Wood selection for large carving blanks? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 4 Old 10-07-2016, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
SawdusttillSunset's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 81
View SawdusttillSunset's Photo Album My Photos
Question Wood selection for large carving blanks?

I recently started experimenting with carving fingers and the likes, out of maple. I like how they've turned out so far, and would really like to try my hand at carving a full human figure. Full scale is my dream, but even a half scale size would be cool.

My question comes with figuring out how to prepare a wood blank. I don't even know where to start with a blank this large. I know very little about wood mechanics, and am pretty much in the dark here. Do I need to do a massive glue up? I assume if I was to use like a tree stump, it's gonna split over time (I haven't ever dried anything)?

Any info is appreciated!!
Attached Images

Have thy tools ready. God will find thee work.
SawdusttillSunset is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 10-07-2016, 06:01 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,995
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
Well, first of all I would find a softer wood than maple especially for a project that large. The guy I took carving classes from liked basswood. I found it a little too soft though. You had to have the chisels overly sharp or the wood tended to tear rather than cut. I think you would like Honduras mahogany.

As far as the blank, I just glued up kiln dried 8/4 lumber. You can roughly glue the wood into the shape you need. For life size I think I would be inclined to rough the blank out as much as possible with a chain saw.
Steve Neul is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 10-09-2016, 08:09 PM
Senior Member
mikechell's Avatar
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Deltona, Florida
Posts: 1,266
View mikechell's Photo Album My Photos
That thumb is damn near perfect. I can only guess at how to do a full size person.
First of all, the block you'd start with is going to be very heavy.
That block would be planed, jointed and glued together high grade finished lumber.

You could, realistically, make a huge block of wood from 2x12s, but if you want to carve arms and legs "out of plane" to the torso, you might need to double or tripple the thickness.
If you think about those who carve statues from marble, the beginning "chunk" needs to have the outside dimensions of the finished sculpture.
The only way to reduce the size of the beginning "chunk" is to carve smaller pieces and assemble the pieces into a full size body.
mikechell is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 4 Old 10-09-2016, 11:09 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 817
View Terry Q's Photo Album My Photos
Build it piece by piece and glue the pieces together. One big chunk for torso, carve individual pieces for arms, legs, head, even hands and glue/attach them to build up your carving. Easy to fix if you make "mistakes".

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Terry Q is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Is There a Place for 3D Wood Printing in Woodworking? WoodworkingTalk Featured Topics 12 06-30-2016 09:49 AM
Wood selection papawjim General Woodworking Discussion 8 02-24-2016 01:44 PM
Comparing Wood Sealants Side-By-Side WoodworkingTalk Featured Topics 8 02-15-2016 01:13 PM
Basic Techniques Wood Engraving purnomoadi General Woodworking Discussion 0 11-16-2015 01:43 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome