The Best Woods for Carving
Basswood isn't the only species that performs well under the carving knife
Basswood is the the most versatile wood for carving, but it’s not the only suitable species. Pennsylvania woodcarver David Sabol also suggests carving with wet white pine or tupelo. In this video, Sabol reveals the working properties of these woods and demonstrates how they carve.
Basswood workpieces are best when they’re light-weight and have uniform grain, Sabol says. The more condensed the wood fibers, the harder a piece will be to carve. But overall, basswood is an excellent choice for a variety of carving styles. Less commonly used is wet white pine, Sabol’s top choice for the figurines and wildlife carvings he makes. Native to the northern half of the United States, white pine is pliable and handles carving tools easily when freshly cut. Finally, Tupelo is a good choice of wood for power carvers, he says, though it is difficult to carve with hand gouges.