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  • Basswood

    I have a hobby farm with about 60 acres of timber. Among the timber is a bit of Basswood. I've purchased a bit of it in the past and carved a bit in Basswood and frankly, it's expensive to purchase blanks of the stuff. I've considered cutting a log for years and having it milled, but have never gotten around to it. I'm interested in learning to carve (I've done a few things, but believe me, I have a long way to go), but I also have tons of other time consuming hobbies, so I don't really see the need to stockpile dozens upon dozens of carving blocks.

    Purely hypothetically speaking, if I were to cut a decent sized log and to get it milled (I have a friend with a bandsaw mill), would there be someone that might be interested in picking up a large amount of the milled lumber for sale or trade? I live in extreme northcentral Pennsylvania. I occasionally travel, so western PA, southcentral PA or western/central NY might be possible for me to meet someone under the right circumstance.

    My buddy has talked about building a kiln, but for the time being, if I do this, the wood will have to air dry. I'll sticker and store it until I find someone interested in purchasing or trading for most of the wood. Again, IF I do this, I'd accept a reasonable cash offer for a fairly large supply of wood or I'd be willing to trade for something interesting, notably tools that I could use in my shop. If someone were nearby and really interested in doing this, I'd even allow that person to come look at a couple of logs on the stump and decide what would work best for them. Given that Basswood isn't really a mast tree or valuable hardwood lumber, I don't pay a ton of attention to it, but I'm pretty sure I can find several logs that are in the 15-25" DBH (diameter at breast height) range, which would obviously provide a lot of carving wood if it was reasonably clear and free of rot, etc..

    Like I said, this is purely hypothetical at this point in time and I'm just throwing it out there and basically thinking out loud.

  • #2
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    • #3
      Hypothetically, As much as I would love a big pile of basswood, living in Nebraska not even hypothetically going to happen. I would suggest you contact carving clubs in your area to see if there is an interest. This site list carving clubs by state.

      https://woodburning.com/pages/carving-clubs
      Ed
      Living in a pile of chips.
      https://www.etsy.com/shop/HiddenInWood
      https://m.facebook.com/pg/CentralNeb...ernal&mt_nav=0

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      • #4
        I'll check it out Ed. I live in a pretty rural area, so I'm guessing the closest carving club is probably at least 2 hours away, but I'd presume the right person would gladly drive 2 hours to get their hands on a large supply of low cost Basswood. By the way Ed, I checked out your Etsy page and like the carvings. If you were more local, I'd definitely trade some raw material for one of the fly fishing carvings. Very cool.

        Yep, just checked it out and there are clubs that are 2 hours away in Bellefonte, PA, Williamsport, PA and in Rochester, NY. When/if I get around to this, I'll contact someone at each.
        Last edited by Bill Ragosta; 01-17-2021, 12:26 PM.

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        • #5
          And, as an aside, I'm actually trading a curly maple gunstock blank for a 15"X8' Butternut log in the very near future and my friend's going to mill it for me as well. Depending on how it looks, I may mill most of it to 5/4" for a barrister bookcase project I've been planning, but I may also cut a muzzleloader gunstock blank out of that and may also cut some to 12/4" or 16/4" and use it for carving blanks as well.

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          • #6
            Because I frequently go to Colorado I carve a lot of aspen. Good luck with the wood.
            85AFCC47-6F6E-4FD4-AD5C-B9AD052000FA.jpeg 7587ECCF-5824-4C4C-9759-0B0281136E5A.jpeg 53E97065-B072-46E3-B597-05F1A878BECF.jpeg
            Ed
            Living in a pile of chips.
            https://www.etsy.com/shop/HiddenInWood
            https://m.facebook.com/pg/CentralNeb...ernal&mt_nav=0

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            • #7
              I have Aspen here on the farm as well, although I suspect it's a different sub-species than most of what's in Colorado. Maybe not, I'm not sure.

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              • #8
                Bill - Many experienced carvers have discovered the subtle differences between southern and northern basswood, and are willing to pay for the difference. They consider the ring count, ring orientation, moisture content, etc. I have carved basswood from my son who. until recently, lived in western PA. It was okay, perhaps a little coarser than other samples.
                In 2007 I attended an annual Northeast Woodcarvers Roundup in Pennsylvania. They were planning for their 18th year event this September, but have had to cancel due to the pandemic. You might contact them about your wood proposal:

                Northeast Woodcarvers Roundup - Cherry Ridge Carvers

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                • #9
                  Thanks. I presume that I could probably air dry (or kiln dry if appropriate) a large supply and attend one of these events and probably sell out if the price was right. For me, I'm not really trying to make money on the operation, I'd just like to put back a small supply for myself and possibly trade or sell a large supply to someone else for a mutually good deal. That event is a couple of hours east of me and I could attend or deliver if they have the event this summer/fall. Thanks again for the heads up.

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                  • #10
                    You may find a club nere you here https://www.lancarvers.com/links . If you have not seen the "how to" information here yet at the top of this page there is a dark strip, click on the Woodcarvingillustated.com, it will take you to their home page. Click on "How To" There is information on tools, power and hand tools. Click on Pattern & Projects and there are several pages of tutorials and some videos.
                    We live in the land of the free because of the brave!

                    https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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                    • #11
                      Thanks very much. I'm going to spend some time looking at all this stuff tomorrow.

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                      • #12
                        I'd contact some saw mills and see what they would pay for the logs, and add some some slices for myself.
                        Bill
                        Living among knives and fire.

                        http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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                        • #13
                          I really don't think any of the sawmills around here would even want them and they certainly wouldn't pay much. Basswood is actually relatively common where I'm at and doesn't bring much money on a timber sale.

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                          • #14
                            I was just in Missouri and got a log of what the locals call Linden. The plan is to dip each end in paraffin wax and let the pieces dry out for a year. Living in Colorado, it shouldn't be much of an issue getting the pieces dried out. I've done the same thing with Aspen and the result is wood that is dry and crack free.

                            Good Luck!

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                            • #15
                              Stevee: even old house paint is a good enough sealer on log ends.
                              Don't cook this. I know you guys in CO have fairly low humidity so expect
                              the wood to dry 1" thickness per year (outdoors, under cover, not cooked in a shed.)

                              If anything, can you run a single chainsaw cut down the worst side of the log,
                              all the way in to the core? Most totem poles here in the PacNW are hollowed out
                              on the back/unseen side to reduce cracking as the log dries.

                              I did that with salvaged willow logs, worked like a dream except I can't remember what
                              I was going to carve from them.
                              Brian T

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