Wood carving is a form of artistic expression. It can be a hobby, but with dedication, it can be turned into a career.
There is an abundance of wood species around the world. Most of it can be used for carving. That is why it can be quite overwhelming to decide what wood is good for carving.
Knowing the differences between each type of wood will help you pick which is best for your project.
Types of Wood For Carving
Wood has several physical properties. Some of these are density, structure, texture, and color. These features make each type of timber distinct from the rest. Here, we will discuss the features of the most common types of wood used for carving.
Woodcarvers often regard basswood as the best wood for carving, especially for beginners. It has a fine grain and soft texture, making it easy to work even for beginners. Basswood holds carving details very well. It is light-colored; thus, a great material if you prefer staining your pieces.
Butternut is also a popular choice for beginners. Like basswood, it can be carved easier and holds details well. It is a type of softwood with a coarse texture and a subtle grain. Butternut is lightweight. It has a light brown color, which will be suitable if you opt to stain your pieces.
An oak’s color depends on its age. It appears to be light brown, yellow, and ash gray. Oak is resistant to decay and fungus and very durable. Is it a good wood for carving? Yes. Oak is popular among woodcarvers. They use it to carve large pieces, sculptures, and furniture. Its grain is well-defined, giving finished pieces that “WOW” factor.
Although aspen is stronger than basswood, it is still soft. With this, woodcarvers can efficiently work with it. It is also inexpensive.
Woodworkers use cherry for carving small pieces. Its wavy grains may make carving a challenge. However, such grains provide beautiful details on the finished work. Its structure is excellent for staining or dying.
Pear is very hard and solid but tends to split. It is close-grained and may be challenging to work with. However, woodworkers use it for small carvings as it holds details very well. It has a natural yellow color, very light that sometimes it appears white.
Apple trees are almost everywhere; hence, you can cut a branch in your garden and start carving. It has the same features as pear, just a little harder. Although its wood is solid, woodworkers use it for carving small items. Its heartwood and sapwood provide a variety of color shades.
This type of wood is also popular for carving. However, it is more expensive than basswood and butternut. It is a bit dense, making it shock-resistant. It is straight-grained and is easy to work with, especially with sharp tools. Its heartwood varies in color—from very light brown to purple.
To know what wood is good for carving, it’s good to try your hand on the types that interest you or make a decision depending on what you have learned here.
Almost, if not all, woods can be used for carving. Each is distinct, given its unique properties. What makes some species stand out for woodcarving is their workability and ability to hold your carving details. Learn more wood carving tips here!