Different Grains

Carving wood has so many different possibilities within the wood itself insofar as how one is able to work it. Not only will different wood species react differently to the knife but even the same wood depending on its state.


Maple – even when spalted like the picture above has a fairly structured grain and is quite easy to carve using the usual techniques and one can take quite aggressive cuts until near the desired finish. When finishing off, the best cuts are very small and conservative so not to risk a “blowout” where a chunk of the grain lifts.

Carving green or wet wood is by far the easiest giving quick results in the final shape. If you are carving wet wood and are interrupted just submerse it in water until you are ready to continue. Before you are ready to sand you will have to let the finished carving dry thoroughly. This cannot be done too quickly though or one runs the risk of splitting. wrap it in a cloth and put it in your cupboard for the time necessary to dry completely.


Some wood like this small scoop in Cherry has a very short grain that I find best to carve holding the knife at a 30 to 45 degree to the direction of the grain. again this reduced the risk of grain lifting. This was very dry for me to carve and so quite hard. It finished rather well though.


I love carving pieces of wood that I find on trails and the more weird the more I enjoy it. If you attempt a piece like the one above it will need many different approaches as the grain is at different angles over very short distances and in this piece I wanted to leave some bark on so one has to be very careful not to chip it off while carving.


This scoop in very dry Olive wood was another instance in very careful carving needed. The grain went in every which way and lifted out unless one too the smallest and lightest of cuts

The best advice I can give in this instance is a VERY sharp knife and short, light cuts. No shortcuts!

These blogs are intended to be for interest and discussion only and not and instructional manual – I hope you enjoy them.

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