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Too dry Basswood

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  • Too dry Basswood

    I started a carving a stick of basswood and it carved fine with the grain but going against the grain proved impossible. My tools and knives were sharp but it simply would not hold an edge. It just crumbled and broke loose. The piece of wood was very light weight and it got me to wondering if the wood was simply too dry. Can basswood get too dry to carve?

  • #2
    Re: Too dry Basswood

    sounds like its not basswood, did you purchase it? I myself have never ran into that but it would interesting to see what everyone has to say.


    • #3
      Re: Too dry Basswood

      I had that problem with a piece of tulip popular, it was like there were 'soft spots' inside the stick.
      My Site Missouri Ozarks


      • #4
        Re: Too dry Basswood

        Sounds to me like not only is it too dry, but you may have rot in it. If it is crumbling like that, it sounds more like rot than dryness. Dryness shouldn't be too much of a problem, it still should carve okay, but the finish may end up duller than you might like. If it is rot, get rid of the piece and start over with a fresh piece of wood.



        • #5
          Re: Too dry Basswood

          I agree sound like just a bad piece of wood for what it cost I would just fire it (No pun intended) into the wood pile. It is only a piece of wood and the frustration you may get trying to carve it is not worth it. I can also understand if you are somewhat into the carving sometimes it is hard to throw it away. I have never had that problem with bass wood so it sounds like you just got a bum piece.


          • #6
            Re: Too dry Basswood

            I had that problem with one large piece of Basswood that I got in trade for doing a retirement gift. They had bought it from a lumber yard that normally doesn't sell Basswood. I think it had been stored for a few years in a very hot dry environment and had dried right out. It was very light in weight and carved fine except when it came to fine details. It was almost like carving hard chalk. I sprayed it with water and let it sit for a while and that seemed to help.


            • #7
              Re: Too dry Basswood

              The experience you describe actually sounds alot like when I tried to carve cotton wood, it was the same way and I threw it out before I finished. I have not experienced basswood ever getting really light. Air dried usually seems lighter than kiln dried, but neither are really light. If youre sure it was basswood, then dry rot is probably the culprit indeed.
              I Cut It Six Times And It's Still Too Short!!!


              • #8
                Re: Too dry Basswood

                You're describing a farily common problem with basswood. If you check the growth rings, you may find the worst of the 'crumbling' is in the center of the log. The wood is more like cork. If you can dent it easily with your fingernail, it's bad and isn't going to get better. CSO (cheerfully start over).


                • #9
                  Re: Too dry Basswood

                  FYI. Finally ------- Just got my new comptuter and got on line. Wow , never thought it would happen. Good to read the messages. Big Al


                  • #10
                    Re: Too dry Basswood

                    you may try spraying it with alcohol in a sray bottle. Spray, carve,spray, carve. I have some Basswood that sounds like what you have and HI HO(Dave) suggested doing that and it helped. Rubbing alcohol
                    Try it. What do you have to lose.

                    Best wishes
                    Safety first, then enjoy carving! Ken Caney, Ks


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