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Leaves & Flowers in birch

I spent most of last winter carving a fireplace surround. I used birch for the carved panels. The wood was hard but carved well. The tight grain holds detail well. I built a cabinet out of birch last year and the wavey grain drove me crazy but as a carving wood it was less of an issue. I started a carving in basswood today and after many hours working on the hard birch it feels like carving butter.

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A beautiful fireplace surround, Tim.  I can imagine it took many long hours and very sharp tools tackling the birch, but the carving is crisp and has good flow.

Nicely done.  I noticed the background to the carvings is a lot more muted than the framing.  Did you use something else other than the birch for the background?  If that grain had continued into the carving it would be hard to pick out the details.

Interesting side note, quite a few years ago I was making some oak furniture.  An old retired neighbor of mine had been a furniture maker.  He saw the oak and had a fit!  He pointed out that no one would be able to see any of the molding details with all the grain.  I got quite a lesson that day lemme tell ya!  He was a pretty crusty guy, one comment I remember well was "You use walnut, mahogany, cherry for fine furniture, you build pallets out of oak."  Remember folks, that was him, not me!  So do not grind me to paste!  Oh, he said one other thing, "If you insist on making furniture out of scrap wood, then plan on painting it, that way people will be able to see the detail."

Alright, enough bloviating!

The carving is Birch and the rest is Black Ash. He must have retired before good hardwood eclipsed the price of gold.


Tim, that is really beautiful - and crisp! I am currently working on a project in southern yellow pine, and it really should be called southern yellow pain. Congratulations of a beautiful finished piece!

Yup, bloviating!

From Merriam Webster:

Bloviated; bloviating

Intransitive verb

To speak or write verbosely and windily     pundits bloviating on the radio

You have that right about good hardwood exceeding the price of gold.  I have the typical old guy problem: "How come things do not cost what they did back in 1967?"  Of course you will never hear any of us say, "Well sure, I will work for $2.50 an hour like I did back in '67."


Beautiful work!  And I didn't think you were bloviating at alll...  🙂