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  • Carving Wood

    I am a new carver and enjoying it very much. Have done alot of reading on here getting all the info I can to better myself in this great hobby. I did come across a post and somewhere in that post it was mentioned using pine wood. Why would this type wood be so bad to carve as the individual on the post almost degraded the person using it. The way i look at it, as long as your enjoying yourself and you are creating a piece of art, "in your eyes anyway", that is all that matters. I have bought the basswood and to me it carves about the same as 2X4 pine wood. But I am a green horn at this. Maybe i'm not seeing the big picture here. Happy carving to all!

  • #2
    It's a hobby. If what you're doing works for you, then keep enjoying it. That said, the usual reason pine is not so highly regarded is that some varieties of pine are quite uneven in hardness between growth rings, there can be a tendency to split chunks out along the grain and my personal dislike, there can be sap inclusions.
    You should be aware, 2x4 construction lumber is not always pine. In my area, it is more normally spruce or fir. Nor is there just one species of pine, and while on a quick look they may seem the same, some pine species are much more regarded as carving woods as others.

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    • #3
      If you want to carve pine, ignore the advice and have at it. It's your time and tools, so do and learn what's good for you. Steev makes good points, however.
      Arthur

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      • #4
        Starting to sound like an echo here. Carve what makes you happy! But if you decide to carve challenging wood then don’t come around complaining about latter. Sounds like you’ve done your homework so make your choices. I did a few carvings in redwood and when finished it is absolutely beautiful. I have no plans to ever carve it again. I found it to be absolutely miserable to work with. The rings are hard the wood between like sponge it will split even when you carve with the grain. Carving redwood produces these little tiny splinters the leave your hands looking like you got the measles. And yet there are carvers who work almost exclusively with redwood. So yes carve what you like but understand it can make your growth as a carver a more challenging journey.

        Ed
        Living in a pile of chips.
        https://m.facebook.com/pg/CentralNeb...ernal&mt_nav=0

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        • #5
          The woodcarving hobby is not one thing, There are wide variations in tools, woods, methods, finishes, and results. Some of us like to explore these different experiences involving wood. Some of us settle on one type of carving and/or wood. Even when we discover what seems like the best carving wood we may pick a piece that is dry, hard, and unworkable. Maintain your own flexibility.

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          • #6
            I would also echo what has been shared. Enjoy your carving. You will find the wood you like to carve. The more you carve your going to gain skills the will let you understand how to work with the grains of different woods. Have Fun!
            Last edited by Randy; 06-19-2020, 10:59 AM.

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            • #7
              No matter which carving style appeals to you, "learning the wood" is just a thing to do.
              The result is that you learn to be very choosy about the pieces of wood that you take home.
              Pick one and carve a lot of it over quite some time. I like to carve western red cedar, a wood most carvers dislike. I begin with fence posts, shake blocks and pieces of logs.


              Brian T

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              • #8
                Welcome to a great forum and the main thing is to enjoy yourself. Heck, some people carve rock. The best wood is a personal choice but don't use wood that is so difficult you just give up. Basswood is safe, a good species of pine is fine, poplar not bad and butternut isn't bad. However, for a lot of detail, I think I would use basswood. JMO
                Bill
                Living among knives and fire.

                http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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                • #9
                  I agree with Bill, that being said, lots of what else said is also true. to get the same amount of detailing in pine as you can get basswood, would take, in my opinion, more skill and time. Enjoyment is the end game....yes indeed.
                  . . .JoeB

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                  • #10
                    That is why you will get tons of different advice, take look at all of them and decide which one is for you. It is all a matter of what you like, not the other person. It is just not wood, but also tools, methods, finishes, how to carve, we all have our own things that we prefer. I have woods I love and ones I hate, what I love another person may hate to carve it. Pine used it a few times, but I do not like breakage factor, nor the sap but that is just one person's opinion among thousands. I do not see much degrading here, although I do see tons of different opinions, up to you to find your way. Someone did give me some fresh Norfolk Pine, by the time I got it home my hands were glued together, my clothes were ruined and the place I put it on was a mess, the sap was major draining out of it, those pine logs went into the trash can, ....LOL no way was I going to be cleaning it off my good tools. But I know a few top people who can make beautiful work out of it....not for me although. I used basswood in the beginning great wood to learn how to carve before you starting using other woods,...today I do not like basswood because of the fuzzies.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks to all who replied. I'm still learning but really enjoying this hobby. I have tried both basswood and pine. Both seem similar to me. But then again, I am new to this. And maybe the basswood I am getting isn't good quality. Getting it off of Ebay. Some says kiln dried, others is air dried. Both seem kinda hard to me. But all is good! Enjoying whittling this wood! Thanks again.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jak61 View Post
                        Thanks to all who replied. I'm still learning but really enjoying this hobby. I have tried both basswood and pine. Both seem similar to me. But then again, I am new to this. And maybe the basswood I am getting isn't good quality. Getting it off of Ebay. Some says kiln dried, others is air dried. Both seem kinda hard to me. But all is good! Enjoying whittling this wood! Thanks again.
                        Perhaps you are being limited by the sharpness of you knives?

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                        • #13
                          Many carvers here get their basswood from Heinecke and it is some of the nicest wood out there. When I started I did get some basswood off Ebay and compared to Heinecke it was junk.

                          Probably as important as the wood is sharpening. Make/get a good strop and use it often...a big help.
                          Bill
                          Living among knives and fire.

                          http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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                          • #14
                            I have a couple Helvie knives I picked up from Marvin Daniels. Also a couple OCC knives that I use. I strop them quite often and they seem really sharp to me but as I have said earlier, its all new to me. Maybe my "sharp" isn't near sharp enough. Any pointers on how to tell proper sharpness?

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                            • #15
                              There are many Youtube videos on sharpening/honing, but to really know "sharp" it is easier to understand with a club or someone nearby you can visit. Doug Linker has a ton of projects, information. etc. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-e...ideos?reload=9
                              Bill
                              Living among knives and fire.

                              http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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