Which Wood

Hello Group,
I'm new to woodworking, but I want to form an Ankh out of wood (where my computer should be placed in). So the foot and the arms of the ankh should be made hollow and carved out with a chisel. (I know it's gonna be hard, but I want to try it anyway, plus I have to start with something, which interests me.)
My question is which wood would suit best for the task. From a friend I've heard that birch would be too hard for a chisel, so is there any better, which is also easily available at the local markets.
Finally I wanted to ask if I should use dryed, chemical treated or natural wood.
Thanks in Advance Dennis
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well, since you don't say where you are, I can't say what will be available in your local market.
but since what you are asking about is carveability, I can recommend, in no particular order, basswood, mahogany (the real stuff), poplar, oak, walnut,
avoid woods with stringy grain like fir, ash, most pine, alder, and woods with a high mineral content like ipe, apatong or teak.
no wood is too hard to be carved. however, the harder the wood the more of a workout it will be... it's worth it though. a medium-hard tight grained wood like birch makes a durable carving that takes nice crisp detail. the king of woods for carving is lignum vitae, which is one of the hardest woods on the planet.
the bottom line though is that your project won't use a lot of wood. get some of what you have available in your local market and have a try.
keeping your tools sharp will be a lot more important to success than selecting the exact right wood.
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To be honest I think that this project isn't suited to a beginner. I'd try something easier so as not to be disillusioned.
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How big will the Ankh be? How big is your computer?
Using a chisel to cut out a large hole is very difficult.
Also - you may need a solid piece of wood. (or else you have to join the wood together.) This is also difficult. We may be talking about sculpture-sized blocks of wood. This is more expensive.
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On Thu, 22 Feb 2007 12:24:43 +0000 (UTC), Bruce Barnett

I suspect that <http://www.jarrahwood.com could fix him up with an adequate piece, for a price.
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Thanks for the answers so far. I know this will be a tough project - I'm 28 and so I don't have time to make something easier first ;) - and that's why I divide it in parts:
1. The foot (ca. 40 x 40 cm) basically a rectangle, where the motherboard should be placed in. 2. The arms That's where my drives should be placed in. 3. The head Decoration only.
At the end, these parts are fitted on top of each other and all of it will be painted. Maybe it's also possible to make the rectangles out of plates, but I want to try the carving process anyway (if carving is too difficult, i'll make plates and add them together for the rectangle). Is there an electrical device which would aid me in the carving process (the hole of the foot would be a rather big) and isn't that expensive?
Cheers Dennis
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wrote:

Whoa, stop. I'm sensing confusion over terminology here.
When a woodworker uses the word "carve" he is generally talking about a form of sculpture (either that or serving a roast).
Do you really want to start with a block of wood that weighs several hundred pounds and costs a thousand dollars or more and take a hammer and chisel and pound on it until you have it in the shape you want?
If so, _why_?
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Yes, that's what I want to do, but I don't want wood which costs serveral thousand dollars ;) Additionally I want to make a hole inside the block so that I can stuff my computer equipment inside. In the afternoon I tested the whole thing with old wood (don't know which) and a chisel, and to my surprise it was relativly easy. So I'm confident that I can do it.
The thing I noticed is, that the woodwork depends on the sharpness of my chisel, which is new. But what do I do, if the tool get's blunt. Is there an easy way to sharpen it (like a special stone or something else). How do you sharpen your tools?
Cheers Dennis
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wrote:

Oh dear. Just getting that chisel sharp is an adventure you aren't prepared for :)
Since you're going to paint it I would suggest that you try making it out of MDF. Stack it up out of layers, you can cut each layer out with a jig saw or coping saw. You can probably reuse the parts you cut out in other areas. Then smooth the outside with a combination of work with a rasp/file and sanding. I would probably then go over it with bondo and sand again before painting.
Be sure to allow lots of ventilation for the motherboard and hard drives. And don't forget about the power supply either. And EMI shielding and grounding.
-Leuf
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Leuf wrote:

While he's at it, he might want to arrange for a little ventilation for himself, as well. Looks like he might be raising quite a cloud of MDF dust before he even gets to the bondo part.
If he's gonna go this (otherwise sane) route, he'll need to pick up a decent respirator on the way out of the lumber yard or auto supply store.
Bill
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welcome to the slippery slope.
do a search in this group for "scary sharp"
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: Hello Group,
: I'm new to woodworking, but I want to form an Ankh out of wood (where : my computer should be placed in). So the foot and the arms of the ankh : should be made hollow and carved out with a chisel. (I know it's gonna : be hard, but I want to try it anyway, plus I have to start with something, : which interests me.)
: My question is which wood would suit best for the task. From a friend : I've heard that birch would be too hard for a chisel, so is there any : better, which is also easily available at the local markets.
Based on what you've asked here, and the later post about sharpening, I don't think wood is the right medium. You're going to paint it anyway, so why no use papier-mache? Much less work, tools needed are minimal, and it would take less time and work just fine.
    -- Andy Barss
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