Seeking Advice - Carving Blocks - How picky are you? Typical sizes sought after? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-22-2018, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
Janish Woodworks
 
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Question Seeking Advice - Carving Blocks - How picky are you? Typical sizes sought after?

We are currently producing thousands of board feet of basswood carving blocks, and have a question regarding defects in the wood. As you probably well know, knots, cracks, wane, and streaks are often unavoidable after basswood logs have been sawed and kiln dried. Now that we are in the final production stage of creating these blocks, we are wondering how picky we need to be with eliminating all of this from our blocks. We hate to waste wood, but I understand that certain defects greatly decrease the carvability of the wood. We have eliminated the majority of the defects throughout the production process, but are still left with some stragglers now that we are chopping them to their final lengths. See the pictures below. Almost all of the defects are found at the ends, edges, or corners of the block, which will likely be carved off anyways, correct? Will any streaks in the wood get covered up with paint in most cases? I've actually heard that some carvers enjoy some wane "bark" toward the edges of the blocks because the grain toward the edge of the log carves nicely. I'm sure many of this depends on the carver and the project, but we are seeking a "general rule of thumb" answer.

Also, what are some common sizes sought after for basswood blocks? We are currently doing 6, 12, 18, and 24 inch lengths at various thicknesses and widths. Any suggestions?

Thank you so much in advance. We truly value your input, because without it, we wouldn't be able to produce the quality products you desire, and would be doing this blindly.

Happy carving!!

-Janish Woodworks, Inc
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-22-2018, 03:05 PM
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I never got into carving basswood because I didn't like the way you had to maintain your chisels incredibly sharp. If I were to buy some basswood for a carving I would automatically pass on one with knots or splits unless there was enough wood I could completely cut that part off. The mineral streaks it would largely depend on the project and if the wood was going to be stained or guilded where I could hide it. That's just me though. I've seen a famous woodcarver before carve a depiction of the "Last Supper" and have a 2" knot right in the middle of the background.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-23-2018, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Steve, we appreciate the feedback. We posted to a few other forums as well, and the consensus is... Everybody is different. Some people don't care, some are very picky. Any blocks that we sell online will be defect free (aside from some streaks here and there) and then we will offer "defected" blocks by the pound at a reduced rate at our retail location for carvers to pick through. That's how we will handle it for now, and see where it takes us from there. Thanks again.
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The more we can communicate with others in the field, ask questions, seek advice, share experiences, etc, the more adept we can be at producing products that are actually desired. This producer/consumer relationship is what moves industries forward. Help us help you.
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-23-2018, 08:32 PM
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Carving is just so much work I can't picture someone not being a little picky with the wood.
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-23-2018, 11:41 PM
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I can only carve what I see in the wood. I cannot hammer a drawing into a block.
I don't envy the carvers who can do that, it's just different.

Keeping edges carving sharp for really soft wood is a chore. I got used to it.

I wind up with many projects on the bench and many piles of big wood, indoors and out.
Maybe I get an idea and I look for the wood that it belongs to.
Most of the piles are just the Cedars and Birch. Other piles might have some Mahogany and Alder.

I have a stack of shake blocks on top of a big plastic dog house. It doesn't blow away in winter storms.
It got hot last summer (47C shade) and the damn dog house roof caved in with the wood and the heat.
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-24-2018, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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Totally understand, thanks guys
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The more we can communicate with others in the field, ask questions, seek advice, share experiences, etc, the more adept we can be at producing products that are actually desired. This producer/consumer relationship is what moves industries forward. Help us help you.

Last edited by janishwoodworks; 05-24-2018 at 07:23 AM.
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