Top Hardwoods for Carving

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Top Hardwoods for Carving

Hello there and I hope this article will be a piece of fresh air to some of you. You probably noticed the trend to recommend softwoods only, especially basswood, everywhere around us. That’s not surprising, really, considering the fact that it’s one of the easiest materials to carve, the least amount of issues and problems in the result and a great target for beginners. And usually these articles are written only for beginners for an easier introduction to the hobby we share. However, I’d like to talk about top hardwoods for carving.

Who doesn’t like a challenge, really? Especially when you are tired of carving all the same things all the time and of them looking the same because of the one wood that unites them. Believe me or not, as soon as you feel confident about whittling and test yourself with any type of hardwood, the chances of you wanting to go back to softwoods are slim to none. Of course, it’s a nice change of pace from time to time, but still. It’s so satisfying to be able to conquer the wood and make something good out of it that you won’t want to abandon the feeling.

So, now that that’s settled and probably not argued against, your choice of hard wood for carving (or any wood, really) will most likely depend quite a lot on the place where you live. It will influence the types of wood that are easy to find and buy in your area or easy to find in the forest or lumber shops. That’s why it would be a good idea for you to find that out before reading such articles (if you haven’t yet) – make it easier on yourself to reduce the shipping costs and whatnot.

Hardwoods for Carving


Now with that information in mind we can continue to observe top hardwoods for carving. My personal favourites in this case would be walnut, oak, ashwood and sugar maple. I like how resistant they are, how much soul and effort I have to pour into my work to get the result that I need. If you’re with me on this one, you’ll probably enjoy carving hardwoods as well. And if you decide to look for a place to buy, there are a lot of great advisors on the web for you to reach out to.

The reason for me to not promote anything is, firstly, because I don’t want to be subjective and mess up your perception of one or another wood type or reseller. I’ve also considered the fact that it’ll look commercial and that’s not my goal here at all. This is just some thought process written down on paper or, well, the Internet for anybody like-minded to feel good about or get some inspiration from.

Great wood carving forums and blogs will tell you significantly more than I can, share their more practical review than mine, give you the prices and links to buy if you get interested. That’s also a great way to chat with people that have been where you are and can give you some insight on that matter as well. They may help you greatly with finding a source of local wood material or at least the most common types there. So this is my shoutout to great sources such as Woodcarving4U, Woodcarving Illustrated and others that share their niche. Hope you’ll find what you’re looking for and I’ll see you around!

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