Wood carving is among the most accessible and fun art forms. It doesn’t normally require costly equipment or studio. You simply need the basic set of carving tools, a wood and place to work in. In fact, anyone can enjoy wood carving. The difficulty, safety and quality of wood crafts will depend on the wood type used.
There are many wood varieties that can be used for wood carving. Each of these wood types has individual characteristics (color, hardness, texture, striation and grain), which make them suited for specific wood carving techniques and purposes. As such, it is very important for wood carvers and sculptors to know the different types of woods that they can use. Here are some of the different wood varieties for carving:
Basswood is soft-wood type that is popular for hand carvers. It is close grained but relatively soft which allows it to hold detail very well. You can use a power tool, such as a reciprocating saw (find out more about this wood carving tool by visiting this review site), for cutting or shaping the wood.
This wood type has little grain pattern which may appear bland. Usually, basswood crafts need to be painted to accentuate the grains and carving details.
Northern White Pine
Under the pine category, the Northern White Pine has similar characteristics with basswood. It is readily available and also affordable, making it a favorite for avid wood carvers. Sugar pine is also another good wood type for carving.
Cottonwood has a characteristic white color which looks very attractive even when unpainted. It is a soft wood type that is easy to carve, however, has the tendency to split.
The beautiful grain and color of butternut make it a favorite wood carving canvas. It has similarities with walnut except it is much easier to carve and with a lighter color. The cons with butternut are: it can be difficult to find and often attracts insects. Usually, this wood type will have wormholes in it – a feature unique to butternut.
For advanced wood carvers, hardwoods such as walnut are the usual picks. A Bosch reciprocating saw or similar power tool comes in handy when working on hard woods. The tight grain and rich color make it a popular furniture wood and carving.
The reddish colored mahogany is a strong lightweight wood with characteristic straight grain. It can be easily worked with hand or power tool, but is also prone to splitting.
Basically, there are thousands of wood varieties that can be used by carvers. Other common wood types that are often worked with power tools include rosewood, fruit trees, maple and teak. The type of wood can have a huge impact on the final output, so make sure to choose the right one.