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  • what size / type of wood to use.

    im sure you guys can help me out with this one. I would like to do a full size full round carve , mallet and gouge, of a native american indian. maybe also , mountain man. what kind and size of wood to do for a bust carving , neck up... do i try for an 8 x 8 ? or a 6 x 6 block? whats common? i have never tried one before,. i notice others occasionally but seem to think theyre quite small. those guys seldom ever show a pic with a relative item nearby to tell the size of the carve. a close up of a 2 x 2 can look like a 10 x 10
    i dont care to glue up to do it. should it be hard hardwood ? or is the basswood most used for this? i know these seem like simpleton questions , but i have no experience with figureing this one out.
    this one could turn out like some of my other simple questions, that so many do like to offer their thoughts on the matter. so..... ???
    Denny

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

  • #2
    Depending on the size of your carving, a glue-up may be unavoidable. Do some research on here and the web to see larger carvings. Personally I work nearly exclusively in basswood, but have also used butternut and catalpa. Catalpa carves well when it's "green", but you need to dry your tools often. Hope this helps.
    Steve
    Last edited by Steve Reed; 11-08-2018, 08:45 PM. Reason: Added photo
    Steve Reed - Carvin' in the flatlands!

    My fb page: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.ree...8.100000156660 683&type=3

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    • #3
      drhandrich, here is an example of a Catalpa "Log Santa"
      Steve
      Steve Reed - Carvin' in the flatlands!

      My fb page: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.ree...8.100000156660 683&type=3

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      • #4
        ok , thanks, i do have a nearby sawmill that could probably help out, but i would need to tell him if its to be , walnut , cherry, maple, butternut, or even a basswood log, but i would need to tell him what size to make it, i was assuming square, like carving the caricature from a 2 x 2 only lots bigger. i am hoping to do just the bust type of carve. but even a relief carved style would need to be so deep to have one 8 or 10 inches wide.
        Denny

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

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        • #5
          BTW.. that is a way cool lookin santa !
          Denny

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

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          • #6
            The wood that you select might depend upon the degree of fine detail that you expect to show.
            For the Native, maybe it's hair, feathers and beadwork.

            Hardwoods can be expected to hold a lot more detail than softwoods like the cedars that I like to carve.

            Next, how big is this carving going to turn out to be? 12" x 12" x 30" for example? Big wood can cost more per piece than smaller bits.
            Once you have that sort of figured out, take a look at Heineke's price list for basswood to compare big and little pieces.

            The carving wood market is so small that really big, really old, wood blocks are just about impossible to find.
            Glue ups are not uncommon among even the most notable of top carvers.

            Google UBC/MOA, get into the collections and have a look a Bill Reid's "Raven and The First Men."
            The original is the size of a grapefruit, done in Yellow Cedar.
            The massive version must be 8' across and 8' tall. They took off the roof of the building to install it.
            Its a glue-up of 145 pieces of Yellow Cedar.

            I would love to see you do this break-out in a serious size.


            Brian T

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            • #7
              Did you ever think of starting with a roughout? It wont cost much more than a big block of wood and you usually get a pic of the finished product.
              Every day should be unwrapped like a precious gift.

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              • #8
                now i have some research to continue with , with the help of some good leads, thankyou. and i forgot to mention , that as a retirement gift to me i have bought some swiss made gouges, sharper than razor, and think these might just handle hard harwood quite nicely. if thats the way it turns out.. , and a big roughout is a pretty good option for me , do you happen to have a link or two? i will be gone for a few days but am eager to dive into this next project.
                Denny

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

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                • #9
                  wow, i looked at the one minute video of it, and a following youtube started itself after that, the haida gwaii , interesting stuff for sure.
                  Denny

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

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by drhandrich View Post
                    now i have some research to continue with , with the help of some good leads, thankyou. and i forgot to mention , that as a retirement gift to me i have bought some swiss made gouges, sharper than razor, and think these might just handle hard harwood quite nicely. if thats the way it turns out.. , and a big roughout is a pretty good option for me , do you happen to have a link or two? i will be gone for a few days but am eager to dive into this next project.
                    Look for Moore roughouts on the web. Also a lot of the well known carvers have roughouts for sale, i.e. Floyd Rhadigan, Steve Brown and others.
                    Steve
                    Steve Reed - Carvin' in the flatlands!

                    My fb page: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.ree...8.100000156660 683&type=3

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                    • #11
                      I would go to the sawmill you mentioned and get a cedar log, red cedar would look the best when finished. 12-14" in diameter as tall as you want it to be - 20" maybe. The cedar will carve very nice with your gouges. Get a longer log and you'll be able to do a couple of them.

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                      • #12
                        A couple of thoughts...if you're thinking of buying a log from a sawmill, are you aware of the potential pitfalls of carving green wood (checking, end splits)? Regarding roughouts, I don't know your budget, and I've never used one, but from what I've seen roughouts are expensive. If you're going to paint the finished carving, I wouldn't reject a glue-up for a full size bust because of the cost, a stain job will show the different pieces making up the block. If you do go with basswood, however, you can order the size block you need from Heinecke.
                        Arthur

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                        • #13
                          You mentioned Native Americans and mountainmen - Here is a great source


                          http://www.stumartinwoodcarving.com/roughouts.html
                          Every day should be unwrapped like a precious gift.

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                          • #14
                            youre right, that is a good link for roughouts. there are a couple there i would like to try. should go for a simpler one first time out.
                            and i should be able to get some red cedar here in NE wisconsin too, plenty around.
                            splitting, is there a work around to it? i know chainsaw carvers run a deep plunge cut up the backside to equalize things, wouldnt do for a full round mallet carve.
                            thanks.
                            Denny

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

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                            • #15
                              Arthur, would brushing on a layer of melted paraffin at the end of each carving session , stop the splitting early on?
                              Denny

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

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