Favorite type of wood to carve from

(Alex) #1

Bored at work and was just wondering what is your favorite type of wood to carve with and why? Also, why not your least favorite type as well. Ready, set, GO! I’m still pretty new and have only gotten to carve from MDF, Birch plywood, Walnut, and Red Oak. Favorite is Walnut and least so far has been would be plywood, mostly because I don’t have a 1/4 down cut bit. Sorry if this has a thread already did a quick search and didn’t see anything.



least favourite: MDF (or similar). Makes a mess, looks like barf

Most favourite: curley maple. Cuts sweetly, minimal tearing, doesn’t destroy tooling. Looks awesome with no more than shellac or clear lacquer. Smells nice, too. And, I got a good stock free a number of years ago helping a friend take a tree down.


(William Adams) #3

I’m really beginning to like how bamboo flooring cuts using a downcut (#251) endmill.

Really want to work out how to get a couple of 4 x 8 sheets of bamboo plywood from a local supplier and break them down to cut on my machine — I figure if I cut them into thirds (4’ x ~32" sections) I can run them through the machine pretty efficiently.

I’d like to cut more Ipê but am not willing to do so indoors, so have to move the machine to the deck or carport which is a pain.


(Mad Hatter) #4

My favorite is Katalox. It is hard, fine grained, comes in yellow and brown/black, and will shine up beautifully with just 400 grit and mineral oil.

I can engrave it with a 0.015in end mill and it comes out beautifully.

EDIT: Here is a nice example of a small Katalox cribbage board I made. I’m too lazy to separate out all of the other pics, so you get to see them all, but the Katalox is my favorite. Although, Bolivian Rosewood (Pau Ferro) is a really close second.


(Julien Heyman) #5

My favorite would be bamboo (forgiving and very little cleanup required) and oak (easy enough and looks very nice with a light shellac)

I really dislike pine, could never figure out proper feeds and speed to get a good result…

And for some reason, I like V-carving MDF (the star wars calendar has a special place in my heart as a minor milestone in my CNC progress)


(mikep) #6

I love cherry. Cuts clean, plenty hard to hold a nice clean edge, doesn’t warp like crazy as soon as you resaw a larger piece like maple can.

Yuck List: Cumaru(sp?) - Super hard, takes forever to cut, and even longer to sand out any ridges or imperfections left after machining. Second prize goes to MDF. What a mess.


(Dan Nelson) #7

I’m with Mike, cherry carves fantastic and is my favorite to carve. I gotta disagree with Mike on the maple though, but not because I think it carves super great, just love maple. So we got a Siskel and Ebert thing here;-)



(mikep) #8

I’ve done a lot of maple, I like the maple, I get irritated when it warps.


(Dan Nelson) #9

Friend of mine made me this several years ago. Curly maple stock for a CO2 air rifle. Ever since then I’ve never seen a piece of maple I didn’t like:

I have nowhere near the skills that my buddy has, his oil finish is like glass!



(Allyn Phillips) #10

My favorite is cherry, very clean no tear out on lettering like “e” or “a”, Maple and walnut are very good as well. Oak sometimes comes out stringy lots of fuzz and eventual sanding. Cedar and pine for me are bad for tear out especially small letters. Poplar if dry is good as well.


(Tito) #11

Abstracting some of the foregoing, and drawing from my experiences with maple, red oak, and pine:

dense, fine-grained wood gives excellent results (maple in my case);
dense but coarse-grained wood loses fine detail (red oak);
non-dense woods hold little if any detail (pine).

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