I have a good size (20-24" dia) basswood tree that got blown partially over,
about 45 degrees, last spring. It's still alive but I'm going to take it
down because it just look weird like that and is kinda dangerous. I know
lots of folk use basswood for turning and carving but I *don't do that*. I
am thinking of sawing it into planks with my chainsaw mill. Does anyone use
basswood for anything in board form? Does it air dry well - flat, no cracks?
I suppose I could cut it into chunks and keep them around till I develop a
hankerin for turning ;)
dschwalm a t earthlink d o t net
Insides, underneaths, and painteds. Anything that tulip "poplar" is used
for. You want to get it sawn and stickered quickly, because it goes brown
in the log without trying. Those who decry its "grainlessness" haven't
worked much with it. Open-grown bass, with its abundance of limbs can
produce some wonderfully figured reaction wood. Close-grown bass spends
its energy fighting for light. Those straight-grained pieces make bass one
of the most cooperative and stable woods you can get.
Problem is, there's so much of it, and no demand. I can still get it from
the mills for <$200MBF.
Slab it into 4" planks, leave them as long as you can handle and
sticker them carefully. It's an easy timber to season, even in thick
sections like this. It also means that you can resaw them to boards in
the future, or sell them as useful carving blocks.
You may also find an urge to carve it. I'm no artist carver, but I do
sometimes need to do mouldings. Lime is a lovely wood for this, just
the right hardness and no perceptible grain. Stains well too, so it's
quite easy to blend into other work.
I use it for Japanese-style cabinetry, as a substitute for some of
their timbers that I can't get hold of; paulownia or zelkova.
There's about 60' of 4" lime board floating around here. I scored a
stack of it just before Xmas 8-)
Do whales have krillfiles ?
A lot of folks will use basswood planks stacked up to build ship
models. It's called the bread and butter method. Of course, that's
probably more a result of being unable to get thick enough planks more
than wanting to glue up existing ones. Although a glued up pile might
be a bit more stable - I'm not sure about that.
Bread and butter is a way of shaping hulls. You have profiles of the
hull at various heights (effectively a "contour map") and it's then
easy to scrollsaw to these outlines, stack and glue.
You can also carve a hull from solid, and basswood is stable enough
that you could do this for quite a large hull without warping or
splitting problems. However it's an awkward bit of carving (lots of
templates) if you're aiming for an accurate shape, or even a
Another use for basswood is for kids' woodworking. It's the ideal
timber in many ways, easy to work, strong enough to be useful in thin
sections (better than balsa) and it doesn't show those annoying
tree-like behaviours that cause us so much trouble with moisture
Do whales have krillfiles ?
Thanks for all the ideas and input. I am going to go ahead and drop and
plank it. A neighbor wants the butt for a woodturner friend of his. Next I
have to get to the dozens of big white oaks that are down.
: Hi all
: I have a good size (20-24" dia) basswood tree that got blown partially over,
: about 45 degrees, last spring. It's still alive but I'm going to take it
: down because it just look weird like that and is kinda dangerous. I know
: lots of folk use basswood for turning and carving but I *don't do that*. I
: am thinking of sawing it into planks with my chainsaw mill. Does anyone use
: basswood for anything in board form? Does it air dry well - flat, no cracks?
: I suppose I could cut it into chunks and keep them around till I develop a
: hankerin for turning ;)
: dean s
: afton mn
: dschwalm a t earthlink d o t net
Basswood is often used in carving. It holds edges very well. I've
seen lots of figurinnes done in basswood.
My woodworking projects:
Replicas of 15th-19th century nautical navigational instruments:
Restoration of my 82 year old Herreshoff S-Boat sailboat:
Steambending FAQ with photos:
"Improvise, adapt, overcome."
Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Phone: (617) 496-1558
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