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Relief and Chip Carving

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  #1  
Old 12-26-2010, 04:01 PM
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Default wood moisture content?

What is the best moisture content percentage to keep bass wood at for chip carving? I have several pieces that are 3/8 inch thick, and I'm finding that my wood is drying out too fast, and breaking out, while chip carving. I think Heineche dries it at 11%, which I heard somewhere. I checked mine ( which I have had for awhile) and it came in at 2% on my moisture meter. I could put it in my "moisture tent" that I made with a plastic TV tray with a wet sponge in it, and finishing nails pounded through a 12x12 piece of plywood to hold the bass wood above the tray, then put in a plastic bag, and sealed up overnight. If it draws too much moisture, it will warp. Has anyone ever had problems like this?
Thanks, Rich
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: wood moisture content?

Rich,
I buy basswood plates by the dozen and about 30' x 6'' x 1/2'' or 3/8'' at a time. I wrap the plates in saran wrap and never have a problem even after many months. I don't wrap the slats but keep them stacked in 2' sections in a plastic bin. I select from the center of the stack and don't get any noticeable warp. My warpage comes if I take my time on a piece and wait too long to seal the wood after carving. All surfaces need to be sealed. If I have a piece with real delicate cuts( thin edges coming together) then I coat with Tung Oil ASAP. This seems to strengthen the wood and prevent " morning after" chip fallout.
Hope this makes sense.
Bill K.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:55 AM
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Default Re: wood moisture content?

Thanks for the info Bill K;
I will keep my 3/8 slats in a plastic bin with a tight snap on lid from now on. On your tung oil; you apply this with a brush after your carving is completed, right? And saran wrap on the plates sounds good too. Thanks for the ideas here!
Rich
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: wood moisture content?

Hey Rich!
Your moisture tent is a good way to add moisture to wood that is too dry. Any closed container with a pot of boiling water inside will add enough moisture to wood so it is easier to carve. Set your boards on edge rather than laying them flat. This will add moisture more evenly to the wood.

2% is extremely dry! You'd think you lived in MN with me and have the wood stove burning hot!

Wood warps as it gives off moisture unevenly. The side that dries more quickly than the other will be the cupped side. To take out the cup, place the board cupped side down in a sunny spot and it should flatten out as the side facing up dries.

This is why it is always important to apply a finish to all sides of a completed carving. For example, if just one side of a plate is finished, the unfinished side will give and take moisture and the plate will warp.

Keep at it. I'm glad to hear you're making chips!

Marty Leenhouts
https://www.MyChipCarving.com
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: wood moisture content?

Marty;
Thanks for the tip of keeping the boards on their edges. I will try and put together some kind of wire rack to stand the boards up on their edge. Good tip! Thanks
Rich
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