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Is Hawthorn Good for Carving?

Is Hawthorn Good for Carving

Carving different woods can provide many practical and decorative items around the home. When looking around your property or local forest, it’s important to understand what woods are available. If you have access to a hawthorn tree, count yourself blessed. 

But you may wonder, “is hawthorn good for carving?” Yes, it’s a very ideal wood to use in carving and crafts. You can make wooden spoons, dollhouses and so much more. It’s ease of use makes it ideal for beginners and because it’s fairly plentiful, seasoned woodcarvers find it a pleasure to work with.

However, you won’t be able to make any large pieces of furniture or use it for flooring. The size of the wood simply isn’t that big and it’s not resistant to rot or insects. So, be judicious in what you choose to carve with it.

Is Hawthorn Easy to Carve?

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Hawthorn is amazingly easy to carve and is a great wood for beginners to start with. The only problem with it is that it doesn’t dry efficiently. Because of this, warping and distortion are a common issue. Regardless, the fine grain looks great and it takes well to stain, paint or lacquer.

Plus, it’s safe to carve and doesn’t leave a lot of dust lying around after working with it. There aren’t any known health conditions that come from carving with hawthorn either. Of course, you should always wear face protection when carving wood. It’s just that you don’t have nearly as much to worry about in regards to hawthorn.

However, there is one warning, albeit bordering on the realms of superstition. The Celtic people once believed that hawthorn trees are where the faerie folk live. So, to cut down a healthy tree will bring bad luck. Therefore, if you’re looking to fell a hawthorn, do this at your own risk.

To check the current price and availability of Schaaf Wood Carving Tools, click here to view the listing on Amazon.

What Are Hawthorn’s Characteristics?

Hawthorn comes from North Africa, Europe and West Asia with naturalization throughout North America. It’s a medium-sized tree with an average height of 30 feet and an 18” maximum diameter. One of its most charming features are the diminutive white blooms that appear on the tree throughout the spring and summer months.

Sapwood ; Heartwood Colors

It’s a typical type of timber and doesn’t have an odor when you begin working with it. The sapwood is always a cream color but the heartwood can take on a range of tones. It can be creamy like the sapwood but it can also be a dark red-brown and every shade in between those.

Fine Texture ; Grain

Hawthorn has a fine and uniform texture and grain with a gorgeous natural luster. Unfortunately, it isn’t resistant to rot, insects or various weather conditions. Therefore, it’s best if you carve hawthorn that needs to come down. Any wood you find on the ground will take twice as long to fully dry before you can carve it.

Strong Yet Not Resistant to Moisture

But it’s a very strong, durable and sturdy wood. Whatever you choose to carve out of it will last for many years, provided you care for it right. That said, if it gets wet or waterlogged in anyway, it would shorten the item’s lifespan to a considerable degree.

However, if you use a solid lacquer that provides a decent barrier, you should be able to use it for things like salad tossing utensils, bowls and spoons.

Best Things to Carve Out of Hawthorn

While hawthorn trees are quite sizeable, they don’t grow big enough to make things like furniture. But anything in regards to knickknacks and other such decorative crafts are ideal. Plus, the creamy whiteness or dark reddish brownness of the wood provides a gorgeous appearance to anything you carve with it.

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For instance, making animal fetishes out of the creamier and whiter type of hawthorn will look stunning on your fireplace mantle. Alternatively, carving a jewelry box out of ones with that classic dark reddish-brown will give it a sleek presentation. Consider the following projects to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Spoons
  • Salad Utensils
  • Knife Handles
  • Trays
  • Bowls
  • Animal Fetishes
  • Nightstands
  • Sconces
  • Wall Ornaments
  • Pot ; Pan Racks
  • Vases (for silk flowers)
  • Model Ships
  • Toy Soldiers
  • Figurines
  • Statuettes
  • Picture Frames
  • Door Knobs
  • Moldings for Doors, Walls, Windows and etc.
  • Jewelry Boxes
  • Closet Organizers
  • Pet Bed Frames
  • Stools
  • Small Step Ladders
  • Shoe, Key and Coat Racks
  • Ashtray, Candle and Incense Holders
  • Pendants
  • Beads and Charms
  • Clothing Hangers
  • Bookmarks
  • Stands for Books, Plates or Other Decorations

Final Thoughts

Hawthorn is an excellent wood to carve and it’s perfect for those just starting to learn this fabulous craft. It doesn’t take much to carve it but you do have to ensure it’s fully dry before you do. Unfortunately, this is the one thing that tends to be difficult about working with hawthorn; it’s difficult to get it dry.

But, once dried, it carves like a dream with very little dust and shavings. This means there’s no health concern or a horrid odor when working with or turning out hawthorn. You can make anything with it as long as you don’t intend to put it outside or have it get wet.

Hawthorn has a beautiful color and grain, which gives anything you make with it a refined appearance. From pendants and candleholders to jewelry boxes and coat racks, the colors give a wonderful and basic look to any practical item.

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