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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Default What wood should I use to carve a cup? In australia

    Hi all. I stumbled across this forum looking up what type of wood I can carve myself a cup from, like a kuksa cup. I've never carved anything before so I don't know what type of chunk of wood to start with and if it's safe for daily use or if it's going to slowly poison me to death haha. I think they use birch overseas. I don't really care if it has a branch for a handle or not.

    Guessing ill need more than a tomahawk and a chisel?

    Im wondering if I have to start with fresh wood, I'm wanting to just treat it with some olive or grape oil and some whisky, no laquers. I'm in brisbane and only one place really showed up that looks like it might have chunks, lazarides? I'm sure there's others, just don't know much yet.

    any info would be appreciated

    cheers

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Default

    Welcome to the wood work forums, you are in the right place. Hardly any wood is straight out poisonous. Maybe you should find your local woodturners club or local mens shed and see if they can help. Good luck with it.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    McBride BC Canada
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    Welcome. Good advice from Len. From what I can see, there are lots of wood carvers in Brisbane. Hopefully they may pop up here.
    Your local wood suppliers may know of carving clubs. And, who is shopping for carving wood.

    Birch (Betula sp.) is the common wood for Scandanavian spoons, bowls and kuksa.
    Alder (Alnus sp.) is another wood of choice.

    Finish: I think that you could research this on line.

    Tools: Mora (Sweden) makes a range of blades which are bent = they have a sweep to them.
    Makes bowl & kuksa carving quite straight forward. Mora calls them all ( in English) "hook" knives.
    From the farriers hoof knives ( #171, #172 & #188) to the wood carving knives (#162, #163 & #164).

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, such carving tools are usually called "crooked" knives.
    Kestrel Tool, North Bay Forge and Cariboo Blades are the top 3 bladesmiths.

    I have had no difficulty modifying farrier's hoof knives, both new and used, for wood carving bowls and other dishes.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    If your decided on carving a bowl & you don't want to get into lathes then you will need at least 3 woodcarving gouges, say a number 8 sweep (shape) which is a semi circle cutting edge & a spoon bent gouge if you wish the bowl to be deeper than about an inch, also about an inch & number 8 sweep . These two gouges will give you scalloped finish & you will want to smooth out the tool marks with a spoon bent number 4 gouge a much flatter curve. These would be the absolute minimum needed to carve bowl of say the size of a dinner plate or bigger .
    You will also need a mallet to strike the chisels with it will undoubtedly be necessary to get a couple of sharpening stones medium & extra fine, plus a strop which I a piece of leather 2mm thick glued to a piece of wood & smeared with a metal polishing compound.
    The above is the absolute minimum investment I'm afraid & you will curse the day you bought anything but the highest quality carving tools a thousand times.
    As for wood you should start out with something which is soft & light weight while you are learning , you will have enough on your plate discovering all about grain direction without struggling with a hard wild grained timber. I'm in the UK. but understand huon pine to fit the bill, start with a piece 2" thick.
    That'll get you started but you will learn faster if you can take a class to show you the ropes.
    Mike

  6. #5
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    If you want to use Australian timber, try some White Beech.
    Cliff.
    If you find a post of mine that is missing a pic that you'd like to see, let me know & I'll see if I can find a copy.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Australia
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    Thanks guys.

    i was considering something like this to begin with. I am guessing quality will be poop.

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Wood-Carv...item1e937c4bd1

    i have a mallet, sharpening stone, random files etc.

    reckon that will get me on my way?

    the local shop has beech, Huon, lime, silky oak. Does Huon pine wood drip a lot of sap when you cut into it or is that just when they're freshly cut?

    thanks!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    For the dish voids that I like to do, I start by drilling a cluster of holes with a 3/4" or 1" Forstner bit.
    All the rest of it I do with crooked knives.
    A straight, flat sidewall is almost impossible to do with even a spoon bent gouge.
    The Mora knives are made specifically for bowls and kuksa.

    Thanks Cliff: I know rather nothing about useful Australian carving woods, beyond Huon.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Australia
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    Picked these up, poplar, and rosewood.

    will have a chop at them later.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #9
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    Looks like you are on your way. I reckon that the cheap carving sets are a really good start because you can practice sharpening them without much to lose. If they are a bit soft you can temper them by heating to cherry red and then quenching in water or cold oil. For sharpening try getting hard fabric or felt discs that go on a drill or a bench grinder then use metal polishing paste to buff them up to a mirror finish both sides of the cutting edge. This method allows you to try various angles and shapes.

  11. #10
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    If you go back a couple of years in this particular forum, you will find a long, long thread called
    "Star's Sharpening Journey."
    It still fairly represents what I do = how to sharpen and hone a round gouge on a flat surface, for example.
    A professional carver taught that to me, haven't found the need to change since.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Australia
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    Cheers.

    my packet of cheapo tools arrived today, I'll see how they go tomorrow.

    im not too worried about straight sides, a rough hewn look will be fine, I just haven't had time to do it properly yet.

  13. #12
    Join Date
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    There's a learning curve that you cannot escape. Yes, you can carve a bowl/kuksa from rosewood.
    Why beat yourself to death with a really awkward wood?
    Start with soft wood, even conifers, to get the process, the technicalities right.
    I need not make any comment about the edge management of your gouges.
    Done it before, won't do it again and it's a whole world of necessary evils for success.

  14. #13
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    Mar 2014
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    Yep, rosewood is going to be difficult, certainly not the choice of wood to be learning on.

  15. #14
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    Go to Bunnings, grab a bit of 100mm square pine and butcher that for a while. It will teach you about grain without challenging your tools to much. It's cheap enough to make lots of mistakes on.

    The New Guinea Rosewood can be carved but it requires a lot of respect for the grain which takes some practise. The Poplar should play fair.


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  16. #15
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    No idea about the wood, but about the finish.
    I gave a try at a kuksa and I poured pure hot beewax on it to avoid any chemicals.
    Not sure about my choice of wood, it's spalted walnut.

    IMG_2302.jpg

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