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  • Diamond Willow

    I have heard that diamond willow is great to carve. Have any of you ever carved it? If so is it better to carve it wet or leave it to dry first. Also does anyone know of a source of diamond willow blanks preferably in Canada as shipping across the boarder can be quite costly. Even if you know a good supplier in the US I am still interested.Thanks

    Colin
    http://www.geocities.com/partridge_ch
    Jim - The Doing is as much fun as the Viewing!
    Jackson, MS

  • #2
    Re: Diamond Willow

    Colin, depending on what part of Canada you are in, you might be able to find your own, if you have friends with property in damp, open, lightly wooded areas.  It grows pretty much all across the border area with the US up as far Hudson's Bay.  Check with your local highway authorities if you find it along right-of-ways. You'll find it regularly interspersed with tag alders.  Quite often they will allow you to cut it, as it is invasive on ROW's, and they have to remove it anyway. Local logging operations may also be willing to let you cut.  There are a lot of options around that can save you some money, and part of the charm of DW carving is getting out in the woods and finding the 'best' sticks to work on.

    Asking a forester for Beb Willow, may get you the answers you need, as this is the 'official' name.  If you don't know what it looks like, it grows in vase shaped clumps, like a bunch of flowers placed in a vase.  Quite often there are a lot of dead and broken branches, as this is not a particularly healthy type of tree.  You also have to watch for insect larvae infestations.  Just peel a strip of bark and you can tell pretty easy if they are there.  You may also spot their exit holes in the bark.

    My friends that carve it a lot,say that the best time to get it is in the spring because the bark comes off more easily then. I've got some from over this winter that seems to peel easy enough, but it doesn't come off in strips as well as the spring cut wood.  Most folks I know peel it right away, then park it in the rafters for about 3-6 months to dry before carving.  Ends can be sealed with wax or left plain; small sticks don't seem, to check too badly.

    Just as a matter of 'nice to know' information,the diamond patterns are caused by fungal infections due to the areas that it grows in.  Youll also find a lot of moss or lichen growing on the bark, which doesn't affect the wood, but makes a mess when carving the bark off :P :P :P .

    There are quite few suppliers around; just runa search for diamond willow or wood carving supplies.  I'd still recomend a 'diamond hunt' if you've got the time and can get around OK.

    Al

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    • #3
      Re: Diamond Willow

      Colin
      Try this site http://www.itascawoodproducts.com/willow.html
      Cheers
      Ric

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      • #4
        Re: Diamond Willow

        Check out www.engr.usask.ca/~reg772/
        You'll find a bunch more info. on the topic if you type in diamond willow on google. 8)

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        • #5
          Re: Diamond Willow

          if you do have to ship from the U.S. try this:

          Krantz Wood Sales
          16748 Stanford Street
          Forest Lake, MN. 55025
          651-464-5632 (evenings)


          carving and specialty woods
          *basswood
          *butternut
          *walking sticks
          *laminated panels
          *ovals and rounds
          *bark on boards

          I picked up a lot of basswood and a few walking sticks from them when they were at the carving show in town. the wood is cut in the winter when the sap is down and then they kiln dry at a very low temp for an extended period of time, unlike a lot of other suppliers who kiln dry it as fast as they can. it is very nice to carve. the walking sticks are green with the bark on. I think the ones i bought were around 1 to 2 inches diameter for 3.50 to $5.50 depending on the length. havn't carved them yet, wont be dry until june or july, but they all have about 20 diamonds on them

          PaPa

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          • #6
            Re: Diamond Willow

            Another good U.S. source is Gene Bremmer
            http://diamondwillowwood.tripod.com/

            Good whittlin, Cliff
            Charles City, Iowa
            http://cliffordparker.tripod.com

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            • #7
              Re: Diamond Willow

              Thanks a million for all the information on diamond willow I love this notice board, boy if you want info on anything you people are sure helpfull. I cant wait until spring to go out and look for this diamond willow. I agree it will be very rewarding looking for that special piece. Again thank you again for the responses I will also be ordering some on line there are some great prices for the blanks.
              Colin
              Jim - The Doing is as much fun as the Viewing!
              Jackson, MS

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              • #8
                Re: Diamond Willow

                I haven't carved any Diamond Willow, but I have carved Willow from Willow Trees. I have no idea how close to each other these woods are, but Willow is beautiful to carve...can be carved green and doesn't crack when it's drying. I grab any willow branches I can get my hands on.

                Teri

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                • #9
                  Re: Diamond Willow

                  I was given a piece and carved a series of yawning woodspirits in it. The diamonds made the mouths. It was years ago, but it is still in my basement keeping me company. I will get some pics of itand post it later tonight. I found to carve almost like Holly.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Diamond Willow

                    Sounds like a neat idea, can't wait to see some pics!

                    Al

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                    • #11
                      Re: Diamond Willow

                      Last fall when I was out hunting I found a patch of diamond willow with extra large trunks and huge diamonds. I plan on cutting out the diamonds and carving them into nut bowls. The colors in the wood are exceptional. From what I've read it's fairly rare to get ahold of such large pieces.
                      Besides using the willow for hiking sticks and such, a cross section of a larger piece makes a nice base for mounting other carvings because of the color and also the irregular shapes. On smaller branches I've carved wood spirits and made them into key rings.
                      You will find that the hardness of diamond willow varies even in the same piece, but it's beautiful wood, fun to carve and no two pieces are alike.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Diamond Willow

                        Bandaid, you're very lucky! I just got done peeling what I thought was a great piece of DW and it turned out to be a nice WILLOW stick! One or two diamonds, and in the wrong places. I'll make it work, though, as I won't waste any wood that I cut. I can see a good woodspirit in this one; one with an evil twist!!!

                        Later next week, I think I'll head out to the woods again, before all the snow is gone, and hunt up a few more sticks. Found some nice Ironwood sticks (hophornbeam) and started them yesterday; now to dry them for a while!


                        Sounds like you found a great stand, there!
                        Al

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                        • #13
                          Re: Diamond Willow

                          Hi Al...yeh I was pretty pleased with my diamond willow find. I'm curious about the ironwood you mentioned. I always thought it was a wood that came from across the pond. 'Duh' Is the wood as hard as the name implies? I've seen pictures of some very impressive carvings made from it.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Diamond Willow

                            There are several species known as Ironwood. The stuff we have around here is eastern hophornbeam, and yes, it is as hard and tough as it sounds. It doesn't grow very large (actually it just grows slow), a 60 foot tree with a 1 ft. diameter is a huge one. It's wood was used for tool handles, wagon hubs and spokes. There is a European ironwood, also, but I am not familiar with that.

                            A similar species in the east is the Eastern Hornbeam (no hops), that is sometimes called muscle wood because of it's toughness and sinewey looking bark.

                            It's about as hard to carve as red oak, but makes good stout walking sticks, that are really made for walking. Saplings look much like birch or cherry with a brownish-red bark, marked with light gray to white flecks. Much over an inch and a half in diameter and the bark becomes dark gray and gnarled looking, almost like its braided. The wood is usually straight and the small twigs come off easily.

                            When growing the trees are similar to elm and the leaves are quite similar to elm or birch. They are in the birch family.

                            Al

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                            • #15
                              Re: Diamond Willow

                              Thanks for the info. Al...it sounds like you have as much fun as I do working with 'found wood'.

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