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Forum topic by DKV posted 10-16-2013 12:35 AM 1151 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3940 posts in 2498 days

10-16-2013 12:35 AM

Last time I was at the lumberyard I noticed a very white (light cream) piece of basswood. Normally I order small amounts of hollywood for my inlay. Holly is the whitest wood I have found. However, the basswood I bought comes pretty close. Close enough to use it in place of holly which is fairly expense.

About the only thing I can use basswood for is inlay. But I do remember a few projects on this site that used basswood. How many of you guys use basswood and what is it typically known for. I know there is not much grain, it’s very light, very soft, etc. What other uses are there that I might use it for besides inlay?


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12 replies so far

View PittsburghTim's profile


230 posts in 2316 days

#1 posted 10-16-2013 12:53 AM


Basswood is the ideal wood for carving. It takes detail extremely well, has very little grain, and does not get fuzzy when carved like pine. It is one of the softest hardwoods and is easier on edged tools than other hardwoods.

Hope this helps,


-- She asked me, "Who are you going to please with that?" I said, "Me."

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58 posts in 1891 days

#2 posted 10-16-2013 01:18 AM

Back when I was in shop teachers school, long before CAD came around, the drawing boards we used were basswood. It was smooth, fine-grained and soft enough to let the needle of a compass penetrate easily.


View DS's profile


2916 posts in 2415 days

#3 posted 10-16-2013 01:20 AM

Yup, mostly it is used for carvings.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Monte Pittman

29220 posts in 2333 days

#4 posted 10-16-2013 01:20 AM

Carving is the main thing I know of.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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576 posts in 1929 days

#5 posted 10-16-2013 01:51 AM

I mainly use it for fishing lures and carving. I know it is used a lot for wood blinds, boxes, and some trim work.

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3940 posts in 2498 days

#6 posted 10-16-2013 02:05 AM

Thanks all, I was sure someone would say that’s what they use to make bassboats…:-)

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2964 days

#7 posted 10-16-2013 01:07 PM

Basswood, from the Lyme tree, is a favourite amongst carvers as noted above. Some furniture manufacturers use it for painted pieces, one of it’s qualities being it is a very stable material.

Difficult to get here, I was looking for some in my local timber merchants and all I got was a bewildered expression from the guy on the fork lift.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2916 days

#8 posted 10-16-2013 01:09 PM

I tried using basswood for inlay into cedar but found that ,because it is quite soft, the sanding dust from the cedar gets embedded in it too much. I now use soft maple for my inlays. (I do hundreds of inlay projects a year.) When I first started carving,, many years ago I used basswood for that.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

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8187 posts in 2571 days

#9 posted 10-16-2013 01:27 PM

I made the dai out of basswood and it was fun to work with
and easy on the chisels.

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3940 posts in 2498 days

#10 posted 10-16-2013 04:54 PM

Jim, I had the same problem but 80 psi takes care of the dust.

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View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2105 days

#11 posted 10-16-2013 05:02 PM

Basswood is also pretty good for thin box and drawer dividers and the sides of small drawers.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2498 days

#12 posted 10-16-2013 05:05 PM

Cessna, I was thinking the same thing. Right now I use poplar for sides and dividers but will try basswood. Thanks for the suggestion.

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