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Carving Wood & Materials

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  #1  
Old 03-04-2013, 09:52 PM
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Default Is Cedar good wood to carve with?

I went by Lowes the other day and noticed they had some nice looking 1"x8"x12' boards made of Cedar. I've been carving duck decoys out of foam, but really want to start carving them out of wood, but am having a hard time finding wood suitable for carving. I found a local sawmill that has Basswood stock, but he wants $4.50 a board foot. Do any of you know if laminating the Cedar boards to make a block thick enough to carve is a good idea?

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Old 03-04-2013, 10:15 PM
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Default Re: Is Cedar good wood to carve with?

I have spent the past 10 years carving western red cedar. I suspect that eastern (and others) are not all that much different. Only last year, did the thought occur to me that I am finally "learning the wood." Having said that, I have a few of suggestions:
1. Anything less than 20 rings/inch is crap. Bulky spring wood crushes no matter how good you think you are at sharpening. 10 or less = walk on and don't blink. 50 is tougher than birch.
2. Glue-ups are fine = try to match the color and density to hide a line. Ordinary carpenter's yellow glue, Gorilla, they're all OK.
3. You have to make a lot of stop cuts and carve back to the line. The odds are tremendous for long, run-out splits.
4. Use a hand saw to make the big fret cuts to whack off the blocks of waste.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Is Cedar good wood to carve with?

I carved a canoe paddle from a cedar board once that I got from Menards. Makes a decent paddle and much easier to carve than the one I made from ash.

I have some Alaskan yellow cedar that I got from Hobby Lobby that is really a pure joy to carve. Great carving wood. Carves very smoothly but what I really like about it is that it is very aromatic. Just wonderful to carve.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:32 AM
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Default Re: Is Cedar good wood to carve with?

Some day, I'll take a picture of one of my wood piles = 4" x 6" basswood, YC, WRC, a dozen alder logs, willow logs. it's all there. The 6" and 8" logs (6' 7')of pine and hemlock prop up the book cases. The 3" x 12" x 6' slabs of WRC are stacked in the corner. The shake blocks (6" x 8" x 24") are piled on the dog houses to hold them down in the wind.
The OP asked about cedar, which sort, I have no idea.
I'm not too sure how I wound up with all this stuff but I can buy maybe 1,000' of carving grade birch 6" x 1.5" for about $ 0.90/running foot. I have some, dream wood. Spent all of $9.00 to find out. Any stick = $3 each.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: Is Cedar good wood to carve with?

I wish you were closer. I have a lifetime of red cedar in my yard from trees that came down in a storm or had to be felled. I love it cause the colors never cease to amaze me. I would give some to you free, but you are sooo far away! Check out the salt server I pic I put up to see the wood.
All that has been said is true but once you learn this wood..... I am fine with it except for very very fine detail.

Last edited by Tuferon; 03-05-2013 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:46 AM
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Default Re: Is Cedar good wood to carve with?

Thanks Tuferon but no. I have WRC that I've forgotten about. Must get a few WIP's off the bench before I work on some other WIP's.

I want to do more in birch = it holds the detail that I can't get in WRC. Not nearly as hard as I anticipated. Plus, there's lots of it and it's cheap.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: Is Cedar good wood to carve with?

Hey Decoy Carver,
My advice is to purchase a little of each and put a blade to them. See which strikes your fancy.
I personally love working with cedar for woodworking such as paneling jobs, and furniture but have not used it for carving...hmmmm
I've been a Bass guy for most everything, but you raise an interesting question for me as well. What to do with allll that cedar lumber??? Like tuferon... I have a lifetime supply of Northern White Cedar......I might have a future in decoys.
Always looking for something to supplement my future retirement. hehe

Have a good one,
Jim
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:07 AM
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Default Re: Is Cedar good wood to carve with?

Most wood sold in stores like Lowe's is intended for home projects using machinery. It is unlikely to be good for carving. That said, Jim S gave the proper advice: purchase a little and put a blade to it. There have been many discussions of carving wood on this site. The bottom line is: All woods are variable. Everything called basswood is not the same. Everything called cedar may not even be cedar. You cannot judge any wood by its name.
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Last edited by pallin; 03-05-2013 at 11:11 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:52 AM
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Default Re: Is Cedar good wood to carve with?

Will you be using rotary power, knives/gouges, or a combination?

Most decoy carvers that use power tools carve with Tupelo. Basswood has a tendency to fuzz.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: Is Cedar good wood to carve with?

I'm still new to carving. Been carving decoys out of foam board, because I don't have a bandsaw capable of cutting blocks. I am picking up a 14" band saw on Friday, and am going to be looking for some wood to carve. I'm going to try a little of everything, to see what I like. But, I'm just trying to figure out what to use first. I'll be using knives and a Foredom (not at the same time). But, I just got off the phone with a buddy I went to school with, and he works at his Dad's cabinet shop. They order wood every Friday, and he's going to see what the prices are for him to get some Basswood thrown in to their order. I'm thinking he can get a pretty good deal, since they probably order thousands of dollars of wood on a weekly basis. Waiting anxiously to hear back from him. If he can get it at a good price, I might just buy a ton of it.
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