Welcome to the Woodcarving Illustrated Message Board, an online wood carving forum community where you can join thousands of carvers from around the world discussing all things related to carving. To gain full access to the message board you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:
  • Browse over 90,000 posts.
  • Communicate privately with other carvers from around the world.
  • Post your own photos or view from 3,500 user submitted images.
  • Gain access to exclusive wood carving promotions offered by Wood Carving Illustrated and Fox Chapel Publishing.
All this and much more is available to you absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact the Woodcarving Illustrated Message Board's Support Team.

Go Back   Woodcarving Illustrated Message Board > Wood Carving > Carving Wood & Materials
Connect with Facebook

Henry Taylor Tools
Carving Wood & Materials

Reply
Share Thread:
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-03-2008, 01:33 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Question IS poplar good wood for Chainsaw Carving

I was wondering if poplar is a good wood for carving ? I know that it is a soft wood also, and I know that is decays fast,how ever I am a beginner in chainsaw carving and I'm carving bears so I was wondering how poplar would stand up to the test of time. I will be staining and putting a protective coating on top.
Thanks for you help
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-03-2008, 02:31 PM
AlArchie's Avatar
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Bessemer, MI
Posts: 6,665
Thanks: 0
Thanked 74 Times in 40 Posts
Default Re: IS poplar good wood for Chainsaw Carving

"Poplar" is a pretty generic term that seems to cover a lot of trees in the willow family. Most that I've crossed paths with (mostly big tooth and quaking aspen) are a mite harder than basswood, but still fairly easy to carve. They are straight grained and stable. But you are right, these types of trees, along with birch are very suceptible to decay, and probably wouldn't hold up well if left out in the elements. Staining and treating heavilly with a product like Thompsons Water Seal would be my suggestion. This would not physically seal the wood and allow for expansion and contraction while still "beading" water off the surface.
You should re-apply this stuff several times to begin with, allowing it to soak in heavilly and dry thoroughly between applications.
Even then, you'll need to re-treat every year.

Al
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-03-2008, 06:18 PM
twoclones's Avatar
Member - CCSG
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tri-Cities, Washington.
Posts: 680
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Default Re: IS poplar good wood for Chainsaw Carving

The poplar we have around here cracks badly and in our desert environment it cracks even more so. I wouldn't use it even for practice wood.
__________________
Butch Elrod / WoodHacker.com
Hacking Stumps, Sticks and Logs in Kennewick, WA
http://belrod.blogspot.com/

http://ChainsawArtistMap.com
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-04-2008, 09:17 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: IS poplar good wood for Chainsaw Carving

Thank you for your information It was because I can get hold of poplar and now I find out I can get some red pine so I will post the same question for it thanks
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-04-2008, 09:40 AM
AlArchie's Avatar
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Bessemer, MI
Posts: 6,665
Thanks: 0
Thanked 74 Times in 40 Posts
Default Re: IS poplar good wood for Chainsaw Carving

I'm not a chainsaw carver (yet) but have a few friends who do that and I have also looked at numerous chaisaw carvings from many different carvers all around our area.

One thing I have noticed is that ALL of the carvings have splits somewhere in the carving. I have also carved several large pieces from whole logs which I have sealed and seasoned for over 10 years. That should have stabilized them, right? WRONG!!!

As soon as I started carving, and opened the wood to the air again, WHACK!, cracks, splits, checks, whatever you wanted to call them started showing up.

Hey, wait, the dog is demanding to go out for his morning walk....I'll finish my train of thought when I get back.

OK, dog's business taken care of...

Now, the reason I bring up all this checking is directly related to why I recommended the Thompson's Water Seal..or it's equivalenmt. There are quite a few far better surface treatments than this stuff, but all of them that I've looked into are surface protectorants, and do nothing to seal up the cell structure inside those cracks and checks. And unless they are sealed, moisture, fungal spores, bugs etc can get into the wood through these areas. The water seal stuff can be flowed into the cracks and will seal them as efectively as it works on the outside. It also allows the wood to breath (let water VAPOR pass). This type sealer prevents liquid water from entering, but will allow water vapor to pass, so the wood adapts to ambient humidity..

Pine is far more resistant to decay than poplar, but should still be sealed against water. And if your piece has stabilized with no cracking, go with one of the heavy duty exterior finishes.

Al

Last edited by AlArchie; 02-04-2008 at 10:19 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-04-2008, 10:29 AM
twoclones's Avatar
Member - CCSG
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tri-Cities, Washington.
Posts: 680
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Default Re: IS poplar good wood for Chainsaw Carving

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlArchie
One thing I have noticed is that ALL of the carvings have splits somewhere in the carving.
There are a couple of approaches to dealing with checking... One is to beat the wood to it by cutting a deep kerf down the back and hopefully relieve the stresses which will later check the log. Another is to mark the log with a shallow kerf, for clocking purposes, then remove a thin slice from the end. This slice will dry quickly and crack, supposedly, in the same location where the log will eventually crack. Now one can position the future crack in the back of the carving.

In the long run, it's most effective to start with a more stable wood. The slower it grows, the slower it cracks.


Butch
__________________
Butch Elrod / WoodHacker.com
Hacking Stumps, Sticks and Logs in Kennewick, WA
http://belrod.blogspot.com/

http://ChainsawArtistMap.com
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-04-2008, 10:58 AM
AlArchie's Avatar
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Bessemer, MI
Posts: 6,665
Thanks: 0
Thanked 74 Times in 40 Posts
Default Re: IS poplar good wood for Chainsaw Carving

Two good tips, Butch! Thanks, I'll keep them in mind.

Al
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-06-2010, 03:55 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Jose/San Francisco, CA
Posts: 13
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: IS poplar good wood for Chainsaw Carving

I carve poplar to make marionettes and it works great. It doesn't splinter like pine and I even prefer it over bass because the extra hardness holds small details and joints better. The sapwood is almost white so it's a great base for stains and paints. Puppets are going to be better cared-for than other carvings, but I have seen some beautiful large outdoor carvings in poplar. Also, it's cheap and widely available!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-06-2010, 10:07 AM
Claude's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Ponchatoula, LA
Posts: 8,851
Thanks: 48
Thanked 328 Times in 285 Posts
Send a message via AIM to Claude
Default Re: IS poplar good wood for Chainsaw Carving

Here's another thought for you about preventing checking/splits: http://owic.oregonstate.edu/pubs/peg.pdf

Claude
__________________
My ETSY shop: Claude's Wood Carving

My Pinterest Page: Claude's Wood Carving and Beadwork

My WCI Gallery
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-06-2010, 10:11 AM
twoclones's Avatar
Member - CCSG
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tri-Cities, Washington.
Posts: 680
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Default Re: IS poplar good wood for Chainsaw Carving

When you carve marionettes, are you using kiln dried lumber and gluing it together to make your piece before carving? I'm sure that would work well.
__________________
Butch Elrod / WoodHacker.com
Hacking Stumps, Sticks and Logs in Kennewick, WA
http://belrod.blogspot.com/

http://ChainsawArtistMap.com
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
poplar wood brent Off Topic 1 12-01-2011 11:05 PM
Wood question - poplar??? allamericanjoe Wood Carving for Beginners 12 06-17-2011 05:33 PM
best chainsaw carving wood? snyder Chainsaw Carving 14 01-04-2011 01:20 AM
Is Poplar Wood Popular Merle Rice Carving Wood & Materials 34 07-06-2007 02:57 PM
Chainsaw Wood Carving Exhibitions/Competitions Guest General Wood Carving 3 03-03-2004 09:05 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:17 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2000 - 2010 Fox Chapel Publishing Co., Woodcarving Illustrated

SEO by vBSEO 3.3.2