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Moisture content?

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    AvatarFrederick
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    I’m only a few months into this, but I have been working hard to learn. I’d appreciate your thoughts/advice/experience on this…

    I cut my own practice blanks from a slab of northern basswood I bought online at a woodworking store. I shape it to about 3/8″ thick x 6″ long by 4-5″ wide. One thing I’ve seen is that if the basswood is too dry, it is brittle and harder to carve. I’ve read that 10-12% moisture is about right, but I don’t have a meter to measure it.  So what I have been doing is putting my blanks in a sealed Tupperware container that has 1/4″ of warm water in the bottom. (I have a jig to keep the wood up and out of the puddle.) After a few hours in that sealed container, the basswood carves noticeably better. Leaving it in the humidifier overnight seems to give the best results and leaving it for a week gets it too moist and it doesn’t cut any better. I flip it over once in a while to give both sides an equal amount of time facing the water. (If I don’t flip it, I get a warped practice board.)

    • What do you folks think of this method? Is there an alternate or a better way?
    • I read something about spraying diluted alcohol – when is that a good approach?

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    Fred

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