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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Penrith
    Posts
    2

    Default New to wood carving

    Hi all,

    I am looking to get into wood carving as a hobby. I have started to collect the tools I will need such as knives and gouges.

    I got this book a while ago - https://www.amazon.com.au/Urban-Wood.../dp/0857833774 - but it's for trees in England.

    I was wondering what wood type I should be sourcing/using for carving as a beginner.

    I live in Penrith, New South Wales which is on the border of the Blue Mountains.

    Any help with wood types for carving as a beginner and identifying wood types would be much appreciated.

    Alec

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Ponchatoula, LA, USA
    Posts
    300

    Default

    Welcome to wood carving! Here's a database that has woods from all over the world. Wood Identification Guide | The Wood Database

    The key data to look at for carving is the Janka Hardness. The higher the number, the harder the wood. Two species I have heard of that are common in AU are Poplar and Jelutong. I've also heard Huon Pine and Paulownia may be available.

    Claude

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Arundel Qld 4214
    Age
    82
    Posts
    700

    Default

    Paulownia is a soft timber, similar to western red cedar, but very light in colour. It finishes well and looks great when lacquered. The only negative is that your tools must be very sharp or the timber tends to tear/splinter. The only place I know that sells it is Port Phillip Shutters in Mordilac Melbourne.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    275

    Default

    Alec
    Your best bet would be to give Trend Timbers at Mulgrave (trendtimbers.com.au) a call to see if they're open. They stock a good selection of carving blanks, including jelutong, white beech, huon pine, continental lime wood, rosewood, etc. They also stock carving tools.

    Don't waste time with locally 'found' timbers, at this point in time, save that for when you have some basic woodcarving skills. In principle, just about any wood can be carved, look at the lovely carvings from the Pacific islands, some of which are carved in ebony. BUT.... not a good timber to start learning with ��
    There are plenty of how to carve a 'whatever' videos on YouTube, but a good place to start to get some excellent practice that I would suggest is Mary May woodcarving, as she uses traditional gouges and techniques. Another (paid) tuition site I can recommend is Chris Pye Woodcarver who also teaches the traditional techniques mostly with gouges, but also with carving chisels for lettering.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Ponchatoula, LA, USA
    Posts
    300

    Default

    If caricature carving or small figure (non-realistic) carving is something you are interested in, here are more great video sources:

    Gene Messer: YouTube

    Arleen Zomer: YouTube

    Claude

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Shelley
    Posts
    1

    Default New to wood carving

    Welcome to a great hobby. Very relaxing and intensely frustrating at times!!! I started with lessons at evening classes at a local Technical School but I think they are no longer available. Any Mens' Sheds near you. Worth finding out for th support and friendship.

    Someone mentioned Jelutong as a suitable timber to start with. It is...quite soft and often you don't need a mallet. It comes from Indonesia and is the timber I started with. Good to learn on but unfortunately the last time I tried to buy some I was told it no longer imported. On of the others mentioned was Huon Pine. Quite prized but also extremely difficult to source. it is from Tasmania and considered a protected timber. Also very expensive.

    I use Jarrah a lot. A West Australian timber that was used extensively in the building industry so I have been able to build up a collection from demolition sites etc. You will definitely need a mallet, and keep your chisels sharpened. But it has a beautiful finish and is now recognised as a magnificent wood for furniture.

    good luck

    Jim

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Brisbane
    Age
    66
    Posts
    19

    Default

    I carve wood spirits at the moment and I acquire Camphor Laurel and is a tight grain timber readily available.
    A day spent carving is never lost

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