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  #1  
Old 01-04-2010, 05:33 PM
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I'm all new at this so this will probably seem like a really dumb question to most of you. A couple of years ago I decided to try carving, but I didn't have enough space or time to do so. During that time, I picked up a package of wood from a hobby store with the intention to carve it. Now, it's a couple of years later, and I can't remember what kind of wood it is. I think it's balsa, but I'm not sure. Anybody know of a way to tell what kind of wood this is?
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  #2  
Old 01-04-2010, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Dumb question

it could be balsa or it might be basswood or it might be "white wood" whick is catchall for several species. Balsa is reall light and soft and is not good for carving....the otherts from a hobby shop MAY be good.....or no.

Al
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  #3  
Old 01-04-2010, 09:23 PM
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Default Re: Dumb question

The question is not dumb, but without more information, any answer that you get will not be very reliable...

How about a picture or at least a little more information.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:28 PM
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Default Re: Dumb question

If it came from a hobby store it is proubly balsa wood balsa wood is realy light and easy to shave with a knife.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:06 AM
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Default Re: Dumb question

Calculate the volume of the piece of wood in cubic feet (length in inches x width in inches x height in inches / 1728). Weigh the piece. If it is in the range of 7-9 pounds per cubic foot, it's balsa. Here's some other densities: Wood Densities

Example calculations:
wood is 12 in long x 3 inch wide x 3 inch high.
12 x 3 x 3 / 1728 = 0.0625 cubic feet
Weight is 7 ounces.
7/16 = 0.4375 pounds
0.4375 / 0.0625 = 7 pounds per cubic foot. Therefore balsa.

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Old 01-05-2010, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: Dumb question

I know it's not always this simple but maybe these links with photos might give you a clue:

Balsa: Find it in Woodfinder!
Basswood: Find it in Woodfinder!

For the most part, balsa will have a lot more grain and color variations than basswood. Basswood is heavy in the hand while balsa is light. Balsa is soft to touch while basswood is harder.

Bob L
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: Dumb question

Ok, ok, to all of you people out there that think otherwise, the ONLY dumb question is the one never asked.........especially in carving, because there are so many answers to most questions concerning carving.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: Dumb question

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this thread. Here's a couple of pics of the wood I was talking about. I started trying my hand at a few wood spirits but I didn't get very far. Based on what I've read here, it must be balsa because it does seem very light. I've never held basswood though. I have some ordered from Heinecke, but it hasn't arrived yet.
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Last edited by Newbie; 01-09-2010 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: Dumb question

Looks like basswood from your cuts. Your knife cuts show a good sharp knife , good start ! Also Basswood that is very dry is light , you might want to take a spray bottle and a bit of rubbing alcohol and water and spray a light coating to the wood, if it is really dry it will soak it up like a sponge. But will soften it just a little for your cutting.

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Last edited by Ashbys; 01-09-2010 at 10:59 AM.
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  #10  
Old 01-09-2010, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: Dumb question

is there a specific ratio of alcohol to water I should use?
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