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Thread: Chip Carving lesson-learned: Moisture content makes a difference

  1. #1

    Chip Carving lesson-learned: Moisture content makes a difference

    Another post to get what I'm learning about chip carving into the archives. Experienced carvers already know all this, but maybe it will help another newbie. Hope so.

    Dennis Moor's book says 10-12% moisture content is about right. I don't have a moisture meter, but I was experiencing a fair bit of chipout, etc that I thought might be due to low moisture. (Knife is properly shaped and very sharp.)

    So I followed Moor's advice. I got a plastic container, put 1/4" of water in the bottom and placed my 3/8" practice board on a can to keep it out of the water. I put the lid on tight and let it sit overnight.

    The next day, the wood cut much better - sharp, crisp lines and no tearout. I did get a slight warp, so I've got uneven humidity to correct. But the wood is far nicer to carve.

    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  2. #2
    That's a good tip. I'm not a big chip carver but I expect your tip would work on any type of carving. Thanks!

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Fred,

    Oh no, I meant to mention the dry wood problem in that other thread but looking back I see I must have forgotten. I learned about the moisture from somewhere right off the bat so when I ordered basswood slabs I checked the moisture on arrival (good) then put the slabs in big plastic bags to try to keep them from getting too dry in my air conditioned/heated shop. So far, it's worked well.

    BTW, without a moisture meter you can still measure the exact moisture content if you have a sensitive scale - use the Oven Dry method. I have a couple of small, inexpensive scales that have precision to 0.1 and 0.01 gram (from Amazon). Cut a small sample from your wood, weigh carefully, then with an oven set to a low temperature dry the wood until the weight no longer changes. The original and final weights will give you the moisture content - more accurate than any moisture meter.

    I wrote about the method here.
    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....ven-dry-method
    (Just ignore where the thread went off on a tangent about microwaving bowls, nothing to do with measuring moisture content!)

    It sounds like you are making progress! Photos?

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    Another post to get what I'm learning about chip carving into the archives. Experienced carvers already know all this, but maybe it will help another newbie. Hope so.

    Dennis Moor's book says 10-12% moisture content is about right. I don't have a moisture meter, but I was experiencing a fair bit of chipout, etc that I thought might be due to low moisture. (Knife is properly shaped and very sharp.)

    So I followed Moor's advice. I got a plastic container, put 1/4" of water in the bottom and placed my 3/8" practice board on a can to keep it out of the water. I put the lid on tight and let it sit overnight.

    The next day, the wood cut much better - sharp, crisp lines and no tearout. I did get a slight warp, so I've got uneven humidity to correct. But the wood is far nicer to carve.

    Fred

  4. #4
    I'm glad it might be useful Mike!

    John, thank you Sir! I posted pics in a separate thread last night. They're pretty simple - nothing as nice as the lettering you carve on your Beads of Courage boxes. (I've just started practicing letters - nothing worth showing you yet.)

    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

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