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Thread: How to finish Basswood carving?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Carlsbad, CA
    Posts
    1,474

    How to finish Basswood carving?

    Doing my first Basswood carving, shallow relief floral arrangement for fireplace mantle. 7" square. Ultimately I plan to paint it white, but am wondering if I should first "seal with something first- maybe shellac wash coat? My concern is there is lots of fine detail that I don't want to obsc.

    I very much appreciate all suggestions!

    Thanks, Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    3
    Mike, when carving soft wood like bass, you need to take into consideration
    the finish you will be using and make the adjustments as you carve.
    if you plan on sealer, primer and paint as the finish, you know it will fill in the fine details.
    therefore, you need to accentuate the details to compensate for the thick finish.
    stains and clear coats, not so much.
    best of luck and looking forward to seeing your completed project.

    .

    .
    Last edited by John_ Smith; 08-14-2019 at 9:54 AM.
    Some people are like the Slinky: Pretty much not good for anything
    but still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    SW Missouri
    Posts
    27
    I typically seal all my basswood carvings if I'm going to paint them. I usually apply one coat of water based Minwax sanding sealer if I'm going to paint with acrylics and want the grain to show though. If applying paint to cover, I'll apply at least two coats, with light sanding after each. I've also used shellac in same manner with similar results.
    .... Dave

    Old carvers never die.... they just whittle away.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Carlsbad, CA
    Posts
    1,474
    Thanks Dave and John, I really appreciate the advice! Hopefully when I get this finished I post some pics.

    I'm not much of a carver- my primary interest is hand tool woodworking/furniture. Something I would like to improve is speed - carving takes me forever. Most of my previous projects have been for furniture and scale of carvings is usually fairly small 2-3". Does it get faster when the scale is bigger?





    This is my first project in basswood and one thing I have learned it's super fun to carve and a lot easier than many furniture grade hardwoods. I don't want to impose on the knowledge of the forum, but as long as I'm asking, also wondering about suggestions for:


    * Best tool to clean out waste/smooth background in small areas? Current project is floral arrangement with lots of narrow spaces between stems, leaves etc. and it's seems like some kind of small scraping tool would work? Maybe a dremel?

    * For the small round "berries" in floral carving, is there any kind of round punch or maybe small diameter steel tubing I could sharpen that would make this faster than outlining with small #6 -8 gouge that requires multiple plunge cuts to make a circle?

    Thanks, Mike

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