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Best wood for hand carving into homemade furniture?

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  • Best wood for hand carving into homemade furniture?

    I'm planning to build a piano stand for my digital keyboard. I've recently gotten into carving and would like to decorate the shelf and sides of the stand with hand-carved designs. Pine seems to chip too easily and isn't the easiest to use my chisels on. Basswood seems hard to find large pieces of lumber, and I'm not sure about its durability for furniture building. Can anyone recommend an approach/material to build something that is easy to carve on but also durable?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I'll pick two: birch and aspen. If I had to select just one, birch. I've carved a couple of bow drills, a couple of dishes, sea turtle legs and tail, 70 spoons and 30 forks from birch. Most satisfactory.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      The durability of the piano stand is more important than its carve-ability. Adding a few carved details on a piece of furniture should not determine the choice of wood. However, if you insist on using carving wood there are suppliers who can sell you basswood of any dimension - such as Heinecke Wood Products in Wisconsin. It may require a glue up, but they can do that.

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      • #4
        Mahogany is a durable hardwood for furniture price is ok, and carving is easier than most hardwoods. Hardwoods do not carve easily like soft woods....no matter what you will have a learning curve.

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        • #5
          While Basswood is my go-to wood for carving, the reasoning being it is a softer wood. Bear in mind I'm not a furniture builder∙∙∙∙, but if I were to build something to put my digital keyboard on I think I would use a more traditional building wood, If you want to bling it up after building you can always do some carving in Basswood and attach them to your stand. Again just my 2¢ worth.
          . . .JoeB

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          • #6
            Search for a timber merchant in your area. Lime should work just fine. If you really need extra strength, good English oak would be great, although it's not as good for detail as Lime.

            Claude
            My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/

            My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

            My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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            • #7
              I'd add maybe mahogony might be OK, regardless do you have enough experience carving to do the job? Maybe a local cabinet maker might be able to do it all for a decent price?




              Bill
              Living among knives and fire.

              http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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              • #8
                Another option would be to pick the wood you want for the construction of the piece and carve the detail in another type of wood and glue it to the body of the piece. You could use a different coloured wood for contrast. just a thought.

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                • #9
                  I'd suggest Cherry wood. Carves nice and great colour for furniture.

                  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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                  • #10
                    Black Walnut, Cherry,Mahogany, Poplar and Maple(last two are softer) are the best hardwoods. You could use pine and basswood and to stop the chipping you should use an epoxy finish hardens and more durable, but also more money.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Brian T View Post
                      I'll pick two: birch and aspen. If I had to select just one, birch. I've carved a couple of bow drills, a couple of dishes, sea turtle legs and tail, 70 spoons and 30 forks from birch. Most satisfactory.
                      i would also say that aspen is really great for newbies

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                      • #12
                        I know a very accomplished wood cut printer who works almost exclusively in cherry plywood.
                        I've used 1/2" x 6" aspen (aka "drawer-side") for wood cut printing and never been disappointed.

                        I like Glenn's suggestion to carve a contrasting wood and glue the decorative pieces on the furniture body. Far less effort than reducing the background level of a head board for a bed.
                        Brian T

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                        • #13
                          Decretive relief carving for furniture will requires training and practice. Miss read he grain making a cut
                          In the wrong direction and it will be hard to recover. You might consider looking into some classes.
                          We live in the land of the free because of the brave!

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

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