Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Magnificently mountainous McBride in the Robson Valley
See? You're learning about the wood already.
If you want to carve dry seasoned woods, you have to re-think your choice of tools.
Many of the broad leaf woods go from cheese to bone when they dry.
There are a few that dont:
Just about any birch. Stiff, but I have the experience to call it good.
Basswood from a single dealer = Heineke.
Basswood growing in the north is more consistent, whiter and easier to carve than southern basswood.
Me? I carve western red cedar most of the time, some yellow cedar and birch.
Conifer woods are weak and they don't hold much detail without splitting.
Look at Pacific Northwest totem poles and story poles = massive carvings and no small details.
Yes, you can try to carve details, one piece it works, the next piece snaps apart.
Crooked knives: Some east coast bladesmiths admit that they copy the blade designs from Kestrel.
Kestrel will sell you finished blades in many sizes and sweeps. Then you haft that yourself (they supply plans).
North Bay Forge won't sell blades, just finished knives. So maybe you get one with the wrong size handle for your hands.
You can see 2 of my knives with the yellow cord whipping.
The really cool fix is on the left in that picture = farrier's hoof trimming knives. OK handles, just change the bevel angle from 25 degrees to 12 degrees. The key feature is that the blades finish in a tight hook. You can sharpen that as a scorp.
Those are right and left pairs of Mora Frosst #171. Mora #188 is double edged. I have 2 of them.
I don't think I have revised more than 2 dozen of these.
This is running into big bucks sooner than later.
So you go and visit your local farrier. They are forever sharpening and grinding down their hoof knives.
Lots of people let their horses run barefoot all winter and now everybody wants their horses shoed yesterday.
A used "worn out" farrier's knife will have a lifetime of steel in it for wood carving.
Hall(Canada) and Ukal (France) knives have very hard steel.
A pair of new Hall, left and right, was $100.00. I offer the farrier $5 each for worn down Hall and he thinks it's a deal.
They really are a bugger to grind down to 12 degrees from about 25. But they are a dream to carve with as you watch the shavings spall off the edge of the blade.
Idaho is home? You ought to have farriers all around you. Go visit, if you can ever catch one at home at this time of year.