #5
          I don't carve basswood. In all the years that I've know of Heineke, I have never read a single negative regarding their wood.
          I have a sneaking suspicion that their understanding of the details of wood anatomy is very, very good.

          Drying cannot be exactly reversed. Once the water molecules are lost, some cell wall components touch and stick together and you can't pull them apart.
          So the wood goes harder than you expect. Do a better job of "carving sharp" tool edges to anticipate harder woods.
          I don't mean that sarcastically. It's about the only suggestion that I have.

          Divided into groups, my carving edges have different total included bevel angles. Has nothing to do with any of the woods.
          Spoke shaves 28*, drawknife and adzes 25*, conventional gouges 20*, straight and crooked knives 12*

          I'm fortunate in that western red cedar does not change in carving texture much between fresh and then very dry.
          I just stick an edge into it and find out soon enough how fast it will split and splinter!
          Yellow cedar is a little tighter and birch is very forgiving.

          I don't own a moisture meter and pay no attention to EMC in the posts and blocks that I buy straight from the mill.
          The stuff gets stacked in piles, indoors and out. If I ever finish what all is on the bench, I'll pick out something new!

          House humidity. Yours is going to be far higher, indoors all year long, than mine ever will be.
          Our RH goes so low that wood movement will damage fine musical instruments.
          You can probably get away with indoor storage. I should keep all my wood outdoors but I don't.
          Pawing through a frozen, snow covered wood pile in semi darkness at 20 below is not a treat.
          Plus, that pile keeps the dog houses from blowing away in the winter storms.
          Last edited by Robson Valley; 09-05-2018, 04:17 PM. Reason: Hum a ditty about humidity
          Brian T

          Comment


          • #6
            I've not read anything negative about Heinecke either. From all that I've gleaned on the forum, they're the numero uno Basswood source.

            The shipping fee to south Florida is more expensive than the price of the wood. $16 of wood costs $18 to ship. It's a shame that Palm trees aren't noted to be easily carved.

            Oh well.

            Best2u,
            Mike

            Comment


            • #7
              There's a difference in mechanical properties between northern (Heineke) and southern basswood. Your bottom line is paying for that superior quality.
              There must be other and local tree species that you could use? Some carve cypress knees, etc.

              Wood is cheap for me here, being so close to the mills. Just drive around with a wad of $5.00 bills in my pocket!
              There's an alternative school for native indian kids, they get good carving instruction.
              Cedar blocks are 24" x 12" x 8" so it's easy to toss a bunch their way from time to time.
              One of the city high schools now has a carving shed for poles!
              Brian T

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              • #8
                i just got quite a bit of basswood, that had been air dried ,in a barn loft , for about 22 years. i am doing a couple of the relief carvings on them, and i am happy with how well the cuts are to make.
                i heard one guy at the club say that the northern basswood fares better for carving than deep south, because of the growth rate of the tree. seems ours up here grow more slowly, difference in the ring spacing? but, i have never had the opportunity to carve on some decent fresh kiln dried either so i really cant compare that part of it. all the basswood i play with though is from here, northern wisconsin.
                Denny

                photos at........ http://wiscoden.jimdo.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think that ring count makes a big difference in quality if you were buying conifer wood for carving. Not as much in the hardwoods.
                  It has to do with the density of the first formed "early" wood when compared to the "late" wood at the end of the growing season.
                  Cedars, pines, spruces and so on, 15 rings per inch is the minimum. 20-40 is m=nice to carve. 50+ is boney but OK.
                  I have seen perfect cedar = absolutely straight grained and 6 rings per inch. Not on your life. Fence board, maybe.

                  Is it easy to see growth rings in basswood? Looks so smooth and uniform, year after year, to me.
                  My hardwood experience is pretty much limited to birch which is like basswood in that the growth rings are hard to see at all.
                  Brian T

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                  • #10
                    im just sayin' , some folks say when basswood gets "old" that it is much tougher to carve. I do not see that with the basswood i am using, 22 years in a loft , and it still carves very easily. my other stash is about 20 years old also and i am not having any complaints about those. if these are tough due to age i cannot imagine how nice fresh stuff must be.
                    Denny

                    photos at........ http://wiscoden.jimdo.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by drhandrich View Post
                      im just sayin' , some folks say when basswood gets "old" that it is much tougher to carve. I do not see that with the basswood i am using, 22 years in a loft , and it still carves very easily. my other stash is about 20 years old also and i am not having any complaints about those. if these are tough due to age i cannot imagine how nice fresh stuff must be.
                      Were they in an air conditioned environment? That could make all the difference, I'd imagine.

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