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  • Butternut

    How does butternut compare to basswood or pine for carving? There's an auction this weekend and one of the things up for auction is some rough cut butternut. I don't know how much or the dimensions but I thought I'd find out if it's worth bidding on.

    I started with white pine and switched to basswood. I'm happy with basswood but am willing to expand my horizons if it's not going to frustrate me. Also, I've heard that harder woods should be worked with tools with a different bevel. Would I be able to work butternut with the same tools I use for basswood?

    thanks,
    mikeg
    http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeeeill/

  • #2
    Re: Butternut

    I have a beautiful chunk of butternut...I am saving it! Don't ask me what for LOL. I hear it carves very well...but it is a very good looking wood I know that! One day I will figure out something to carve in it....just too pretty to waste it!

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    • #3
      Re: Butternut

      You can carve butternut with the same tools/bevels you use for basswood. Butternut is easy to carve and one of the most beautiful woods when finished with oil or wax IMO.

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      • #4
        Re: Butternut

        If you're going to buy at auction, check with some retailers to determine the going retail price if you don't know what it is. Get to the sale early enough to inspect what they have and make a mental note of what you will be willing to pay and don't let the excitement of the moment cause you to pay more than a fair price, which is very easy to do given the circumstances. Auctions are a lot of fun to attend but can be very costly to someone not familiar with the process. Just set the price you are willing to give and don't go over that amount and you should be fine. Let us know if you get a bargain. :

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        • #5
          Re: Butternut

          Butternut is a great carving wood, nearly as soft as basswood but much more striking because of it s grain and color. If you intend to keep a natural wood finish, it's the way to go. Mahogany is a little harder and even better looking when you allow the grain and color to show in the finished piece. It shouldn't be much more than about $4/bd-ft. for good, clear wood.

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          • #6
            Re: Butternut

            just an aside to the auction thing... a buddy of mine sells welders for a living and watched in dismay at a farm auction as the used welder was bid up in price. He started paying attention to who was bidding and after it was over approached the losing bidders with an offer to sell them a new one for less than they had bid on the used one... I think he said he made 8 sales that day... buyer beware.

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            • #7
              Re: Butternut

              Here's one site for comparative prices.....Canadian dollars, I'd guess, so your US cost wold be down around 30% (?). check several mills and find what you can buy for...a lot of small operators willget you a good deal on cutoffs, culls, and over stocks.


              http://www.kooturlumber.com/lumber.shtml


              Also check the board foot cost Length times width times thickness in inches, divided by 144 gives you the board feet of a piece. That is usually measure nominally, which means a standard 1x2 is really the finished size of 3/4 x 1 3/4, but you are charged as it were 1x2.

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              • #8
                Re: Butternut

                Butternut is a wonderful wood to carve. Has the properties of Pine for carving, though a little harder, but has a wonderful colour, rich, deep, hue. A member of the Walnut family I believe, sometimes called Light Walnut.

                It finishes beautifully, I like using just an oil then dried and a paste wax, on Butternut, but it takes a varnish well. I'd never cover it with a paint, the wood is too beautiful. Nor would i sand it, though you certainly can.....it is just a wood that looks at its best carved and naturally finished. IMHO

                Get it if you can, if the price is reasonable. I always keep my eyes open for a good supple to have on hand curing. That reminds me, I am getting low in my supply, so I must watch for some at the woodworking show next month.

                Bob

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                • #9
                  Re: Butternut

                  I would watch the price. Auctions are notorious for both incredible savings and prices waaaay too high. If the price is right, I would buy it. Even if I did not intend immediate use.

                  It carves well with both power and hand tools. Finishes a beautiful light walnut color (sometimes called poor man's walnut).

                  It is getting harder to find (especially 4' and up blocks) down in this part of the country. A wood supplier comes down to the Spring seminar at Silver Dollar City with both bass and butternut. The butternut sells out very fast.

                  Good Luck,
                  Paul Guraedy
                  Whooping Hollow Woods
                  Alpena, ARkansas
                  Paul Guraedy
                  Whooping Hollow Woods
                  Alpena, ARkansas

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                  • #10
                    Re: Butternut

                    Paul, the wood supplier you see at Silver Dollar City in Branson every spring is Dale Heinecke of Cumberland, WI.
                    His phone number is 715 822 8642. (fax - 715-822-3507) He ships bass and butternut by UPS at exact cost all over and the shipping is not as high as you would expect.
                    The wood is some of the best you've ever touched. Give him a call some evening (no email or web site) and see what he's got.
                    You'll also see him at shows around the mid west. I 'think' his next one is the show the first weekend of November in Belleville, IL.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Butternut

                      Butternut is a favorite of the bust and mask carvers like Jeff Phares and John Burke. Look at some of Jeff's books in the book section on this web site.

                      It carves easily. It does seem to have a tendency to chip on fine details more than bass - just make sure that your tools are sharp. The grain is more pronounced in butternut compared to bass, but you don't have the change in density like you do with pine (generally speaking).

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                      • #12
                        Re: Butternut

                        Nancy..does Dale Heinecke have a web site? I seem to remember seeing that name before? ???

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                        • #13
                          Re: Butternut

                          Dave, I don't think Dale has a web site. He's a heck of a nice guy and fun to talk to on the phone. I can't believe he's as trusting as he is. I guess he hasn't been jaded as most others have who deal with the public. Of course, woodcarvers are a cut above (no pun intended). HIs butternut is northern grown, finer grain, and a little harder than the fast growing stuff. It holds detail better and is a pleaasure to carve. It doesn't fuzz-up like the southern version.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Butternut

                            Dale doesn't have a website or email. And you HAVE heard that name before ... I'm spouting it all the time
                            Since the first chunk of their wood I carved (Longo gave it to me years ago) I haven't used anything else.
                            And just a few weeks ago I was desperate for some 6' x 6' x 48' basswood.
                            When I phoned Dale he had 4 x6, 4 x 8, 3 x 6, 2 x 8, etc., but no 6 x 6. So he laminated some 3 x 6 to 3 x 6 for me. I was pretty skeptical. But when Dale Heinecke says it's gonna be good - it's gonna be good.
                            I just finished my first Santa carved from that stuff and - WOW - that's good wood. You can't see the lamination/glue line and there was no grain change.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Butternut

                              Does he have an email address?

                              Comment

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