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Many large hardwood retailers outside its natural range carry basswood in board form. Specialty suppliers offer basswood carving blocks and blanks. Expect to pay around $2 per board foot for select and better 4/4 stock, and about $3 and more per board foot for thicker boards. Veneer isn't available at retail. Both northern and southern varieties of basswood show little contrast between early wood and late wood, although northern basswood provides tighter-grained, finer-textured stock. Carvers also will want to avoid basswood with mineral stains, unless the project will be painted. If you're a carver who likes to gather stock yourself-and live where basswood grows-try this method to dry your wood. Harley Refsal, WOOD. magazine's carving consultant, dries his northern- Iowa basswood this way: He cuts 18" lengths from a log or large branch, then halves and quarters them with an ax. Next, he removes the pith (inner core of the heartwood) and wraps each quarter completely with two layers of newspaper. Harley fastens the wrapped stock between the floor joists in his basement furnace room and leaves them to air dry for six to eight weeks. In the summertime, he dries the wood overhead in the garage. Not a carver? You still may want to try this easily worked wood. Here's some guidance:

Continued on page 5:  Machining methods


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