Let's talk about types of wood.
WHAT ARE GOOD WOODS TO CARVE WITH?
When carving functional items like spoons and knives, you will want to choose a hardwood species of wood. Hardwoods hold up better to long term abuse and will resist picking up food stains. There are many hardwoods to choose from and they all vary in hardness. The hardest ones can be very difficult to hand carve and may require power tools to work, therefore it's best to choose ones that are on the soft to mid hardness range.
Cherry, Chestnut, Ash, Walnut, Beech, Apple, Pear, Plum are true joys to hand carve. where as species like oak, and certain maples can be very frustrating to work with.
Our wood blanks are offered in the following wood varieties:
1) BASSWOOD : BEGINNER LEVEL
One of the the softest varieties of hardwood species and perfect for first-time carver to learn their carving techniques. Sharp knives glide through as if cutting butter and Basswood finishes to a beautiful and lustrous butter cream color.
2) CHERRY : BEGINNER/INTERMEDIATE
Cherry wood is a much harder wood than Basswood so it stands up very well to extended use while still being relatively easy to carve. It has a straight grain and finishes to beautiful tones of rich reds and reddish browns which will darken with age.
3) BLACK WALNUT : INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED
Carving projects with walnut wood can take more time and persistence due to the density and tightness of the grain. It is prized by woodcarvers for its strength, unique grain patterns and rich color. The trick to carving walnut is to keep your tools sharp!
KILN DRIED WOOD
Kiln-dried wood is wood that has been seasoned and dried in an oven to remove it's moisture content to prevent the wood from cracking. Project Weekend wood blanks are prepared from carefully selected species of kiln dried wood.
The wood is already fully dry and the risk of cracking during or after carving is very low.
It's ready to go! You can purchase your wood and begin carving your project in the very same day.
Because most of the moisture has been pulled out of the wood, the pores and fibers of the wood have tightly shrunken down requiring more effort from you to carve.
Sanding is generally required after carving as the tool cuts will be more evident.
SUMMARY: The beauty of kiln dried wood is that it allows you to carve a project with very little risk of it cracking. Though tougher to carve, the trick to working with kiln dried wood is to keep your tools sharp and to make small cuts. For particularly hard woods, soaking the wood in water or spraying it with a mixture of equal parts water and rubbing alcohol will make for a more enjoyable carving experience. The moisture will loosen up the fibers allowing your tools to carve more easily.
GREEN WOOD : AIR DRIED
Collecting branches that have recently fallen/trimmed from a tree or trees that have recently been cut down are all examples of green wood.
Pro: The high level of moisture in green wood is what makes carving it so enjoyable. Green wood is softer to carve than kiln dried wood, allowing your tools to make butter smooth cuts through the fibers, often times not requiring any sanding after your project is carved.
Green Wood is free! Walk into any forest or along the streets in your city after a storm, talk to city parks gardening staff when they are out trimming and pruning trees and shrubs, and call fruit farmers because orchards require annual pruning (takes place early spring, late fall) These are all excellent sources of wood for you to carve.
Con: You have to prep your Green Wood before it's ready to carve into a project. The moisture content of green wood fresh off the tree is very high and once you remove the bark some varieties of wood are literally soaking wet.
Therefore you must partially air dry your green wood before you start carving, and depending on the variety of wood and thickness this can take weeks, months, and/or sometimes, years. If you dry it out too quickly, the fibers will shrink at a too rapid pace causing your beautiful wood to crack.
Summary: Carving with green wood is an absolute joy but choosing it for your projects requires careful planning and dry time before you can start your projects. If you have the time (and the storage space) to carve with Green Wood, there are numerous articles & resources online for you to learn how to properly dry and work with it.