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Is Holly Wood Good for Carving?

Is Holly Wood Good for Carving

Holly wood is a domestic wood that’s difficult to get your hands on due to the rarity of the tree and how slow it grows. Despite the wood being difficult to get, is it good for carving?

Although holly wood has a very tough structure, and it’s difficult to get this wood, it’s still a good choice for carving if you can get your hands on it. It’s also a good choice because of how it doesn’t have a strong, distracting aroma.

The rest of this article will cover if holly wood is easy to carve, the best things to carve out of it, how long carvings will last, what the carving process feels like, and what holly wood is used for.

Holly Wood Is Hard to Carve

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The durability and elasticity of the wood is praised by woodworkers and carvers. However, this is a double-edged sword because you have to press harder and use better tools to be able to carve the holly wood effectively. But that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible wood to carve.

Holly wood is a heavy wood that you need to wear protection for. It’s very dense and hard to pick up seeing as it weighs 40 pounds per cubic foot. Make sure you buy only what you need as to not make transporting the wood too difficult.

It’s a hardwood type of wood, adding to its durability and toughness. It’s also a fine-grained wood, which means it has tight lines inside it. These lines are very close together, which will impact the detail of the carving appearance-wise.

Another thing to keep in mind is the rarity of the tree. If you get your hands on holly wood, you’re very lucky. Make sure to only carve the wood during winter because it will turn gray or stained with a blue color if it isn’t carved during the cold months.

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

The Best Things to Carve Out of Holly Wood

As mentioned before, the lines of a fine-grained wood can take away from the details of your carving depending on how many lines you get with your specific piece. Therefore, it’s best not to carve intricate details into the wood.

However, smaller items like statues of animals, crosses, hearts, flowers, spoons, and whistles are perfect for this type of wood. Making statues out of such sturdy wood will guarantee them not to break easily. Holly wood is a hardwood that you don’t have to worry about snapping.

For beginners, it’ll take you some time to get used to the denseness of the wood. For advanced carvers, you should be able to hop right in and start making your chosen carving. Make sure not to go over-the-top with details in case the lines of the wood become distracting.

How Long Carvings Will Last

The good news about hardwood carvings is that they last a long time. It’ll be a pain waiting for winter to carve your holly wood, but it’ll become dry and therefore sturdier. If you take care of your wood, it can last several years.

If you keep your holly wood outside, it’ll only last two to three weeks due to the temperature changing its color and drying it too much. If you keep it inside, oil and wax it as necessary, and clean it every once in a while, it can last several years.

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Only oil and wax your wood once or twice a year. You can pick up oil and wax for wood at your local Home Depot or Target, or you can order it online through Amazon for a cheaper price. 

Soap and water will work to clean the base of the carving too, but be careful while scrubbing, otherwise you may chip away some details or even break the carving completely.

What the Carving Process Is Like

You must wear protection like gloves, goggles, and a mask while cutting this wood. Not only is it hard so it can scratch your hands, but it’s also dusty while getting carved. So to protect your hands from the tough surface, wear thick gloves, and a mask and goggles just in case.

You don’t have to worry about the smell since there’s no odor in holly wood. That makes it a bit easier to maneuver when you don’t have to worry about burning your eyes or nose from a strong smelling wood like cedar. 

The carving process itself will take a long time because of the durability of the wood, so have patience and set the wood up on a steady table or tray. Throw away any extra pieces of wood you don’t need, and after your carving is done, clean it off gently and you’re good to go!

What Holly Wood Is Used For

The durability of holly wood allows it to be used in sturdy structures. Furniture is one of those structures; couches and tables are examples of the furniture made from holly wood. Another thing it’s used for is small novelty items like statues and ornaments.

Three more things it’s used for are pianos, brush handles, and broom handles. Once the wood is smooth, it can’t irritate your skin anymore, which makes it good for handles that won’t break easily and will still feel good in your hands.

Final Thoughts

Holly wood is a good but rare choice of wood for carving. It has no odor, and the carver working with the wood needs to wear protection while handling it. It’s difficult to carve because of its density, but that also means the carvings made from it will be stronger as well.

It’s better to carve small items out of holly wood because of the lines on it. It’s a fine-grained wood that makes it good for things like furniture, where you won’t see the lines of it as much, and it’s also good for small carvings.

Holly wood is used in modern times as furniture, brush and broom handles, and pianos. It’s also good for small novelty items like ornaments.

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