Wood selection for large carving blanks? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-07-2016, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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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!!
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-07-2016, 06:01 PM
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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.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-09-2016, 08:09 PM
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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.
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-09-2016, 11:09 PM
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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".


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