Green wood is great to carve and many of you prefer it to hardwood however one of the most annoying issues that greenwood carvers face is the risk of the wood splitting mid project. There is nothing more frustrating than getting halfway through the "perfect spoon" only to find a split in the bowl.
If you've purchased green wood blanks and billets from us in the past you will notice they are wrapped in a repurposed plastic bag. This is to keep the moisture in and avoid the blanks splitting. We keep our blanks and billets frozen until we send them out so they get to you in the best state possible and to avoid mould and splitting.
Once you have your billet or blank there are a few steps you can take to keep your wood in tip-top shape.
1. Freeze it
As soon as you receive your blank or billet put it in the freezer. Leave it there until you are ready to carve. Doing this keeps the moisture trapped in the wood and also stops it from going mouldy.
2. Defrost it
When you are ready, gently defrost your blank. When ready to carve you can carve simply pop it in the sink with room temperature water for a few minutes.
3. Preserve it
You can keep your piece in the freezer in a plastic bag in between carving sessions. Just keep popping it back in the freezer until you have finished and the final piece is ready to dry.
If you are having a break whilst carving pop it back in the bag. Make a habit of this every time you put your knife down.
A word on Kuska blanks...
Kuksas are notoriously fickle. If having a break whilst carving a kuksa, submerge it in a tub of water to stop it from cracking. When you have finished carving your Kuksa place it in a paper bag with some of its own shavings to slow down the drying process. Check it regularly to make sure it is not going mouldy.
What if my wood goes mouldy?
Not all mould in wood is bad. In fact some mould produces an effect called "Spalting" which can increase the beauty of your final piece. That said, certain moulds can be unhealthy especially for those with asthma or respiratory illnesses and should be treated with caution.
Do you have any tips for keeping your wood from splitting? Let us know in the comments below.