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Carving Black Walnut

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  • Carving Black Walnut

    A friend of mine is cutting down a black walnut tree and he offered the wood to me.

    Has anyone carved black walnut?

    What are the pros and cons with this wood?

    I plan to carve some in the round pieces from the logs and possibly a long relief carving in one of the bigger pieces.

    Thanks in advance.

    Jim

  • #2
    Re: Carving Black Walnut

    Jim,
    From my view black walnut is a beautiful wood to carve in the round and in relief. I personally prefer to carve it green although I have carved it dry. It take incredible detail and has a beautiful grain to the wood. If you are carving it dry make sure that your tools are very sharp and strop them time to time while carving. Keeping a sharp edge on your tools will make for much better carving. The pros and cons are there are not cons to carving black walnut.
    Colin

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    • #3
      Re: Carving Black Walnut

      Colin,

      I think this is considered a hard wood, correct?

      I have mostly worked with bass wood, pine and poplar. Currently I have my tools sharpened to about a 15* angle, would I need to rework some bevels to more like 25*?

      God bless you in a speedy recovery.

      Thanks,

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Carving Black Walnut

        Hi, Black Walnut is the hardest wood I ever carved and the and my favorite wood to carve. Like Colin said keep the tools sharp. And if you do any sanding be sure to wear a mask. Walnut dust can be nasty. If I were you I'd take your nieghbors offer and get the Walnut and try it out. If you don't use it all there's always someone who is looking for this type of wood. Good Luck on your new Carving adventure!! Gergie,

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        • #5
          Re: Carving Black Walnut

          Hi Jim,
          Alot of lumber mills steam before they dry it so that the sap wood turns brown also. Don't worry about doing it just trim the sap wood off. It carves good too but doesn't have the colors of the heartwood. Like colin said keep your tools sharp it is quite abrasive. But is worth it.
          Good luck macktruck
          Honey, Where are the band-aids, again?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Carving Black Walnut

            Jim - You are going to find out what dying and going to heaven (Willy Nelson's house for Texans) is all about. Black Walnut is awesome stuff. Absolutely beautiful with an oil finish.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Carving Black Walnut

              No Jim dont change the angle of the chisel for me that is a no no if you change it to 25 then I personally think that it would dig in too much. You may not be able to take as bigger cut as you do with bass wood but changing the angle of the chisel is not a good idea in my opinion. If you change the angle then you would have to change it back and that means removing steel you would end up with stubby chisels in no time. I have never changed the angle on any of my chisels but then I am not an expert on tools what do you guys think It is a question that I have never heard but would be interested in finding out the opinion of the carvers here that are expert sharpeners.
              Colin

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              • #8
                Re: Carving Black Walnut

                Black walnut is a wonderful wood to work with. Carvings such as black bears are great when finished with tung-oil . I have a large scrap pile of dried Black Walnut that I search through alot and there is allways a cane handle or a little black bear in there somewhere. And as everyone is saying, 'Keep your tools very sharp'. It would be a good idea to avoid any knotholes as well. After you carve and sand your wood, I have found that if I wipe the wood with a damp cloth it will raise the grain and with a final sanding it is ready for an oil finish.
                Take your gold-mine and enjoy your carving.
                Whittlebit.
                1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10....YEP , all my fingers are still there !!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Carving Black Walnut

                  Jim
                  If you care to sell a couple of pieces of that Black Walnut , let me know. Might be interested in buying a couple of pieces if the price is not too much to make a couple of hking sticks.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Carving Black Walnut

                    I like looking in antique stores for old mismatched walnut table legs....the wood is usualy 75+yrs old and carves beautifully. If it has a nice turned top to it you can flip it over and have a great looking 'built in' base for the carving.

                    Greg M.
                    http://www.owlhause.com
                    http://www.picturetrail.com/owlhause/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Carving Black Walnut

                      Jim
                      Take the neighbors offer. I had turned a football and then carved the laces in for a cane topper last year. It was awefull hard but no surprises and looked realy great when done. I recently bought a lathe (always had to go to Dad's before) and walnut is great turning material.
                      Ah Chip

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                      • #12
                        Re: Carving Black Walnut

                        As yopu can tell, Many like the black walnut and I agree to the hardness and beautiful when finish. Keep them tools sharp.
                        I have a Broughan (sp) boot and a decoy mad out of a couple of pieces given to me. Love the finished product.
                        Safety first, then enjoy carving! Ken Caney, Ks

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                        • #13
                          Re: Carving Black Walnut

                          I have not carved any Black Walnut. My friend has and really likes it. Yes, it is rough on the cutting edges but worth it as it is beautiful. I have sharpened knives and all kinds of tools for years and I still don't consider myself an expert sharpener. I use razor hones and strops and jeweler's rouge. I like the semi-hollow ground knife blades. I learn the hard way not to sharpen a knife until I needed to use it tho. My friend air dries the wood he uses. It doesn't get as hard that way like kiln drying does.
                          Have fun with your food, eat with your fingers!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Carving Black Walnut

                            [quote author=jim_pope link=board=GeneralC;num=1075000449;start=0#2 date=01/24/04 at 21:25:41]Colin,

                            I think this is considered a hard wood, correct?

                            I have mostly worked with bass wood, pine and poplar. Currently I have my tools sharpened to about a 15* angle, would I need to rework some bevels to more like 25*?

                            God bless you in a speedy recovery.

                            Thanks,[/quote]

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Carving Black Walnut

                              I have always heard that one should use a larger angle for harder woods and Walnut would be one. If you leave the 15 degrees angle, you will be much more likely to break that tip off and still end up spending time resharpening. I would suggest that you try one of the gouges you plan to use the most and see what difference it makes.

                              Walnut is a beautiful wood. Good luck.

                              Comment

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