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Cottonwood carving

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  • Cottonwood carving

    Hi all hope all is weathering winter well. I have a question about carving cotton wood. I know the bark is neet to carve. But how about the actual wood ? A local arborist took down a cotton wood tree and he let me have some chunks. Was wondering how it works for cane toppers and other small items. Have slabbed off some bark sections to carve, but they need to dry some. Thanks for any responses.

    Bill in Omaha

  • #2
    Re: Cottonwood carving

    Hi BillinO,

    Thought I'd help you with some of my experience in carving cottonwood. I find it somewhat difficult to carve and you have to be very patient, always being aware of grain direction. You will also have to pay close attention to your tools, as it has a tendency to dull them rather quickly. It does however, take details and the finished product will look nice, but be prepared to go slow as it's more time consuming than carving basswood. I don't do many cottonwood carvings, but the ones I do I like when they're finished. If you're looking for a 'challenge', then you've found it in cottonwood. I'm a full-time Santa carver and if you're interested in seeing what you can do with cottonwood, check out the Cottonwood Santa I carved on the following web site. It's www.reasonstobelieve.com and click on Artists, then Rick and Jody Smith. You'll find it listed there. Hope this helps! Good Luck and Happy Carving!

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    • #3

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      • #4
        Re: Cottonwood carving

        I like it better than basswood for some things, takes detail better. Split the chunks into quarters (with the grain) and store in warm, dry, well ventilated place until dry (usually 2 to 3 years around here). It carves nicely, but is harder than basswood and butternut, but softer then mahogany and walnut, and just slightly softer than poplar and magnolia (not enough to really notice). Not a whole lot of grain to it, so best for projects that you plan to paint/stain.

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        • #5
          Re: Cottonwood carving

          I have carved some cottonwood , and I had better luck by carving it green (or wet) and covered with a plastic bag between sessions. Wrapping tight (while drying) with rubber bands all sizes. small carving, small rubber bands, big carvings big bands, made from old innertubes. Cutting in quarters is the smart thing to do, although carving a big ol' stump is do-able, lots of work filling in the cracks. I like the bark, it carves best when dry.....
          art

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          • #6
            Re: Cottonwood carving

            Thanks for all the helpful info on cottonwood. This chunk is some what green, think I will cut it in half, and try it both ways. Always interested in trying new things. Must get around and go to work.

            Bill in Omaha

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            • #7
              Re: Cottonwood carving

              Hi BillinO
              i have never carved cotton wood,but if you go to
              http://www.wildfowl-carving.com/pastarticles
              the summer 2000 has an article 'working with cottonwood''
              it might give you some help and insight into using your cotton wood

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              • #8
                Re: Cottonwood carving

                Or.....just throw that wood away and grab the bark, instead!! I'm with Art (the Bark Guy, the Prince of Barkness, my own Art Therapist) on this one...bark is better.

                [move]It's Magic! :[/move]

                Teri
                "Santas for the Soul" &&Original Carvings by Teri Embrey&&http://www.teriembrey.com&&[email protected]

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