How to Tell if a Briar Block is Ready for Carving?

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OneGoodBulldog

Junior Member
Nov 2, 2020
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So I got a briar block, good size for a fair price. Do they boil the briar and age it at all before selling it? I'm not exactly ready to carve it yet so I'm wondering if I need to do anything to it. I picked it up at a decent lumber shop and it was advertised as "artisan briar for carving". Would a they bother to boil briars if they knew they were not specifically for pipe shops?

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OneGoodBulldog

Junior Member
Nov 2, 2020
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If it is indeed Briar, it will have some dry time before it leaves the mill. Most carvers leave it to dry for at least a year before using it.
I'll post a picture in a bit. I'm pretty sure it's briar as advertised, Windsor Plywood had always been pretty good and they normally carry a large assortment of exotic woods. I have a plateau cut block I believe.
 
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craig61a

Preferred Member
Apr 29, 2017
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Interesting that a traditional lumber store would carry something like that.
 

OneGoodBulldog

Junior Member
Nov 2, 2020
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182
Interesting that a traditional lumber store would carry something like that.
They've got quite a selection of exotics and in decent sizes. After six years of going through them I've got no reason to suspect they would knowingly mis-label product.
 

OneGoodBulldog

Junior Member
Nov 2, 2020
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182
Here are a few pictures. The carved out bit was done by me. There appeared to be a void there and it looked like some dirt had gotten in there so this lines up with what I know about the stuff.
 

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