Limewood is a popular wood when it comes to woodcarving and woodworking projects. Limewood is the same as basswood. They only differ because of their origin.
Limewood is known as the European version of basswood. But there are certain differences between these two you should know before carving with lime wood.
I was curious Is lime wood for carving, when I’m new to woodcarving and I did some research to find out, Lime Wood for Carving.
Here is what I’ve found:
Lime wood is excellent for woodcarving because of its strength and stable structure. Lime wood is extremely soft and crisp, and the workability is high. Lime wood is less favorable to break at edges which is extremely useful in woodcarving and gives a smooth clean surface. Lime wood is a very satisfying wood to work with.
But there’s a lot more to know about carving with lime wood. Lime wood is a highly recommendable wood especially for beginners due to the various properties it has.
From this article, I’ll discuss why lime wood is useful in carving, the properties of lime wood, the advantages, and disadvantages of taking lime wood for your next woodcarving project, how to carve lime wood, and many more with examples.
So, let’s get going!
Why Lime Wood Good for Carving?
Lime wood is excellent for intricate woodcarving and woodworks exceptionally easy to work with tools and materials.
It is popular in hand whittling, woodcarving, instrument making, model building, picture framing, and many more.
The workability of lime wood is high and important when working with the close grain structure of wood.
Most of the woods are not good for carving because especially when carving edges, they tend to break and never give a sharp and smooth finish. The cracks and rough edges make your final output dull.
But when comes to lime wood, it does not break when carving edges and very easily smoothen the surface, and give a nice appeal.
Lime wood is very soft and lightweight, you don’t feel much pressure even when you’re hand carving with a huge block of lime wood.
Whilst also carving, nailing, turning, gluing, polishing, and staining effectively.
Belgian coat of arms Vandorpe now ready with family motto. Looks very nice. Limewood carving, 57 cm high. #coatofarms #familycoatofarms #heraldry #familycrest #crest #familiewapen #familienwappen #wappen #geschnitzteswappen #blason #armoirie pic.twitter.com/x2pRGmex5I— Patrick Damiaens (@heraldicinwood) July 15, 2020
Lime wood keeps shape while carving and fibers don’t get fuzzy or hairy when cutting with a chisel or knife, like most other woods. It has nice linear grain without any defects.
Lime Wood Properties that are Important in Wood Carving
1. High Workability
Lime wood is the easiest wood to work on. It is soft and light wood. Even though lime wood is softwood, it is comparable to oak wood in terms of strength.
Wood carvings that are made out of lime wood have great strength than other softwood carvings.
Lime wood has great split resistance and fuzziness which is pretty much useful when working with sharp cutting tools.
Because of its high workability, lime wood is the best wood for hand carving.
Lime wood screws, nails, and glues easily and can be stained and sanded with a smooth finish. It dries easily with little degrade.
Lime wood has relatively high shrinkage but has great dimensional stability when dry.
2. Nice Appearance
Color and appearances are the top factors that you should consider in woodcarving. Lime wood has an even and fine texture that results in beautiful carvings.
The pale white cream color is uniform and spread all over the wood. This pale cream color will turn yellow over time.
Part 3: final part of my rose triptych.— Woodywoodspirit (@Woodyspirit) January 23, 2021
Carved from a 1 inch square piece of lime wood. @Madein_Mon @IngridASLW @RobertSorby @Morakniv #woodcarving #handcarved #carving #carvedwood #rose #woodenrose #woodart #woodartist #limewood #whittling #welsh pic.twitter.com/sGLdZNqv2o
Besides the health risks due to dust while working with wood (common in all types of wood) there are no health effects when working with lime wood.
Lime wood is an odorless, non-toxic, and food-safe wood. You can use lime wood to carve children’s toys, kitchen utensils, without any issue.
Pros and Cons of Using Lime Wood
Here, I’ve discussed the advantages and disadvantages I have experienced when working with lime wood for a long time.
Advantages of Lime Wood for Carving
- Sustainable woods are available
- Readily available
- Easy to carve because of being soft
- Easy to bring details because of great properties
- High strength
- Easy to finish
Disadvantages of Lime Wood for Carving
- Less durable than most of the wood available on the market
- Not good for large wood carving projects
- Expensive than most other wood types
How To Carve Lime Wood
If you’re a beginner at woodcarving with lime wood, you can try it. There are several steps you should follow to do lime wood carving properly. Don’t hesitate to try it.
Try to carve simple projects first before head into the advanced ones. That’s how woodworkers do. To get going, here I have given few steps to follow:
1. Make A Sketch
This is the most important part that every woodworker should do, but most of them skip. Sketching very important to get an idea about what you’re going to make and how you’re going to do it.
If you’re sketching have enough details, you can follow steps to carve your object easily by completing each of those details one by one separately.
If you’re designing a simple object to carve, draw a simple sketch with its outlines directly on the lime wood surface without going for a paper sketch. This method is effective for simple woodcarving projects.
If you’re going for a sculpt with a large number of details, I highly recommended taking time and sketch on paper with its front view, back view, and side views.
This will create 3D model in your mind to get the perfect output. By sketching before the woodcarving, you’ll be able to visualize the ultimate output of the project with extra motivation.
2. Chisel The Shape
Using a chisel, you can chip away the lime wood though a particular direction. For example, if you’re willing to carve an animal, then shape your lime wood separately for head, body, legs, and tail.
By separating parts at the initial stages, you can easily carve the project without continuously looking at the sketch.
When you’re using a chisel, with lime wood, you’ll feel very easy to do the carving, because of the high workability and lightweight of the wood.
This is why lime wood is excellent for beginner woodworking projects.
You can use a knife with a sharp blade to add little details with the combination of a chisel.
3. Finishing and Sanding
Lime wood is a type of wood that has all the quality befits that woodworkers love. Sanding is easy with lime wood because It easily gives a smooth surface as you wish.
After finishing the sculpting part, remove the debris with help of a vacuum cleaner or brush. Then do the sanding manually.
For the finishing part, you can stain the object or add paint or coating to get the appeal you like. Lime wood stains well and dry easily.
Lime wood Carving Ideas
Lime wood is great for less experienced carvers and intricate projects. Here I have given you a list of woodcarving ideas you can easily do with lime wood.
These will teach you wood carving basic steps and lots of great techniques as a beginner. They are,
- Simple Owl
- Leaf art wood
- Carve a bear
- Gnome project
- Carve a heart
- Carve a spoon
- Carve a bowl
By starting your woodcarving with the above projects, I’m hundred percent sure you’ll learn a lot of new things that’ll be useful to become a pro player in the field.
Does Soaking Lime Wood Make It Easier to Carve?
No. This is a myth in woodcarving. When you use lime wood for carving, soaking wood will give you no advantage.
Your wood can bend, and it’ll be difficult to carve. excess moisture makes your wood rubbery and dulls quickly.
Never destroy your valuable lime woodblock by doing this. Huge No to this.
How Long Should Lime Wood Dry Before Carving?
6 to 12 weeks is the appropriate time you should dry the lime wood before carving. This will change due to humidity and temperature levels.
What Other Woods Can I Use for Carving
As an experienced woodworker, I recommend you start your wood carving journey with simple efficient wood-like lime wood.
But due to the high cost of non-availability in the market, here I have given you the second-best options you can go for your next wood carving project.
1. Aspen Wood
Aspen wood is a top-quality wood for many woodcarving projects. It is hardwood with great strength. Workability is good and easy to handle.
It has split resistance as lime wood, make it easy to carve edges and for a smooth surface.
2. Oak Wood
Oakwood is great for large woodcarving projects. The strength is excellent. If you’re not going to use lime wood because of its less durability, oak wood is the best option you can go for.
It has great durability, and you can keep your beautiful Oakwood carvings lifelong with proper maintenance.
Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Lime wood for Carving?
There is no second thought about lime wood, it is the undefeatable popular choice for woodcarvers among beginners and professionals due to its great qualities.
Fine straight grain makes it easy to carve compared to other wood types.
In fact, if you prove you’re good are lime wood carving projects with continuous practice, you can make your lime wood carving into a business, sell products, or create DIY excellent gifts for your family and friends.
Ultimately practice will make you perfect.
Lime wood is smooth and takes details nicely.
It has great strength as well. Here in this article, we have widely discussed why lime wood has become so much popular in the wood carving world and what makes it the perfect wood for beginner woodcarving projects.
I hope now you have a clear idea of Lime wood for carving for your next carving project.
My advice is to try every single wood after you have done with lime wood to get the best experiences. It’ll be valuable for you in near future.