If you are new to chainsaw carving or just gotten a sweet deal on some cedar lumber you may be wondering how good cedar is. Particularly with concern to chainsaw carving. Is cedar good for chainsaw carving?
Well, cedar is remarkably a good wood for chainsaw carving. Cedar is both durable and still soft for carving. It should feel like cutting butter when carving cedar with a chainsaw.
However, there are a few things that you should know before picking up your chainsaw because even though cedars are great not all cedars are created equal.
Is cedar good for chainsaw carving – chainsaw carving cedars
Easy to carve
While carving with a beast of a tool like a chainsaw you may think the hardness of the wood is irrelevant, but wait till you try chainsaw carving oak. Carving softwoods like pine and cedar after carving some tough wood will feel like carving butter.
Cedar is soft to carve and therefore kinder gentle on your chainsaw, bar, and chain. The other advantage of carving softwoods is the speed of carving. Since carving cedar is soft you can carve it quite first which matters if you earn a living from carving.
When you choose to carve cedar at least you are assured that the carving will last long. Longevity is a remarkable trait among a few softwoods. Cedar has polyoxiphenols oils that protect it from bugs and also make it resistant to rot.
For chainsaw carvers that sell their art to clients, cedar is a good choice for the premium pieces since the wood is long-lasting.
The worst thing for any carver is getting a call from a client saying the carving is rotting away at least with cedar you will never receive such a call.
holds detail well
Most softwoods are notorious for details, they tend to be too soft to support fine detailing. but with cedar, that’s not the case. Cedar will hold detail quite well.
With cedar expect to use all your extra detail tools and fine bits because cedar can take up to hairline detail.
Don’t forget most of these details will not be hard to work given that the wood is soft. However, a degree of care is advised when working on the details as the wood can easily split ahead of the cutting edge, especially when worked on with hand tools.
Rich in color and smells nice
Working with cedar is pure niceness even the cedar smell is pleasant. This has been known for a long time now that cedar has a pleasant smell people even place some cedar wood shavings in the closet so that the clothes smell nice.
The color is also worth mentioning. It is rich and adds character to the carving. However, be careful because unless you’re coloring it, the natural coloring of the cedar can be a bit overwhelming when oil is applied, especially with certain designs, but is easily remedied by undercoating with light stains or coloring in general to ease the intensity of the natural red.
lookout for cedar allergies
With the good smell comes some possible health risk. While the smell of cedarwood may be pleasant, dozen of carvers mostly working with cedar have complained about different allergies to certain types of cedar. It appears that not everyone is allergic but some people show reactions.
Cedar dust is also a thing you should be careful about. Make sure you have a mask on when working with cedar at all times
Splits and checks
Cedar has a problem with splits and checks but as we have been uncovering after years of woodworking all woods have a similar problem with varying intensity.
Cedar will develop hairline splits when displayed in large openings. However, this is mostly prone to logs that are yet to dry. Drier cedar wood especially near the heartwood is more stable.
This problem can be further put under control by sealing your wood carving. Luckily cedar accepts finish well and once protected the carving can last for many years even centuries.
Is cedar good for chainsaw carving – Final thoughts
In conclusion, is cedar good for chainsaw carving? Cedar is great to carve, holds detail well, and is naturally a more stable wood with it being more susceptible to hairline cracks over large openings – it also weathers far better compared to other woods. We use it for all of our smaller/medium-sized high-end carvings that will have coloring and all of our Battle Crosses.