Types of Wood for Wood Carving
Any beginner carver can face the problem of choosing the best wood for carving. The material in this craft is critical. All your creative enthusiasm can cool off if you pick the wrong wood.
If you're unsure what types of wood to use for your woodcarving projects, this guide will help you decide.
Green and Dried Wood: Know the Difference
It is possible to carve any wood – green (freshly cut) or dried (seasoned) – the choice is yours. The main thing is to remember all the features of each of them. The ability to work with both kinds of wood frees the carver to choose any theme of the project, and the plot for carving, creating favorable conditions for experiments.
No matter what wood for carving you choose – fresh or dried – it must be of good quality, without cross-layers and knots. In such conditions, it does not break, crack, or chip.
Green wood allows you to perform more technically complex projects that will be more difficult to make from dry wood. This type of wood has enough advantages: it is suitable for beginners as it is easy to carve and practice various cuts. Moreover, you can gather it from a forest or park near your house.
One of the disadvantages of green wood for carving is the high amount of moisture that can cause your crafts to crack when dried. It also leaves marks on your tools, making them difficult to clean.
Many wood species are better to carve dry as they have better stability. And there are many reasons for this. Wood crafts carved from dry wood do not crack and do not change shapes and overall dimensions. Dry wood is versatile as it is suitable for all skill levels – from beginners to advance. It is great for projects with fine details and perfectly soaks in the paint.
As great as dry wood for carving is, it also has drawbacks – it is a bit difficult to cut and may require a more extensive set of tools for carving.
How to Choose Wood for Your Projects: Simple Beginner Guide
Whether you decide to carve a simple caricature, animal figure, or an original decor piece, you need to know the best wood to carve for beginners. Different types have different properties and color shades, so every beginner should consider the following nuances when choosing high-quality wood for carving:
- Wood species;
- Safety of use (some woods are toxic, so they are not safe to work with);
- Softness/hardness (flexibility);
- Integrity (avoid wood with defects, such as knots and cracks);
- Moisture content (too wet or too dry wood is not suitable for carving);
- Density/strength (ease of processing).
Choosing the best wood to carve for beginners will depend on personal preference and the design of the project you want to complete. However, if you are just getting started in the craft and are likely to make mistakes, it is best to choose some of the least expensive woods, such as soft linden (basswood), aspen, butternut, or white pine. These woods are easy to work with and will not wear down your tools quickly.
The proper wood type means a lot in wood carving. If you are fond of sculptural carving, it is better to use durable wood species like oak, aspen, cedar, etc. Use basswood, birch, and alder for relief or chip carving. They are soft and flexible.
Good Places to Get the Finest Wood
As you see, making the first steps in wood carving requires working with soft wood first. Many professional carvers recommend starting with linden, also known as basswood or limewood.
So, the question is, where to buy wood for carving if you are a beginner? What places are the best? It's a dilemma nearly every whittler will face.
There are lots of places where you can stock good wood for your beginner whittling projects. If you like buying craft supplies offline, you can check a local sawmill (if you have one near you), hardware store, or woodcraft store. But if you want to shop from the comfort of your home, check out the popular online woodworking shops or craft retailers.
Are you still struggling to choose? At BeaverCraft, you will find exceptional quality wood – basswood carving blocks and blanks for beginners in various sizes and quantities – no knots, no cracks, delivered right to your doorstep.
Our wood blocks are made of natural Basswood; they are light in color and have a smooth surface and nice texture. They are soft and easy to carve and paint. If you plan to create a project with lots of detail, BeaverCraft kits of basswood carving blocks will become your go-to choice.
Of course, you can carve exotic, rare, and precious woods like black walnut, mahagony, sandalwood, or even jarrah. These woods have a unique appearance, inimitable properties, and, of course, a high price. Due to color, texture, strength, and other characteristics, exotic woods remain popular in many woodworking industries.
Professional carvers work with different woods. To find the best wood for carving, an ultimate solution for beginner carvers, you must experiment, expand your skills and grow your carving experience.