I need help choosing a species of wood for a sign carving project.

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Forum topic by BurlyBob posted 04-15-2014 03:25 AM 1150 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5936 posts in 2441 days

04-15-2014 03:25 AM

If any of you LJ’s have seen or know topamaxsurvivor, He’s got a really, profound quotation at the end of his posting. I want to hand carve a relief sign of this quotation to hang in my humble workshop. I’m kicking the idea of Cherry or Red Oak. I know that basswood/Linden is the standard carving wood. I intend to use a wood burner lightly on the background. I’ve kicked the idea of numerous species I can get. LJ’s, I live in the Oregon High Desert where nature favors no man. You folks in the midwest and eastern US make me so Jealous with the ease you find decent hardwoods and awesome collectible tools. I just want to carve something for the first time that will be unique to hang in the back of my shop. I’ve never thought I would want to handcarve anything.. Isn’t this the cool thing about this site it motivates us to expand our skill set???

Thanks so much,

Burly Bob

6 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29973 posts in 2513 days

#1 posted 04-15-2014 05:16 AM

I do a lot of things now that I would never have done before coming here. I am inspired by lots of people here.

To your question, both of your choices (or any wood) will work. I think most of the carvers will say to keep your tools sharp and be patient.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 1724 days

#2 posted 04-15-2014 09:55 PM

Cherry and Red Oak are carvable, but neither is easy to carve. Cherry is very hard and you’d definitely need a mallet for knives. Red Oak is very porous and will give you issues with break offs, ect. I’d try to carve some samples and see what works best for you. Poplar is a nice wood to carve. It’s fairly easy to work. You can push a knife or use a mallet. If you want a quality piece stay away from basswood. Good luck.

View BurlyBob's profile


5936 posts in 2441 days

#3 posted 04-16-2014 12:33 AM

I hadn’t considered poplar. What do you think of beech or maybe alder. Of the three alder is much easier to come by our here. Poplar…. I’m gonna give that some thought.


View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3217 days

#4 posted 04-17-2014 05:12 AM

I was thinking Juniper might be nice.

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3217 days

#5 posted 04-17-2014 05:18 AM

Maybe Topa. has a piece of wood he would be willing to part with.

View a1Jim's profile


117276 posts in 3752 days

#6 posted 04-17-2014 05:27 AM


-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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