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Palm Nuts

Ed Twilbeck

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I've only carved them when they are completely dried out. (By the way, your photo didn't load) From my understanding, and I'm sure you'll get more feedback about this, they are considerably easier to carve wet. In South America, they carve them wet, and I believe they shrink a little after they dry out completely, and get alot harder. I've always wondered if they'll crack if carved wet.


Please let us know what your experience is with them. At least you won't have to worry so much about the dust.


Debbie K

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Ed,


I am a little late to this thread. How did you fare with your palm nut pendant ? If you have a moment, please upload a photo of the piece.


I just finished my first tagua nut carving. Unfortunately, our climate does not permit growing palms so I bought a bag of tagua nuts from a wood carving supply catalog. Like Debbie, I carved it dry using mostly a flex shaft tool and an assortment of burrs. I did do some hand detail work using, excuse the pun, some small palm chisels. I was surprised that the nut was not as hard as I thought; however, power carving is the way to go on these nuts. I used white diamond buffing compound (available in jewelry supply catalogs) to finish the piece.


There is a void or hollow space in the center of the nut. This can pose a problem when designing an executing a palm nut carving. I had beginners luck: the void was bacon strip shape ( see first attachment) that just happened to be vertical to the mouse design I was doing. An opening appeared in the chest of the mouse that was slightly visible. My wife suggested I use a filler of nut dust and white glue to fill the opening. That worked well.


There is a TCP thread that describes some of the characteristics of tagua nuts ( click here ) that includes: color variation, oil in the nut, inlay problems, and appearance of black spots on the nut.


Would like to hear any "words of wisdom" from TPC members that have experience with these palm nuts.



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