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Thread: Basswood - What Size? What moisture content?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bloomington, IN
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    21

    Question Basswood - What Size? What moisture content?

    We've recently cut down a large Basswood tree. The diameter at the butt end is about 30".

    I'm a wood turner, not a carver. We want cut chunks to optum size and kiln dry to optimum moisture to sell. All proceeds will go to a purchase of a lathe for out wood turning club, the Village Wood Truners in Bloomington, Indiana.

    We've got a band saw mill and a local kiln for the purpose.

    So, what is the optimum moisture content for carvers? What dimensions are in most demand?

    Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    I’d say if you stay in the common range for most woodworking, 8-12 you should be fine.
    As to size? It depends. Times I like 8/4 if I’m making big blocks. Or 4/4 if I’m milling it down for onlays. Some guys like whittling smaller figures so sticks would work. So there really isn’t a good answer besides dry what you have and rip/cut blocks as they’re needed. And too, if this is getting mailed massive pieces won’t really fly. Smaller blocks I’d guess would be if the most interest.

    So just like you being a Turner. What is the optimum size for turning? Could be pen shafts , newel posts or salad bowls. What’s the optimum size?

    then too just go to a site like Heinecke who specializes in this very thing and see what they sell.
    Last edited by Mark Yundt; 10-11-2018 at 8:06 AM.
    The Woodworking Studio

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    6,339
    I don't know the optimum, but a couple of my chip carving books mention that moisture a little higher is better than a bit too dry. They recommend putting dried basswood stock in plastic to keep it from drying out too much in conditioned spaces. I did this with slabs I bought from Heinecke.

    As for sizes, my use of basswood is primarily for chip carving on turnings. I bought 8/4, 12/4 and 16/4 planks from Heinecke from 8 to 12" wide and 4' long. This allows me far more flexibility for use than if I had bought blocks. I can cut 4x4 end grain blocks, 2x10 face grain blanks, or resaw as desired for flat work. Since most of my use is turning this fits me perfectly.

    BOC_C_Jack_01_IMG_6687.jpg BOC_A_comp.jpg chip_carved_goblet_c.jpg ornaments_chip_carved_IMG_5.jpg chip_mess.jpg

    Since you might get a better profit from more traditional carving-sized blocks, you might visit a carving shop or do some on-line research and see what sized blocks are typically offered for sale and the prices. I know that small thin boards are always offered for practice, boxes, and small gifts. Be sure to check with suppliers like Heinecke to see what they offer: http://www.heineckewood.com/blockwood1.htm

    What you can sell the wood for also depends, of course, on the type and quality. What I bought from Heinecke is beautiful, white, no knots or defects. Some that I've seen in a local carving shop was not up to the same standard.

    Also, I don't know how to tell the difference, but the experts in chip carving suggest using "Northern Basswood" only, warning that "Southern Basswood" grows too fast and the grain can be too coarse for chip carving. I don't know if people who carve ducks and old bearded woodsmen have the same requirements.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pearsall View Post
    We've recently cut down a large Basswood tree. The diameter at the butt end is about 30".

    I'm a wood turner, not a carver. We want cut chunks to optum size and kiln dry to optimum moisture to sell. All proceeds will go to a purchase of a lathe for out wood turning club, the Village Wood Truners in Bloomington, Indiana.

    We've got a band saw mill and a local kiln for the purpose.

    So, what is the optimum moisture content for carvers? What dimensions are in most demand?

    Thanks for your input.

  4. #4
    Same here. My stock usually runs 8/4 x 10-12 x 12-14 ft.
    The Woodworking Studio

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