finish for basswood before chip carving

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Forum topic by leonmcd posted 12-13-2011 02:43 PM 4036 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View leonmcd's profile


204 posts in 4883 days

12-13-2011 02:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: basswood finish chip carving

I want to apply a dark finish to a cylindrical basswood vase then chip carve a design on it. I want the contrast between the dark finish and the light basswood in the chip carving.

What would be the best finish. Basswood seems very porous. Will it suck up the dark finish like a sponge.

Thinking of using shellac to seal it first before applying the dark stain.

-- Leon -- Houston, TX - " I create all my own designs and it looks like it "

4 replies so far

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3997 days

#1 posted 12-13-2011 04:36 PM

If you are going to be making a cylindrical vase, you will have to have some scrap pieces to make a square
or rectangular piece round. Take the scrap pieces and use them to experiment. No two pieces of wood
are exactly the same, this way you will know exactly how your bowl will accept the stain and/or sealer. Not
saying how I learned about the difference it the same type of wood, but it was not too expensive and I
was able to correct it.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 3605 days

#2 posted 12-15-2011 12:09 AM

What about something like a gel stain.. or polyshades. Those seem to me like they would sit on the surface and not penetrate a whole lot

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View MyChipCarving's profile


657 posts in 4037 days

#3 posted 12-17-2011 01:29 AM

Hi Leon,
I can help you with the finish you are looking for. This will give you dark in the chip carved areas and light basswood surface. I’m not sure this is what you are looking for, but here goes.
1. apply 1-2 coats of sanding sealer (shellac based, wax free)
2. apply 2-4 coats of spray, satin lacquer.
3. apply gel stain with a small brush. Brush out excess stain in the bottom of the chip carved areas. Use a clean rag to wipe all excess stain from the surface.
4. let dry overnight
5. apply more gel stain to areas in the carving that are too light. let dry.
6. apply final top coat of spray satin lacquer.
let me know if you have any questions.

-- Marty,, 866-444-6996

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2858 posts in 3834 days

#4 posted 12-17-2011 03:21 AM

Have you tried to scorch the basswood first? Might work out kinda’ neat.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

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