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Nicholas Woodcarving
Carving Wood & Materials

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  #1  
Old 11-27-2007, 09:12 AM
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Default Douglas Fir

How does Fir carve? I saw an ad for some huge pieces. Each has about 1 foot rotten on one end. The ad says, in part, '5 pieces of douglas fir from 1920, each is 8" x 16" and between 2 1/2 and 5 feet long '

I'm used to carving basswood. I have carved some cedar as well.

thanks in advance,
mikeg
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  #2  
Old 11-27-2007, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: Douglas Fir

Harder than basswood and if dry and old....harder than all get out!
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Old 11-27-2007, 03:05 PM
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Default Re: Douglas Fir

Don't even think about it. Very grainy and prone to splitting, among other things.
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Last edited by Plain_Ol_Ed; 11-27-2007 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: Douglas Fir

Are you kidding that old it will be like carving cement. Douglas Fir is a dream to carve when green but once it has aged forget it.
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  #5  
Old 11-28-2007, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: Douglas Fir

I'm working on a high relief carving in fir, mostly because I have to reward the guy I got it from with something made out of it. It's dry old growth (20+ rings/inch), and it is kinda hard. However, I am getting it carved.

The rings are quite hard, and the summerwood (the part between the rings) is notably softer, which requires care in cutting so you don't rip out chunks of what you want to leave. Angled slicing cuts perpendicular to the rings seemed to work better than parallel to the grain. I started with the router, then a knife, actually a couple of knives, and things were progressing really slow, so I switched to about a 1/4" chisel, driving it with a mallet. Then I took a very sharp skew chisel and used it slicing, kind of like using the knife but the tip angle was better. I may use the knives again to detail a few spots and I have a really slender knife I might try if I don't screw it all up before I get that far.

If you're going to carve a flat project, I'd quartersaw it for sure, and inspect it closely for pitch rings, which seem to be pretty common in the batch I got. Also, if the pcs are old beams or posts, check them with a metal detector for nails or ??? before you mill it.

On the bright side, short straight grain chunks will split crossgrain nicely with a froe, and leave an interesting rustic texture if you like that sort of thing. Many people think of cedar for handsplit shakes, but old growth fir shakes last as long, and weather to a darker color.

Parker
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:08 AM
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Default Re: Douglas Fir

You guys are dead where you stand!!
This year I found some curly bears claw fir in my firewood pile! Plus 1/8th cord of perfect seasond old growth dead clear fir, a zillion lines an inch.

Also brilliant black oak like you never saw. Uncracked fully seasoned dry quarters! Some high color spalted madrone like you never saw too.
I'm in wood heaven from my own firewood pile! Never saw such primo firewood in my life!
But I might freeze to death! Anybody close by have any dry seasoned ready to burn wood I can't like? I need some ugly, dried too fast, cracked up to beat the band, knotty, nasty, barky stuff.
This more than perfect wood in my shed is practically a pox!
gloat gloat
yours, Scott
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: Douglas Fir

I like your tools Scott, especially like that they are too pretty to use! That way I can just carve and not feel guilty! lol
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