Adventures In Carving #1: I love Pine, I dislike Pine

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Blog entry by Buckskin posted 12-10-2007 05:55 PM 2205 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I have been teaching myself the art of carving since my wife came home with a copy of “Woodcarving Illustrated” this summer. I started out with a trusty Buck pocket knife and have grown to a Japanese 5 piece detail set and a Flexcut bench knife.

Since I am new at this I had not run out and purchased basswood, butternut or anything else. I have a box full of scrap 2×4, 2×2, and 1×2 pine to play with. I have found that pine is way to lose grained for some carvings.

I have some scrap red oak in box my box of goodies as well. I have found that I don’t have the time to pump up, to look like Hulk Hogan, to push through the oak.

Anyway, this is basically a rant on pine. I love it for lots of things I make because of my romance with the Old West. I dislike it because when carving and with one little slip “ohhh, sugar!”

This piece was an off shoot of Snowdog’s, It had a bit of checking that I did not think was very deep or would cause problems as the piece progressed, WRONG!

Live and learn!

Off my box and back to work!


p.s. In the background is a Santa from the latest Woodcarving Illustrated and a Snowman of my own desire.

p.p.s. Yes they are both Pine. Wish me luck!

8 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5403 days

#1 posted 12-10-2007 06:02 PM

i’m wishing you luck! :)
I have the same relationship with pine and my scrollsaw—easy to work with but then “snap” .. game over.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5205 days

#2 posted 12-10-2007 06:52 PM

Good ol’ pine.sorry firewood, terrible fence posts, not bad for floors but cuttin’ and carvin’, uh-uh.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View snowdog's profile


1181 posts in 5225 days

#3 posted 12-10-2007 08:15 PM

Go get the Basswood you will enjoy carving it and it is cheep :)

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5542 days

#4 posted 12-10-2007 08:40 PM

Welcome to the world of Carving!

I’ve found that quarter sawed White pine, or of any kind of pine is great for relief carvings.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5542 days

#5 posted 12-10-2007 10:31 PM

I was just thinking, Are you sure your knives , & chisels are sharp enough.

I even had trouble with Pine, & Basswood, until I found out I wasn’t doing a good enough job of sharpening. You have to use a leather strop with a real fine grit, for a real sharp edge.

Your tools edge should have a mirror finish.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 5319 days

#6 posted 12-10-2007 11:35 PM

I commisserate with you, Buckskin. I have same problems with pine and redwood, too! If you need a relatively inexpensive place, try this. It is

They usually have some killer deals on wood, including basswood. Check their “garage sale” and internet specials. They had a lot of larger basswood last month on garage sale.

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View Robert Smith's profile

Robert Smith

102 posts in 5164 days

#7 posted 12-11-2007 01:13 AM

Some Pine carves good, bass wood is probably the best though. but i rip scrap 2by4 pieces to make santa ornaments. building cabnet’s or so forth with pine sure clogs sand paper.but due to breathing problem’s i dont sand my carving’s. use a old belt glue it to a piece of srcap wood rough side up ,to make a strop . stropping ever few minutes keep’s you from sharpening as often . i find hone compound at big flea markets( who knows what the grit size is but it’s cheap)

-- Robert, [email protected]

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 5097 days

#8 posted 12-11-2007 04:37 AM

Pine is a very unforgiving (at the worst possible moment) wood.
I like the rustic look you can get with it, but I don’t like how
unpredictable it can be. I should be the only unpredictable anything
in the shop.

-- Still learning everything

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