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soft woods


Garrett McCormack

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I like working with found materials, but often all I can find is very soft! Its essentially a temperate rainforest where I live, so any good woods that might be found have often quickly succumbed to rot from water, insects, and fungus. So I suppose, Any tips on finding fun carving materials? If I am lucky every once and a while I find a shed antler, or a nice piece of wood...I am not against buying a piece of ebony or something, but finding materials in my local area (for free no less!) is a very attractive thing. :)

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Hi Garrett,

 

Not too far from where I grew up in Fort Walton Beach! Try looking into holly (should be lots for free in the woods in Tallahassee), camelia or azalea, the knots in rotted pine ("lighter pine,"

"boy scout gasoline," - it's very resinous, but can be interesting to carve, especially with hand tools - gummy with power tools), dogwood, any fruitwoods (no oranges near you, but you might know someone further south), also any exotic trees and bushes in people's yards (ask before you cut, unless you don't like them!?), cedar (aromatic), juniper (in yards), persimmon, scrub maples (lots of small ones in the woods), scrub oak (if it has been dead for a long time can be quite dense and hard - occasional surprises in the firewood pile).

 

That's all I can think of right now.

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Thanks for the reply, those are interesting suggestions! Yes, sometimes I find dead stumps in the woods that are really nice material...they look terrible on the outside but when you cut in, what a surprise. Azalea is certainly plentiful, and I imagine I would want to find some thick stump like pieces. Camelia might be nicer, but harder to acquire, unless one of the large gardens nearby has some sick/dead bushes. Of course, like you said, plenty of people have neat stuff in their yards, but then for some reason they dont seem to like me rootin around much, cuttin up chunks of their ornamental plants...lol. And what with the rash new laws coming into effect here where force can be met with force, legally, in public, we Floridians must be extra careful whose lawn we walk on :blink:

I always look for anything "scrub" or "root" or the like. Wood is good :rolleyes:

Lighter pine will be interesting to try...maybe the knots have less resin? The fatwood itself is often so sticky with resin...not something I would want on a finished carving..unless I could stabilize the resin or something.

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Garrett,

 

Remember to dry the wood slowly and carefully. That may also reduce the pitch stickiness problem.

 

Lets open a topic about drying wood for future use in the Materials topic so that the subject is easy to find in the future.

 

Janel

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For a while, my father-in-law lived near a company that made high-end sun rooms for people's homes. He routinely got all sorts of cast-offs in mahogany and oak which he burned in his woodstove- I'd grab a few pieces before they were sent to the flames.

Try and see if there's a musical instrument workshop near where you live. They use many similar woods as miniature carvers, and may have small scraps that would be perfect for a bead, or 2 inch carving...

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