October 24, 2021

Carving Mulberry Wood | A Clear Guide

Considering carving mulberry wood? The mulberry tree (Morus bombycis) grows in northern Europe, Asia, and North America. It is a deciduous, evergreen tree with smooth, grayish bark and a short trunk, up to 30 feet (9.1 m) tall. It is used as timber and charcoal throughout its range. Morus bombycis is an excellent tree for carving, and the heartwood is a beautiful light color. Let’s look at some carving tips.

Carving mulberry wood

Carving mulberry Wood depends on the type of wood carving you wish to make. There are multiple carving methods that you can match with the mulberry wood, and these include chip carving relief carving, known as woodturning. 

Mulberry wood is a durable, golden brown lumber that makes strong furniture, like tables and chairs. What makes mulberry wood a carving wood is its dense close grain, which allows it to take on detailed designs. It is also an ideal wood type for woodturning. 

There is the Red Mulberry wood that is tough and durable lumber, which makes it reliable in how it tolerates a lot of wear and tear. It makes tough floors that take on dents, scrapes, and scratches. 

It takes up to 1680 pounds of force without taking on a dent. It is a rot-resistant timber that makes outdoor structures such as fence posts or garden benches.

Its resistance to rot holds up so well under wind and rain. When exposed to sunlight, it turns the yellow heartwood of mulberry wood into a deep amber-brown, and that gives your carving a rustic appearance.

Mulberry wood is ideal for a carving method known as woodturning. Woodturning is a wood process that involves using a wood lathe so that it turns wood consistently. The wood turns, and a tool starts carving the wood into any shape of your choice. 

Mulberry is stable and hardly splits even in whole log form. You can cut one down for years and seal without experiencing splits inside the logs. It is easy to turn when dried. Carving mulberry gives a smooth buttery texture and an excellent finish. The color and grain remain perfect. 

What is mulberry wood?

Mulberry is beautiful, and it comes with pale outer sapwood and darker yellow heartwood in the center. Mulberry trees are scarce, and that resulted in the trees being garden-grown trees. It no longer grows in the forest, and finding it in the wild means a treasure. 

Mulberry trees grow fast, and they are small and medium-sized. It has old natives of China, and it is a popular ornamental plant for its shade.  The mulberry tree makes small furniture pieces, and lately, it has been popular in upscale markets. 

It comes with multiple species as the white mulberry wood. White mulberry hybridizes and comes with a pale yellow color that makes it beautiful. Red mulberry wood is pale orange when freshly cut, and it darkens and turns brown after cutting.

Tools you will need to carve mulberry wood

Mallet

Mallet is a small hammer used in wood carving for tapering and designing wood. The effective tool has been in the game for a long time, and it has gained popularity due to its customizing feature. 

It has specifications that allow the user to have more control over your work. There is a need for materials when making the tool. Take one piece of mulberry wood dowel and one galvanized pipe. 

If you are looking forward to more power, get a bigger dowel size for the mallet. Amongst the tools you need is the hacksaw, glue, sandpaper, screws, or nails. 

Carving knife

A carving knife is simple to make. Gather your materials and tools as you prepare your project. Take a 1095 knife steel 5/8 inch by 3 inches long, 2inch long brass rod and wood. 

Hardwood is ideal for a carving knife. The tools include a hand drill, mill file, bench vise, hacksaw, three clamps, mini files, marker, snapper, and a 1/8 inch diameter drill bit. 

Bench knife

A bench knife is a tool that specializes in wood carving. Beginners do not have a tough time using the bench knife due to its ease of use, and it comes with a short blade that looks like a scalpel.

 It is about 3/4inch in size and does not confuse the tool with the one used for cooking. It has an ergonomic design that allows easy handling. It comes with a large handle with a good grip, which makes working on detailed designs easy and enjoyable. 

Chisel

A chisel comes in multiple shapes and sizes and has a bladed edge that cuts through the wood. The sharp cutting edge is attached to a handle that makes operating the tool easy. 

Keep it sharp, and you are allowed to use it together with a mallet to drive the bladed edge through the wood. The style of the chisel depends on the shape of the cutting edge and the width of the blade.

Planning what to carve

Below are steps to follow when planning to carve.

  1. Decide what it is that you want to carve.
  2. Choose the best tools for the project. There are multiple tools for carving to choose from, and theseincluding include knives, gouges, and chisels. Always refer back to your carving whenever you pick a wood carving tool. Use tools that do not require more effort. There are endless carving tools available, but you need a few tools to get started. 
  3. Make a drawing or plan. You can always refer to your drawing when you lose track of your carving, and it guides you in choosing tools and materials. 
  4. Find a piece of wood that suits what you want to carve. What you choose depends on what it is that you are planning to carve. Smaller carvings with more details come from hardwood. Large carvings are more completed with the wood of the softer that allows the wood to be removed quickly. Beginners should avoid harder and grainier woods. Softwoods are stringy and brittle, and soft hardwoods make better items for a beginner.
  5. Transfer your drawing to the wood.
  6. Roughout for grounding.
  7. Modeling.
  8. Detailing.
  9. Finishing.

Why do people use mulberry wood

  • Safe
  • Beautiful
  • Dense close grain
  • Scratch-free
  • Ideal for detailed carvings
  • Durable
  • Easy to carve
  • Stability

Don’t use too much pressure

Avoid the use of too much pressure on mulberry results in splits. There are higher chances of making mistakes when using more pressure. The tools come with their pressure, and it remains unnecessary to apply more pressure. All the tools to do its job. 

Is mulberry wood a hardwood or softwood?

Mulberry is hardwood, and that makes it ideal for hardwood floors. It comes better with a high interior design look and feels, and it has a smooth surface, a delicate grain, and an exceptional color range.

Is mulberry wood toxic?

As much as you should stay away from the sapwood, there are no health reactions associated with Mulberry. The leaves of White Mulberry (Morus alba) are a primary food source for the silkworm that produces silk, showing how safe it is. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many different types of carving. The type of wood you use will affect the kind of carving you do. Whatever type of wood you use, it is essential to know how to use your tools properly. The better you know your tools, the more successful you will be.

In summary, you can see the grain in the wood, and the carving is well defined. The mulberry is much softer than other woods, so that you can carve it quickly.

David D. Hughes
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