In: Wood for carving article 2

Different Types of Wood & Their Uses

Once the overall form is complete, switch to your smaller tools and add detail to the carving.While you should always have razor sharp tools, it’s especially important during this step. Dull tools can nick the surface of the wood and ruin the appearance of the carving. Bent and spoon gouges are specialty tools that make it easier to reach certain areas of the wood carving. They aren’t always necessary, but they’ll be good to have if you get serious about the hobby.

The chart below shows the availability of North American hardwood species found most often in residential applications. Hardwood comes from angiosperm — or flowering plants — such as oak, maple, or walnut, that are not monocots. Softwood comes from gymnosperm trees, usually evergreen conifers, like pine or spruce.

You’ll also find that woodworking doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby, but the costs can add up quickly depending on how serious you get. As with any new hobby, cost is usually considered to ensure it is something that you can afford to take on. This will help in allowing people just starting out to participate in the new-found hobby without a large investment.

Types of wood used for carving

The durability and stability of both hardwoods and softwoods is improved by a good coating system that minimises water ingress. Such coatings can be either translucent to show off an attractive grain, or opaque and if properly applied in factory conditions, they can make a significant improvement to the service life of products made from such timbers. Tried and tested by leading independent institutes for over 90 years, Accoya® offers a remarkable degree of dimensional stability and significant reduction in shrinkage and swelling. Generally, though, softwoods are cheaper and easier to work with than hardwoods.

It is better to compare Bamboo to the hardwood Red oak or Maple, since it has a similar hardness and strength. Perhaps one of the more specialized balsa wood for carving uses for Alder wood is in the hard body of electric guitars. Alder wood produces a very clean tone that is hard to replicate with other woods.

This medium density wood usually has a straight grain and is easy to use for carving, turning, and machining. While there are three main types of wood, there are thousands of varieties and species of wood. In this section we’ll cover the most common woods you may encounter in building and woodworking.

softest wood for carving

While it’s most popularly used for lumber, it is also commonly used for furniture making or carving, since it holds its shape well. It’s also the best wood for chainsaw carving, as it can withstand the power behind a chainsaw.

Presence of pores in hardwoods (oak, top) and the absence of pores in softwoods (pine, bottom). They are used to “square up” wood that may be twisted, warped or rough cut.

  • That means you may have to use stronger glue with Bass, which might add weight.
  • The straight grain and hardness of the wood can make it more prone to splintering and chipping when working with it.
  • This medium density wood usually has a straight grain and is easy to use for carving, turning, and machining.
  • It is easy to work with and takes stain beautifully – often times this wood only needs a simple coat of oil.
  • Alder wood produces a very clean tone that is hard to replicate with other woods.

softest wood for carving

When you buy wood from a home improvement store, it has been cut so it has a relative flat surface on all 4 sides. Once you get into furniture making, it’s common to purchase “roughcut” wood from a sawmill to lower your material cost. Despite any superficial resemblance to genuine mahogany, there are still a number of wood species that are completely unrelated to any of the mahoganies in the Meliaceae family. You have to trace pretty far up the hierarchal tree to find any sort of botanical commonality between any of these woods. Basically, about all you can say that they have in common is that they are all hardwoods (angiosperms).

Technically a softwood, the Larch trees are an unusual type of tree in the Cypress family. What makes this specific tree unusual as a softwood is that it meets both the criteria to be classified as both softwoods and hardwoods. Softwoods come from coniferous trees which have needles instead of leaves. Softwoods grow faster than hardwoods and so are cheaper they are also easier to work with as they are softer than hardwoods.

The grain pattern of Walnut can be either wavy or straight, and its texture medium. Hard Maple or Rock Maple (Acer saccharum) is lightest and palest in coloration among the four hardwoods. Its sapwood (outer growth rings) tends to range from off-white to cream, sometimes with a golden hue; while its heartwood (center of the tree) is typically reddish to dark brown. Maple’s grain is typically straight to wavy, and its texture is fine and even. Cost is something that should always be considered when comparing hardwoods.

The acetylation process works by altering the chemical make-up within the wood’s cell wall, creating a marked improvement in durability, stability and hardness. Exceeding the high performance attributes of tropical hardwoods, Accoya® is proven to withstand the harshest external environments. With Accoya®’s high level of performance and low maintenance requirements, it offers value for money and extends the design opportunities for architects. Though hardwoods are often more expensive and sometimes more challenging to work with, their upside is that most — though not all — are denser, meaning many hardwoods will last longer than softwoods.

Best wood carving tools

Maple is grown primarily in sustainable North American forests. Mahogany is a beautiful exotic hardwood and a premium wood for furniture making. The wood often starts with a pinkish tone that will deepen and darken over time.

More Wood Species Guide

Balsa wood grows very quickly but has a relatively short lifespan, with most trees only producing usable lumber before it is 10 years old. Balsa is a very lightweight hardwood that is typically used in hobby and craft types of projects.

They are both deciduous hardwoods common to North America and are routinely harvested for their intricate grain patterns and inherent beauty. Oak and cherry have distinctive differences in appearance, workability and availability.