Spoon carving and water

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Forum topic by socrbent posted 08-29-2018 12:27 AM 652 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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908 posts in 2872 days

08-29-2018 12:27 AM

I know wet wood is easier to turn. Would soaking a spoon blank in water make bowl carving easier?

-- socrbent Ohio

3 replies so far

View ClaudeF's profile


1055 posts in 2310 days

#1 posted 08-29-2018 06:31 PM

If the wood is kiln-dried or has been air-dried for several years, it won’t help much, particularly harder woods such as maple and cherry. What some carvers do is to spray a 50-50 mix of alcohol and water on the wood and let it soak in for a minute or so, then they carve a bit. The alcohol helps penetrate the wood, but it doesn’t go very deep. Most carvers us Isopropal (rubbing) alcohol. If you use vodka instead, you can spritz the wood, then a spray in your mouth… :) Obviously, don’t spray rubbing alcohol or methanol in your mouth…

Another option with well-dried harder wood is to use power tools for the carving: Fordom/WeCheer/Dremel or angle grinders.



View mpounders's profile


946 posts in 3498 days

#2 posted 08-29-2018 09:08 PM

Green wood is easier to turn and usually easier to carve. But you do have some risks with it checking or deforming as it dries out. I used to carve a lot of “found” wood and discovered that just because you can carve almost any kind of wood, it doesn’t mean it is always easy or fun. Hickory isn’t much easier to carve when it is green than when it is dry. Kiln dried wood is usually more predictable and basswood is fun to carve. Just getting kiln dried wood wet doesn’t seem to make much difference in carving but a lot of people swear by the mixture Claude mentions. I usually try just a sharper tool, a power tool, or a different piece of wood! One of those usually solves all my problems!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View socrbent's profile


908 posts in 2872 days

#3 posted 08-30-2018 12:15 AM

Thanks Mike and Claude. The particular wood I’m thinking of in this case is some cherry cut down last fall into about 15” rounds. sealed the ends with Anchorseal and stored in my unheated garage. Yesterday I split a piece in half to make some small box turning blanks. I got 4 nice blanks that will be cut in half to make 8 lidded boxes. there were 2 2.5” x 1.5” x 13’ scraps I planned to carve spoons from. The wood was still damp but not exceedingly so. I stuck one end of each in large cups of water. Today they have soaked up water about 5 inches. I see what happens when I try carving tomorrow.

-- socrbent Ohio

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