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Is Spruce good for Whittling ?

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  • Is Spruce good for Whittling ?

    What’s a good wood when there is no basswood? Is Spruce ok?

  • #2
    What about aspen, beech, poplar or butternut. Aspenbis a little softer & butternut harder. Aw, I see you're from New Zealand, would Jelutong be available? I think spruce falls within this range of softness. Just remember I'm not a woodsmith
    Last edited by Claude; 07-13-2019, 04:17 PM.
    . . .JoeB

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    • #3
      With softness, also need to consider the grain. Is it fine enough?
      Dean

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      • #4
        Originally posted by joepaulbutler View Post
        What about aspen, beech, poplar or butternut. Apenis a little softer & butternut harder. Aw, I see you're from New Zealand, would Jelutong be available? I think spruce falls within this range of softness. Just remember I'm not a woodsmith
        Joe you really have to check your spelling. lol
        Bill K.
        Every day should be unwrapped like a precious gift.

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        • #5
          If you are starting to whittle, I'd say learning how to sharpen/hone your tools is the most important. Some wood is horrible to carve, but with a really sharp knife, it can be done.

          Think we have at least Oz member here and they might be more familiar with your woods...sorry, I'm not.
          Bill
          Living among knives and fire.

          http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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          • #6
            Bill K, I've always been an innovative speller
            . . .JoeB

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            • #7
              Clear White Pine is a comparable wood to carve when no basswood is available. it is grainer and yellows over time, but it is good to carve, especially if you are going to paint the piece afterwards. It is also quite available and reasonable priced.

              Bob
              Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.

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              • #8
                As a group, all of the conifers split fairly easily so they don't hold detail like you might hope.
                I've seen some very fine work in Huon, if you can get it.

                Key thing is to take a ruler and do a "ring count" = the number of annular growth rings per 25mm ( 1 inch).
                The best range is between 15 and 30 rings per inch.
                More or less than that creates different problems that work against carving (crushing or boney).

                From where you sit, Jelutong would be good. King Billy pine (maybe) and Australian Camphor Laurel are well-thought of.
                References to North American woods won't help much.
                I see some attempts made in Pinus radiata but I suspect that took a lot of "wood learning" to bring it off.
                Brian T

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                • #9
                  G'day Wheely,
                  and welcome to the Forum. Are there any Pattern makers within reach? A lot of them use Jelutong in their work and are usually glad to to get rid of their off cuts, otherwise you might like to try Poplar as Joe suggests, but as has been pointed out, most important is having your tools scary sharp! Huon pine is an absolutely magnificent timber but can be a bit hard for hand carving with a knife.
                  As for Pinus crapiata, it's not bad kindling wood LOL Kauri would be worth a try if available but ask around and experiment, look for light soft timber without a prominent or heavy grain. Don't give up, sharpen your knife, ask many questions and keep trying and keep trying...
                  Best wishes
                  John

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                  • #10
                    It is not bad, but like everyone said, not my first choice. There used to be a book out on carving things using your discarded Christmas tree. I tried this one year after we had a spruce Christmas tree. it was not bad as it was green, but got really hard as it dried. It carved OK, but good northern basswood is really hard to beat.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Blinky Bill View Post
                      G'day Wheely,
                      and welcome to the Forum. Are there any Pattern makers within reach? A lot of them use Jelutong in their work and are usually glad to to get rid of their off cuts, otherwise you might like to try Poplar as Joe suggests, but as has been pointed out, most important is having your tools scary sharp! Huon pine is an absolutely magnificent timber but can be a bit hard for hand carving with a knife.
                      As for Pinus crapiata, it's not bad kindling wood LOL Kauri would be worth a try if available but ask around and experiment, look for light soft timber without a prominent or heavy grain. Don't give up, sharpen your knife, ask many questions and keep trying and keep trying...
                      Best wishes
                      John
                      And you can take this to the bank! It's from the "Wizard of OZ!" G'day John! Hope all is well down-under!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wheelysharp View Post
                        What’s a good wood when there is no basswood? Is Spruce ok?
                        Never had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand (I assume that's where you are from your Tags) but I just Googled woodcarving in New Zealand and came up with a plethora of articles and posts. Seems your indigenous people are quite the carvers themselves. I also ran across this website that gives a run down on native New Zealand woods. It might be helpful if you haven't already referred to it. My vote is with the other guys that recommended getting tools razor sharp. I'd also add that if you're just starting out make it a point to obtain the softest carving wood available. It's been my experience that there is less chance of performing surgery on oneself when the knives are sharp and the wood is soft.

                        The Bone Studio and Gallery ...

                        https://www.carving.co.nz/galwood.php

                        P.S.... I'd definitely recommend staying away from bone. One is too likely to make a "bonehead" mistake!

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