Baby, It's cold outside!

With temperatures plummeting throughout the United States, we have to take a look at what the temperatures can do to our wood as they change.  

Carving wood, whether it be Basswood, Tupelo, Butternut, Cottonwood or some other species is like any other wood.  When temperatures and humidity changes it moves!  When wood gets moved to a dry environment it will shrink and when it gets moved to a wet environment it will expand.  This can cause nightmares for a piece that you've spent tons of hours carving.  

One of the easiest ways to keep your lumber safe is to keep your environment steady.  If you've purchased lumber, you'll need to acclimate it to your shop or house.  This means, let it sit a few days in the environment you're going to work in.  If the pieces are thin that you've acquired, put a level weight on them and lay all pieces flat.  Keep them away from hot stoves and blowing heat sources, this will move the lumber too fast and cause splits and cracks.  The weight is to control warping.

Once your wood is acclimated, go ahead and get back to normal carving.  You just need to remember that if you like to work in a 70° shop, you need to maintain that temperature.  You'll be amazed at how much more control you have over your carvings when you control them!