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Cutting Basswood by Hand in 5 Super Easy Steps

Cutting your basswood during any wood project is a common task.

People cut it in different ways. Some prefer to cut it by hand.

But that’s the difficulty level. 

Is cutting basswood by hand difficult?

Place basswood planks or blocks on your wood carving bench. Secure them with bench dogs. See the direction of the wood grain because you must not cut against the grain. Sharpen the cutting tool, such as chisels or gouges. Start cutting the basswood along its grain now. Remember to clean up the mess afterwards.

This, indeed, isn’t enough. That’s why I’ve broken down the cutting process into five steps. I’ve also added the necessary tips for you here. 

Let’s start!

Should You Cut Basswood by Hand?

When comparing basswood with pine or oak, basswood is considered a softwood. It’s a hardwood that’s softer than most other hardwood. 

For this, when one cuts the wood with complex cutting tools, the process gets pretty tricky. Because the wood has a tendency of easily getting torn, as a result, you’ll not get a perfect cut. 

To avoid this unfortunate part, woodworkers prefer to cut it by hand. They use hand-cutting tools to cut basswood. It’s easy to cut basswood with a saw, chisel, etc.

That’s why I suggest you also avoid power tools. Go for cutting tools that can be used with your hands. 

How to Cut Basswood by Hand?

So, you’ve decided to cut basswood with your hands. But by hands, I mean by using hand-cutting tools. 

To make things easy, I’ve added the simple steps here. Just check them out-

Step 1: Get the Cutting Tools

First, you must gather the required tools for this cutting process. I’ve mentioned those below-

  • Hand gloves 
  • Goggles 
  • Respirator 
  • Razor Sharp saw 
  • Gouges 
  • Chisels 
  • Bench dogs

Got them? If not, I’ve added my suggestion below:

Get these to start the process! By the way, you can use the same pair of hand gloves that’s used to stain basswood

Step 2: Place and Secure Basswood 

Now that you have the tools, let’s focus on the wood. Take the blocks of your basswood and place them on a carving bench. Use bench dogs to secure them in their position. 

Don’t know what bench dogs are? 

They are like clamps that hold the wood pieces in their place. That’s why it’s really important while cutting the basswood. 

If you don’t have bench dogs with you, here are the suggestions from me:

Get these and secure your basswood to cut it properly! 

Step 3: Get to Know the Wood Grain Structure

Before you start cutting the wood, make sure to check the grain structure of it. Because a lot depends on the grain structure. 

See in which direction the grain structure of your basswood is. This is because you must cut the wood along the grain direction. 

Cutting the basswood against or across its grain can tear the wood. Because if you didn’t know basswood is actually a pretty delicate type of wood. 

That’s why you better be careful and cut it in the grain’s direction. 

To know the grain direction, take a small piece of the wood. Cut it now. If the cut is difficult and your wood is tearing off, you’re cutting against its grain direction. 

There you go! Now you know which grain direction. Next time, cut in the opposite direction. 

Step 4: Start Sharpening Your Cutting Tools

You must make sure that the cutting tool you’re using is razor sharp. Because sharp tools can help to shorten the cutting time of the basswood. Plus they give you good-quality and fine cuts too. 

In contrast to this, cutting tools that have dull edges are harder to work with. Because they will give you cuts exposing the wood fibers. This is actually an outcome that’s unnecessary and not wanted. 

That’s why I avoid dull cutting tools. Instead, sharpen the tools you’ll use for cutting. You’ll find sharpening tools for wood carving easily in market places. 

I have given some recommendations here:

Grab these now! And sharpen your saw, chisel, or gauge. 

Step 5: Cut Your Basswood

Start by cutting shavings on your basswood. For this, I suggest you use either chisels and gauges. To drive your cutting tools, you must use a mallet. This will help you in removing large wood parts within less time. 

When you’ve finished getting rid of the unwanted wood parts, cut thinner and finer shavings. This way you’ll have a fine finish. 

Make sure you’re not cutting your wood into chunks. Because the wood will tear apart due to doing that. That’s why remember to cut your wood one bite at a time. This will ensure quality cuts. 

Okay enough with the precautions. Let’s see how the cutting is actually done. But remember the process is more time-consuming than cutting balsa with dremel.

Start cutting from the basswood block’s edge. You should then work your way on the cut lightly. I suggest you don’t push your cutting equipment too much. Because this way you’ll be left with rough cuts. 

The secret is to cut the basswood thinly and slowly. Yes, this might seem time-consuming. But there’s nothing to be upset about. Because I assure you that you’ll have a professional-looking clean cut.

6 Things to Maintain while Cutting Basswood 

So, you got how to cut the wood. But there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

I have discussed them here:

  • Always use hand gloves while cutting wood. You may see woodworkers not wearing any. But that doesn’t mean you should do it. Wear gloves to avoid splinters. This nasty injury can really be painful.
  • Keep a respirator with you. This will help you to prevent sawdust from getting into your system through breathing. Sawdust is dangerous and can even cause cancer if you inhale it for a long time.
  • Make sure to take breaks in between the cutting process. Rushing will never help you get the perfect cuts. 
  • Remember to work in a room or place that’s well-ventilated. This is crucial as you’ll prevent any sort of dangerous situation.
  • If you think cutting basswood by yourself will be difficult, let an expert handle it. Because you might later regret the results. 
  • Use power tools if the wood is too hard. Sometimes the hardness level can be over the usual level. In that case, use power tools such as a band saw instead of a coping saw. 

That’s all! Remember these and you’re all set!


Can I cut basswood with a knife?

Yes, you absolutely can. Most use a cricut knife to cut basswood. If you use it, it’ll take several passes over your basswood. You just have to be patient throughout this process. That’s why make sure this isn’t a last-minute project. Keep enough time in hand if you’re willing to use this technique. 

What tool can I use to cut basswood with?

You can use both power tools and hand tools. Power tools are used if you’ve a large amount of basswood blocks to cut. Plus with power tools, the process gets easier and quicker too. But if you’ve proper time at hand and fewer wood pieces, I suggest using hand tools. Because this will help to get you fine cuts from the basswood. 

Is Basswood hard to cut?

Not really. The difficulty of cutting wood depends on its hardness level. That’s why the harder it is, the harder it’s to cut and vice versa. Cutting basswood is oftentimes easier to cut even though it’s hardwood. The reason is that even if it’s considered a hardwood, it’s actually softer than most other hardwood types. That’s why basswood is mostly easy to cut. 

How do you cut basswood blocks?

Basswood can be cut in different ways. For example, you can use band saws to cut it. You can even get coping saws to cut it. The first one is less time-consuming and easier. But you might end up tearing your basswood this way. With coping saws, you can get fine wood cuts. It takes a little more time but it’s worth it. You can also take help from chisels if the block is small. 

Final Words

All clear on cutting basswood by hand? I hope your worries are now gone. Because I have left no questions unanswered. 

Just get your cutting tools and start the project. Make sure to not forget any important things that are mentioned above. 

Good luck with the basswood cutting project!

Stay safe by maintaining mentioned safety tips!