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Important Characteristics of Wood

Aug 17, 2007
There are types of the woods which we can use for the wood carving. But each of the woods has their own typical and characteristics. Before we start doing the wood carving, it is better to know the types of the wood and their characteristics. In this article we will learn about the type of the woods and how this guidance can help us with our carved.

In the following descriptions the weight in parentheses is the approximate weight per cubic foot of air-seasoned timber.

White Afara (3 M0 lb.)
A straw-colored wood, this is a general utility hardwood. It will carve reasonably well and is even in texture. Afara splits very readily and takes glue, stain and polish well. It is often used for turned work and parquet flooring. Afara is grown in tropical Africa.

Red Alder (28 lb.)
Red alder is easy to work and finishes well. It is durable even in damp climates.

Crab Apple (46 lb.)
The color is pinkish grey to light brown and the wood is suitable for fine carving. It is hard and heavy. Unfortunately the tree does not grow to more than 12 in. in diameter as a general rule. The wood takes a fine natural polish with handling. It is used for mallet heads, drawing instruments, saw handles and other purposes where a fine-grained, reliable timber is required.

Ash (45 lb.)
Color white to light brown. Ash is a rather tough wood to carve but not excessively so. The grain is broad in character and strongly marked. Other uses: furniture, axe and hammer-shafts, hoops and rims.

Basswood (26 lb.)
Easily workable and soft enough that you may dispense with your mallet, this wood tends to brittleness and is susceptible to decay. Especially useful for woodenware, it takes stain well and can be finished to a fine luster.

Beech (45-50 lb.)
Beech varies in color from grayish pink to warm light red. It is plentiful in America and used widely in the furniture trade. It is a reliable all-purpose hardwood, with an even texture that can be worked in all directions. It carves and polishes well and will readily take stain.

Boxwood (60 lb.)
Boxwood is remarkable for its uniform yellow color. It is almost like ivory in that it will take very small carved detail without breaking. Boxwood was used extensively in the seventeenth century for small figure carving. Unfortunately, owing to the bush-like nature of the tree, the sizes are small. It is commonly used for chessmen, modelling tools, rulers, pulley blocks, bowls and wood engraving.

San Domingo Boxwood (58 lb.)
This wood is sometimes used as a substitute for true boxwood. The heartwood has a yellow tinge; the sapwood is white to pale yellow. The texture is uniform and fine. It is very durable and has a straight but wavy grain. It carves well and takes a very high polish.

Butternut (27 lb.)
The wood of the butternut, a member of the walnut family, is much in use for cabinetwork, inlay, and veneer as well as for carving. Unlike the walnut, however, this wood is soft and rather weak and may be carved entirely by hand. You should, in fact, avoid exerting too great an effort when working with this wood since, due to the weakness of its texture, you may easily make a larger cut than you had intended and thus ruin your project. A light grey-brown in color, butternut will take both paint and polish effectively.

If you are a beginner in the wood carving, it is better to choose Red Alder and Basswood as they are easy to use. Take some advice from the expert if you want to choose other types of the wood for your wood carving.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.kitchen-plans-n-designs.com/ , http://www.hubforcollectables.info/ , http://www.goodbudgetholiday.info/
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