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Recommended board sizes for beginner projects


I am thinking about trying out woodcarving as a new hobby and would like to follow along your first beginner projects from the "Getting Started"-section. Is there a recommendation for the dimension of those boards, especially for the width and thickness?

I could get square,thicker blocks, of basswood  locally, that I could rip down with a handsaw and plane manually. I think they are meant/ better suited for 3D-work or woodturning. Sadly they are obviously not wide enough for the boards. What do you think about glueing boards together to get wider boards? While this is done in furniture making, would that be a "nono" in woodcarving?

The other option for me would be to order the basswood online, without the chance to check it out first.

The 4 pieces of wood I sell on my store all fit the bill for the free beginner lessons, and I personally box these up to make sure they are good quality wood. You can also order any size basswood or butternut from Wilcox Wood in Wisconsin.  They have been able to supply some beautiful, clean carving wood.

You can certainly glue up pieces of wood, but the only caution I would say is that there may be some grain change at the glue joint. You can be carving happily along in one direction, then it may completely switch where the pieces are glued.

If you have a local source, that would be best, as you can definitely put your eyes on it and customize size, etc. Keep in mind that northern basswood (hard winter climates) are better than southern (TN, NC).

Chris Ford has reacted to this post.
Chris Ford

Thank you for your advice and the link to the your shop. Now I know, what sizes I'll have to look for. I'd love to order from your shop but it is not a viable option in my situation, because I am living in Germany ?

I am still trying to find shops and sources for wood. Germany is mostly "power tool & plywood"-country, especially in the major cities in the northern parts of Germany. Traditional woodworking, be it carving or furniture making with handtools is pretty much nonexistant here or so well hidden and secret, that I haven't found that much yet.


American basswood is referred to as Linden in Germany. Good luck in finding a source.

@MaryMay I read somewhere that air dried wood is supposed to be better for carving than kiln dried. Is there any truth to this? If so, is it a noticeable difference? I'm really new to carving and just got everything together to start carving (golfers tape, carbon paper, template material and recommended chisels). Have my square of butternut cut and I'm ready to tackle that donut lol. After that is the Christmas bell and Madonna ornaments. Thanks. Was nice meeting you at Lie Nielsen open house.

Hi Robert, it's always nice to meet internet students face to face (you really DO exist). Have fun on the new carving adventure!

Most of the wood I have carved is kiln dried. If it was air dried, I was not aware, and haven't really noticed any difference. However, I have heard that air dried is more preferable to carve.

Has anybody else tried a side-by-side comparison? One day I will.


Wilcox link doesn't seem to work.

Yeah - I think their website is gone. Try this phone number - 715-466-2283