What wood for practicing lettering?

When you are starting out there are a lot of questions. Ask them here!

Moderators: jrccaim, Bob_Fleet, gavin, Robin Fawcett, HughSpencer

What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby mrcharly » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:42 pm

I'd like to try a bit of carved lettering. Only have hawthorn logs or cheap pine atm, neither of which are very easy for carving lettering.

What wood do you suggest?
mrcharly
Regular
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:18 pm
Location: York

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby gavin » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:57 pm

Lime
Gavin Phillips


- teacher, demonstrator & supporter of greenwoodworking & human-powered turning
- Supplier of Fun & Confidence

info@shed-therapy.com
http://www.shed-therapy.com
User avatar
gavin
Regular
 
Posts: 1595
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 4:17 pm
Location: Dalbeattie, near Dumfries, Scotland

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby mrcharly » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:32 pm

No lime round here (yorkshire)

Sycamore?
mrcharly
Regular
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:18 pm
Location: York

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby bulldawg_65 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:22 am

Do you have any birch? Soft Maple might work as well.
Phil Steele
bulldawg_65
Regular
 
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:10 am
Location: Noblesville, IN USA

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby gavin » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:59 am

mrcharly wrote:No lime round here (yorkshire)

Sycamore?

Keep looking.
Also Axminster sell it for wood carvers. Or I think I have some dry lime in the half round lying about which I am willing to mail you at cost if you want. Approx 1 kg and approx 12 inches long and 5 inch diameter.
Gavin Phillips


- teacher, demonstrator & supporter of greenwoodworking & human-powered turning
- Supplier of Fun & Confidence

info@shed-therapy.com
http://www.shed-therapy.com
User avatar
gavin
Regular
 
Posts: 1595
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 4:17 pm
Location: Dalbeattie, near Dumfries, Scotland

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby jacob » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:59 am

I'd have a go with anything you can get your hands on. Cheaper the better as you might want to scrap your first attempts!
It's all good practice and when you get something better you will appreciate the advantages.
jacob
Regular
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:56 am
Location: Derbyshire

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby mrcharly » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:08 pm

That's a really nice offer, Gavin.

I'll keep looking - trying to keep costs to zero, since have just spent up all spare coin visiting daughter in Bosnia.
mrcharly
Regular
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:18 pm
Location: York

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby ToneWood » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:35 pm

mrcharly wrote:...I'll keep looking - trying to keep costs to zero...

Spoken like a true Yorshireman ;) Hawthorne would probably work if it is still reasonably green/wet. I was given some hawthorn burrs but it looks pretty dry, I'll cut it open to see if it is wet inside, I might even try soaking it in water but I'm not real hopeful.

Lime wood, as Gavin already said, is probably your best bet. Called basswood in America, where you can buy blocks of it for carving. It carves well dry as well as wet/green; for letters dry might be better. I recently saw some blocks for sale in the UK but I forget where - an on-line woodcarving/tool/wood store I think, bit pricey though. I still have trouble identifying lime trees/wood (apparently their are at least two main variants in the UK) but fortunately my father-in-law seems to have no such problem and often points me at some or saves some for me. They are more common that I once thought.

I quite like green Beech for this kind of thing.. Scandinavians & Native Americans seem to be able to do anything and everything with Birch. Yes, sycamore (a.k.a. great maple) would probably work - it is used for cutting boards are those often have carved decoration. Field maple probably too. Green oak - but if you watched the BBC4 documentary on Grinling Gibbons recently you'll know that it won't take the same ultra fine detail as lime wood can. Ash, after it has been carved & dried a bit: it's common and there might be a lot it cut down soon... :(
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby Shankar » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:10 am

Try John Boddy Timber in Broughbridge north of Leeds- when I was in Yorkshire 15 years ago they had a good selection of wood.
Mind you its one of those places you walk into and walk out with with a much lightener wallet as its a bit of a wonderland for woodworkers.
They had lime, lemonwood is also fine grained and will carve well as might Basswood but don't quote me on that.

Mind you I went into a sawmill today and nearly walked out with a cherry plank which I didn't know what to do with just because it had a nice ripple in it.
Did come out with a 25mm by 20mm by 2 meter seasoned oak strip which is what I actually went in for; on I will practice having a go at steam bending.


Shankar
Shankar
Regular
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:37 pm
Location: Birmingham UK

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby mrcharly » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:43 am

ta for all the suggestions.

York council have been cutting back a lot of trees near roads and leaving a fair bit of the wood where it is cut - that's how I got the hawthorn. Seems to be a load of birch and ash up by a slip road, so I'll take the bike trailer up there tomorrow and see what I can get.
mrcharly
Regular
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:18 pm
Location: York

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby ToneWood » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:57 pm

Shankar wrote:......They had lime, lemonwood is also fine grained and will carve well as might Basswood but don't quote me on that...
Basswood is both a type of lime wood (L. Tilia americana) and another name for the family (like Lime, Linden & Tilia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilia. Yes it carves exceptionally well, as Grinling Gibbons demonstrated:
ImageImage Grinling Gibbons and the Art of Carving
Image

There is even real music staff and writing for a contemporary piece of music carved into the manuscript pages shown above - incredible. His story is quite sad though.
Last edited by ToneWood on Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby ToneWood » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:51 pm

Last edited by ToneWood on Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Lime wood blocks

Postby ToneWood » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:59 pm

My son just surprised me by saying he needs some wood to carve 2 pictures on for a school project next week. Normally I'd look in the firewood pile - its all but empty now - or try to find some green wood but it's short notice. The few pieces I have left are large, tall rounds put aside specifically for bowls (although one is lime wood, another ash & I have a half of oak & a half of Leylandii left over, hmm). Anyway, thought I better check out sources of decent lime wood for carving, I found two in the UK:

Tools&Timber, Penrith, Cumbria on ebay: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/toolsandtimber ... 581&_pgn=3
Rutlands: http://www.rutlands.co.uk/finishes-glue ... ing-blocks
Last edited by ToneWood on Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Lime Wood - Blank to Plank

Postby ToneWood » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:33 pm

Couldn't get a reply from the lime wood seller & their shipping times are quite long and time is short, so tonight I opted instead to split a long lime wood (we think it's lime wood - what do you reckon?) bowl blank - inspired somewhat by Jogge Sundqvist's book. As my greenest blank, I had planned to use up my older blanks first - but "needs must". I used my 4lb Spear & Jackson lump hammer, three very old splitting wedges and an ash off-cut as a crude glut to cut my first "plank". Being v. green, it was quite tough to split - thought I might need my big sledge hammer but in the end managedwithout by using a few powerful blows with the smallest wedge. I think it looks promising:
Lime hewn plank.jpg
Lime hewn plank.jpg (103.17 KiB) Viewed 9971 times

The image shows the best face. It's about 2" thick. Since the image was taken, I have removed a large branch stump from the back & trimmed the biggest curves with my Swedish carving axe - just a quick once-over. I put whole thing in my shave horse to start smoothing it. Then I sawed off the the most dipped & distorted end - the back of that small off-cut is reasonably good, so I will flatten that to make it a small practice block. There is quite a lot of work left to do but things have gone well so far.

I was hoping my son would decorate it & then, perhaps, let me use it to make a stool when he is done with it - but I think our plans have diverged already :D
Last edited by ToneWood on Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: What wood for practicing lettering?

Postby nic » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:06 pm

Doesn't look like any lime I have every used. All the lime I have seen as no obvious grain, I think that is partly why carvers like it, it is a blank canvas. The lime I have used was so soft when green that it was difficult to cut crisply. I would have thought that for lettering that it would be better dry. But as I say I don't think it is lime.
nic
Regular
 
Posts: 265
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:33 am

Next

Return to Beginner's corner

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests