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Latest piece in walnut

ive just finished this little grape vine piece in walnut.  The wood is so beautiful.  My mother has just informed me that the old walnut tree in her garden needs to come down which is very exciting regarding wood supply.  However I wonder if anyone knows if I need to ‘dry’ the wood before it can be carved or is it possible to carve straight after sawing up?


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Lovely work Lucy. Generally speaking, wood should be dry when carved. There are some uses of wood where it is desirable to do some of the work when the wood is "green" but not for the type of carving generally discussed in this forum. Some folks prefer air dried lumber and some prefer kiln dried lumber (advantages and drawbacks to both methods) and that discussion and how to do it is beyond a short discussion we can do here, but there are lots of videos online to help you with the subject. Good luck with using the tree and please do post your projects from it.

Hello Michael, thanks for your reply, I really had no idea that kiln and air dried are so different - I took your advice and found out lots of info about it.  Rather frustrating that time plays such a crucial role, I want it now!  But thanks again and for your kind words too,


Not to be too discouraging but it generally takes quite a while for logs to air dry. You have to seal the ends and I've heard it takes about an inch a year for a log to dry. Hopefully you're young enough to wait it out. The good news is that there is plenty of kiln-dried walnut available in lumber yards or online so you can keep on carving while you wait.  By the way, excellent job on the grapes and leaves.


One other option is to try and find a sawyer in your area that would be willing to exchange the log for some dried lumber but I would expect that the return to you would be about 25% of the original volume of material or less. It would depend largely on how many sawyers are in your area and the quality of the log.

Oh that's a great idea!  Thank you,



Hi Lucy,

Beautiful carving of the grape leaf and grapes! Great ideas and thoughts from everyone. I'll put my 2 cents in...If you were to carve the "green" walnut, do expect it to split. However, that's not always bad. Sometimes the splitting and cracking can add real character and age to the carving. It really depends on the style and what you want the results to be. Generally architectural or decorative carvings don't have this "character", and therefore you will want more stable dried wood. But if you are making sculptures from the logs, then it might work out. Also, as the wood is green, it's MUCH easier to carve, as it is quite soft. Either way, walnut is an amazing wood to carve. Have fun!!

Thanks Mary !  It’s something definitely worth doing just to see which way the woood will dry out and add to the character of the carving and it means no waiting around for the wood so I’m going to give green wood carving a go for sure.  Thanks so much for the suggestion,