What is the softest wood besides balsam for carving?

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Aspen runs pretty close. I grew up in northern New Mexico, and we'd get occasional pieces from downed trees. Very soft, and carved quite nicely. I have no idea if it's available commercially.
Doug White
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As others have mentioned basswood is a good type. I've found that air dried clear white pine and air dried walnut carve pretty nice. I've cut thousands of carving blanks for the Boy Scout camp out of those woods. Kiln dried pine is generally too hard but kiln dried walnut is OK.
I'd avoid things that don't have grain and a fibrous structure if you are interested in learning wood carving. As such, things like soap, linoleum and the various closed cell foams should be avoided. Learning to work with grain is a very important aspect of learning to carve.
Mary May and Rick Butz were presenters at my club's woodworking show last spring, and Mary was on Roy's show last year. Take a look at this video for discussion of the grain issues and how to deal with them.
http://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/video/2900/2905.html
John
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