Discussions on this forum are membership-run. I (Mary May) will monitor conversations and will try and contribute as needed. However, I can't guarantee that I will always have time to keep up with the discussions. Please feel free to contribute, as the only way this forum will be successful is if members get involved! I will also be the "judge and juror" with inappropriate, rude, or offensive behavior, so play nice!
Forum breadcrumbs - You are here:ForumForum: WoodFavorite Carving Wood?
The discussions on this forum can be read by anyone, but if you would like to join in and participate, please login or register as a Free Member.

Favorite Carving Wood?

PreviousPage 3 of 5Next

Has anybody carved in tupelo? I have heard it is similar to basswood, but have not had a chance to carve in it. Supposedly it grows down here in South Carolina.


I bought some blocks of tupelo at the Waterfowl Festival years ago and have used it for some small carvings.  It is easy to cut and  nice to work with.


I guess the majority of members on the forum, are from the Northern hemisphere. Wanted to post a photo of Red Gum from the Southern Hemisphere. It grows mostly along creeks or rivers. The grain can be very wavy and is not the easiest to carve, but it is my favourite. The stubby I carved is Red  Gum sandwiched with a baige coloured common gum tree. The timber from eucalypts that grow near my house show a yellow colour.

Uploaded files:
  • 03B779D8-A6F8-4E5C-93F4-930A77013932.jpeg
  • CDBA2396-8C64-4ACC-A3D2-BA3D44C86078.jpeg

That is very nice, thanks for sharing.  Never been down under myself.

Mahogany is good if you can find old true mahogany. Try looking at old furniture that has been put out for trash. Sometimes you can come up with some really nice wood.

picked up an old bedframe, head and footboard and rails.  all 8/4 mahogany stock,  alongside the road FREE pile.  major score, shared with son.  the rails were 2 1/4 x 3 1/2",  nice lumber!

Good suggestion Rick, and good score Michael! Some of the salvaged mahogany is the best to carve.

I'm going to have to try tupelo if I can find a source.

I’m just starting to have a go at some carving. I’m in Tasmania, Australia and was wondering if anyone has much experience carving with wood that I have readily available. Looking online it seems allot of people find hand carving with these woods quite difficult. I’ve done some basic leaves, flowers and spoons. It’s been a little hit and miss with grain splitting. I’m sure that it’s mainly due to me and tools that could be sharper.

I have a shed full of blackwood, some myrtle, some sassafras (I’ve found this the best to carve) and a little bit of Huon pine.

It would be nice to think I’m not going to just be frustrated trying to achieve a nice clean carving before investing more time and money.

Thanks, Chris.

I just realised that the northern hemisphere also has a sassafras that is different to the Southern Hemisphere. It seems that by the time Europeans got to Australia they had run out of new names. so we also have Tasmanian oak and Victorian ash, both eucalyptus.

It is really confusing Chris. I work in an antique shop, the general mentality of dealers is ‘if I don’t know what the timber is, I will just call it Oak. Then at retail Eucalyptus is called Oak.

Michael Duncan recomeded Decrotive Woodcarving by Graham R Bull late last year https://www.marymaycarving.com/carvingschool/lets-talk-about-woodcarving/?view=thread&id=92 

I purchased on his recommendation, the author is Australian & so you should really try to find it.  I have tried to carve seasoned Blackwood & found it to be really difficult. In the G.R.Bull book I just referred to the author claims its ok to carve it green (unseasoned) I havn’t Had a chance to try that yet. Blackwood is timber from a Wattle tree & to add further confusion in the G.RBull book he refers to it as Gidgee. I’m assuming as you travel further north the indigenous name for Blackwood has come into common use.

Have any members ever experimented carving green wood? Sounds very risky.

If your concerned about spending money on timber. I recommend purchasing second hand. Buy a run down dressing table at auction & break it down. See what you can make of it. You can’t learn about the timber without experimenting.



PreviousPage 3 of 5Next