Wood Library - Basswood

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Blog entry by GaryK posted 05-21-2008 03:08 AM 1598 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Basswood – Tilia americana

If you love to carve then this is the wood for you. It has a cream color with very little to no pattern from grain so you can cut it in basically any direction. Very easy to carve.

It’s not the greatest for machining and tends to rip or crush under the pressure of a cutting tool and when sawn it leaves a fuzzy or woolly surface. It’s also not very strong and tends to break into small pieces.

One of it’s best attributes in addition to it’s carving characteristics is it’s stability. It tends to maintain it’s shape. That’s one of the reasons that it’s used for making the keys in keyboard instruments.

Best of all is that it’s inexpensive.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

4 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3797 days

#1 posted 05-21-2008 03:25 AM

thanks for the info Gary. I’ve always heard carvers rave about basswood but i didn’t know that it didn’t machine well. thanks for the info.

View PaBull's profile


956 posts in 3693 days

#2 posted 05-21-2008 03:31 AM

Gary, have you thought about putting pictures with the wood library blogs?

thanks for the info.

-- rhykenologist and plant grower

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4059 days

#3 posted 05-21-2008 12:01 PM

Hi Garry

I really appreciate the work you are doing with this series on different woods – I think it is great. Acouple of suggestions if I might.

Include the Latin name for the species you are talking about – This helps for regional names for the same wood.

How about formalizing the information and layout, such as a table with various headings, so the same information is in the same place all the time – and if you are missing some information, then others can also do some research to fill in the gaps. Maybe Martin could formalize the information and give it its own link, maybe under reviews. Keep up the good work -

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4429 days

#4 posted 05-21-2008 02:16 PM


Every so often I am going through some wood i got as Maple and I run across a board that has a rough surface. I guess it might be basswood, because of the description that you stated.

Thanks for the ingo.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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