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Seeking Advice - Defects in your carving blocks - How picky are you? Typical sizes sought after?

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Forum topic by janishwoodworksinc posted 05-22-2018 08:53 PM 4230 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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janishwoodworksinc

2 posts in 33 days


05-22-2018 08:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: basswood carving blocks woodcarving carving wood question

Hello all,

We are currently producing thousands of board feet of basswood carving blocks, and have a question regarding defects in the wood. As you probably well know, knots, cracks, wane, and streaks are often unavoidable after basswood logs have been sawed and kiln dried. Now that we are in the final production stage of creating these blocks, we are wondering how picky we need to be with eliminating all of this from our blocks. We hate to waste wood, but I understand that certain defects greatly decrease the carvability of the wood. We have eliminated the majority of the defects throughout the production process, but are still left with some stragglers now that we are chopping them to their final lengths. See the pictures below. Almost all of the defects are found at the ends, edges, or corners of the block, which will likely be carved off anyways, correct? Will any streaks in the wood get covered up with paint in most cases? I’ve actually heard that some carvers enjoy some wane “bark” toward the edges of the blocks because the grain toward the edge of the log carves nicely. I’m sure many of this depends on the carver and the project, but we are seeking a “general rule of thumb” answer.

Also, what are some common sizes sought after for basswood blocks? We are currently doing 6, 12, 18, and 24 inch lengths at various thicknesses and widths. Any suggestions?

Thank you so much in advance. We truly value your input, because without it, we wouldn’t be able to produce the quality products you desire, and would be doing this blindly.

Happy carving!!

-Janish Woodworks, Inc




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6 replies so far

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

1010 posts in 192 days


#1 posted 05-22-2018 09:14 PM

why don’t you separate and price them by grade ?
A = pristine – no defects
B = some defects, but overall solid
C = may contain voids, knots, bark, etc.
like when it comes to casework: stain grade and paint grade.

you could also get more feedback on http://woodcarvingillustrated.com/

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-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View ClaudeF's profile

ClaudeF

674 posts in 1736 days


#2 posted 05-22-2018 11:13 PM

I think a lot of wood carvers order blocks based on what sizes their bandsaws can cut. I have a 9” bandsaw, for example, and I can cut up to 3.5 inch thick wood with it. Blocks I normally order are 12×6 x 3, with a few 12×10 x 1 for small carvings. John’s suggestion is a good one, as is posting on http://woodcarvingillustrated.com/ You’ll have to register, but that’s not a big deal. If you have any problems, let me know; I’m a moderator on WCI.

Claude

-- https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

View TravisH's profile

TravisH

583 posts in 1964 days


#3 posted 05-23-2018 01:35 AM

Personally if serious about selling carving blocks you must grade in my opinion, as mentioned above. Individuals aren’t going to pay a solid price for possibly compromised pieces. Most basswood carving guys don’t want character, knots, cracks or defects they are wanting an easy to carve piece of wood.

The pieces you show for example I would have to worry about where the defect runs and how to avoid it. That said not like basswood is terribly expensive so not a deal breaker for many. Likely easier to sell that sort of wood in package deals. If I were looking for a specific block for a project I wouldn’t purposely select a piece with known defects. I have also cut those areas out and glued good wood back in on some pieces. More common in guys that carve fish then they will bondo the seams and sand smooth. Just extra work however.

Now not for sure the prices of basswood really warrant spending a lot of time on your part getting Grade A stock but could be wrong since it has been years since I last had to buy any.

Sizes…really any are fine. Guys like different things. I have used a lot of basswood over the years on making fishing lures so thinner stock will move also either to small time hobby builders or more serious guys that have small scale production settings. They will have specific size requests because of how their machinery is set up.

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

1010 posts in 192 days


#4 posted 05-23-2018 12:13 PM

another note: there are different styles of carvers that require different
sizes of wood. the standard short blocks are not for everyone.
Chip Carvers need wide wood: 1/4 – 1” thick
Sign Carvers need the same: 1 – 1.5” thick
Relief Carvers need wood that is 1 – 2” thick
and In the Round Carvers need the “blocks” of all sizes.

I have to purchase my bass wood off of e-bay and it is sold by the board foot.
so, if you are a new company just starting up, there is a very diversified user market
that you need to consider. not just big blocks of wood, but dimensional boards also.
in addition to the WoodCarvers Illustrated club, there are also other websites for chip carvers.
Sign Carvers that do not have to clear-coat their work use 30 pound High Density Urethane (HDU)
which is a thousand times more stable and user friendly than wood. (but it has to be painted).
lots to consider in trying to satisfy everyone.
good luck in your endeavors !!

.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

1010 posts in 192 days


#5 posted 05-23-2018 05:48 PM

if you haven’t looked already, ya’ll should check out his FaceBook page
https://www.facebook.com/janishwoodworksinc

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.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View janishwoodworksinc's profile

janishwoodworksinc

2 posts in 33 days


#6 posted 05-24-2018 12:13 AM

Thank you everybody for the valuable input. Because we have been very picky up to this point, the blocks that we currently have online are defect free, aside from a few streaks here and there. We will continue to produce this way, and any “waste” pieces will be tossed into a pile to be sold by the pound at a reduced cost at our retail store. Right off the planer we cut all defects out that are found near the middle, and they continue to get weeded out as we surface them on the joiner, rip, and chop them – the only that remain can be found on the corners and edges, so most should be happy with the quality of our “defected” pile as well. That’s the best we can do for now. Unfortunately the margins are pretty thin when dealing with basswood, so taking the time to sort them into numerous grades would not be practical for us, even at the production level we operate at.

With regards to sizing, it sounds like we need to begin leaving some longer, such as at the 8’ length, for those of you who do posts and have the machinery to cut to length for specific projects. Also, we haven’t yet gotten into doing wider 1” thick pieces for you relief carvers, so that’s an avenue we may consider as well. We have only been doing dimensional blocks that I’m assuming would be good for caricatures, ducks, fish, etc.

Thanks again, we would love to hear more input.

-Janish Woodworks, Inc

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