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How to Choose the Best Wood for Carving


As a beginner woodcarver, it can be hard (no pun intended) to pick the best wood for your carving projects. 

Here are three quick tips for picking the best wood for carving after you've grabbed yourself a set of woodcarving tools and are ready to get started. 

  1. Look for wood grain that are uniform and tight. Basswood is a great example. Other wood, like red oak for instance, is not. Every wood has its own grain pattern and flow. The best way to get better at working with wood grain is to practice carving!  Here's a helpful article from the Queen of Carving, Lora Irish, on working with the grain of your wood
  2. The Janka hardness scale not only gives you different types of wood you can carve, it also gives you a range of woods that might be great to try out for a beginner carver. Look for the softer woods, but keep in mind that there are other variables at play as well. Water content, age of the tree, heartwood -  all have effects on the hardness of woods in the same species.
  3. Start working with the soft hardwoods first. Poplar, basswood and red cedar are all great places to start. 

1 comment

  • Karen

    As a recent carver, I began just 3 months ago I bought junk gouges and knives not knowing about Schaaf tools. My full set arrived yesterday and I couldn’t be more pleased with them. Well made and very sharp right from the factory. Thank you for making a quality tool.

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