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Stick with Heineke wood!

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  • Stick with Heineke wood!

    A while back, my wife and I were in the Kansas City, Kansas area, and I always have to make a trip to the WoodCraft store! While I was there, I happened to pick up a chunk of basswood that was 3"x12"X18".

    I noticed it was a bit darker than usual, but when I started cutting it up for ornaments, I noticed the grain looked like curly maple or for the lack of a better term, had a 'fiddleback' grain. I am glad I am finally at the end of the chunk, and FINALLY figured out what happened. It has been maddening to try and carve is a bit harder than good Heineke stock, but the grain is way goofy. I can be carving one way and it carves nice, and 1/2" either way, the grain switches!

    We were in an antique shop this weekend and it hit me after looking at some nice mission style furniture. I believe that basswood chunk came from stock that had been quarter-sawn. It has the same grain pattern as really nice quarter-sawn oak!

    I have plenty of Heineke wood now, so while I will still hit WoodCraft when I can, I will definitely not be buying any 'carving' wood there!

  • #2
    I got some curly bass in a lot I bought- used it for knife handles. Night mare for carving, like you say. Makes a nice light handle, and the curl is pretty.


    • #3
      Heineke wood is the way to go if you use bass wood.


      • #4
        Although Woodcraft is a great supply store, it not a place where I would purchase my basswood. Heinecke is the only place to go for top quality Northern basswood.
        Keep On Carvin'
        Bob K.

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        • #5
          Curly wood on the most part has to be carved with super sharp chisels....and most often with power tools. I just got some curly camphor, it is wet so carving is ok until it drys it will be super hard to cut.... as the grain pattern can be all over the place. The exotics here can be major curly at times so I get a lot of it. Koa is curly but no one can buy it ...unless they have old stock. Basswood in my book is not worth the extra work to carve it curly..... on note I do buy all my basswood from the mainland Heinecke and they ship it to the islands. Got an expensive piece once from woodcraft and will not do that one again, bad stock.


          • #6
            This reads like you buy mainstem wood from Heineke and branch wood from everybody else.
            The reaction wood ( tension wood ) will add a challenge to your carving.
            But what if you carved birch? Harder than any basswood and a dream for fine details like alder.

            I was gifted a 50+ yr old slab from a western red cedar burl.
            My one and only experience with curly grain.
            So dry, I did a lot of the carving with wood rasps.
            Brian T