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Wood Carving for Beginners

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  #1  
Old 01-20-2010, 04:57 PM
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Default Red Oak, how do you feel about it?

Howdy folks! Just checking to see what some thoughts are on carving on red oak. I dont have time to make it to a lumber yard, so home depot it is! I do incised/relief carvings, and use flexcuts. My concern is the hardness of this wood, with a Janka in the 1200's, it seems pretty steep compared to, say, bass or poplar or something. What do ya'll think? Anything I should watch out for when working with it?
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: Red Oak, how do you feel about it?

well are u useing flex cut mallet sylte or hand gouges.. the hand gouges are very sharp however when useing on something like oak id be afraid ur more out to chip your carving edges on the thinner steel...( speeking from past experiance ).. if its mallet type i think youll be fine...home depot also sells step treads there was a wonderful pcs of work on this site a moth or so ago an it was carved from a step tread from local hardward store
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: Red Oak, how do you feel about it?

Just me, but I'd rather do poplar or bass wood. Oak is too hard on me .... and my tools for me to get much fun out of carving it. I've did some from wood that is still green, mainly with power tools. Poplar is not bad to carve and you can find it locally. Myself and many others order our basswood from Heinecke Wood Products . Good wood, good price, good people to deal with also!
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: Red Oak, how do you feel about it?

Hey, Thank you gentlemen! I think it would suffice to say that I will not be using red oak on my little hand gauges! Thank you for the input!
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Red Oak, how do you feel about it?

Red oak is my favorite wood to carve. I mostly carve large chunks or logs. For me a stylized nude female sculpture in red oak is what I want to carve. If you only do small carvings with lots of detail red oak would not be the best choice. The grain is wide and rather open and the wood is hard but not nearly as hard as live oak.
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:17 PM
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Default Re: Red Oak, how do you feel about it?

I love it !!!!!
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: Red Oak, how do you feel about it?

Beautiful wood, a little to hard for me to work with. Give it a try , you may enjoy working with it.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:32 AM
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Default Re: Red Oak, how do you feel about it?

I love it. It's my favorite wood.........for firewood. It splits well, makes a hot fire, relatively few ashes. The acorns are wonderful food for wildlife.

Tried carving it once and found the grain too wide and the contrast between soft and hard grain too much of a problem with detailing.
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Red Oak, how do you feel about it?

Red oak tends to be a little stringy, sometimes splits very easily, is extremely hard and when you cut with appropriately sharpened tools, the fresh cut surface has a "shine" that is unmatched. The detail RO will hold is incredible and it undercuts with surprising ease. Don't park your prized tools because of the hardness, take smaller bites!! I use Swiss/Pfeil and the only tool I have "broken" (snapped the point off of a skew chisel) was on red oak and it was my fault for not paying attention..lesson learned, and I still operate on red oak when I can....
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Old 01-23-2010, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: Red Oak, how do you feel about it?

Red Oak is very different to carve than most others. It's annual rings are tubes if you look close at the endgrain. They can crush under the gouge when pounding with a mallet, you have to be careful! If you must, find pieces that are from south slopes or sunny spots. You can tell these because they have more "Meat" between the rings, so less chance of grain collapse. I prefer white oak over red as it has solid annual rings( that's why they make barrels for wine etc out of it, the wine won't drain out through the rings). I still look for a lot of meat inbetween the rings though as that is the "wood" you'll be carving. Doc
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