November 1, 2021

Carving Apple wood | Get the Best Out of it

Is apple wood suitable for carving

Apple wood is one of the most versatile woods you can use to carve. It will carve well with almost any knife, holds up well to carving, and has a natural grain that makes it look old and natural. As with all things, there are bad apples. And, like with apples, the bad apples can ruin the entire bunch. Carving applewood is fun, but you need to pick the best.

Is applewood suitable for carving?

Applewood comes with beautiful colors and beautiful grain, but it might not be the best wood for carving. It is hard to carve, unlike other hardwoods. Although it grows throughout most temperate climates, making it easily accessible, it remains hard to wood carve. 

However, that does not mean it is bad in woodwork. Try to look for proper tools that make carving easier. Applewood green is easier to carve since the wood is not as dense. Therefore you wood carve it.  

It comes with multiple features similar to cherry wood, including the detail you can display in your work. Before working with Applewood, it is good to know its properties and features. 

How to carve applewood

As much as carving applewood is hard, that is the answer to the dense wood when dry. Do not allow applewood to dry for years because it becomes tough to carve. Carve the wood when it is still fresh and keep it under good conditions to seasons and dries well. 

The result is impressive, although that is not the standard way of wood carving. You end up with sturdy wood carving and try not to waste time trying to revive it. 


  1. Gather your material and tools.
  2. Put on protective wear, including a dust mask. 
  3. Mix distilled water and alcohol with a 40/60 proportion in a bottle
  4. Spray the wood in the solution
  5. Allow the wood to absorb the water, so it does not splinter and becomes easier to carve. The wood contains alcohol that helps the wood to stay moist for longer and makes the carving knife cuts through the dry wood better.

Features Of Apple Wood

Moisture Content 

Knowing the moisture content in your applewood is quite essential. When it is too wet, carving apple wood results in discoloring, which is the last thing you want on your item. Check out the moisture content guide, so you choose your best option. You can choose if you want your wood too dry or too wet. 


Green apple has a beautiful caramel color. However, the color is not always even. Some areas have randomly brighter spots, and others look darker. The color attracts multiple users when it comes to carving. In that case, they have to ignore that it is not easy to carve, and the color becomes a concern rather than workability. 

Color difference 

Applewood comes with a notable color difference between the branches and the trunk. However, it is not unique to only applewood but worth remembering. The branches of applewood have a brighter basswood-like color, not as beautiful as other hardwoods.  That is why you should get your hands on the wood from the trunk of the tree.

Apple Wood Weathers well

Many fruit trees are tight. Allow applewood to dry for some time after you carve hives to get a nice shiny finish that looks like a glass-like surface.

Keep applewood out of damage

There are possible damages from woodpeckers on apple trees, which are unsuitable for wood. However, it is challenging to keep them away from causing damage to the wood. Stay alert when buying the wood or when harvesting. 

Be attentive and inspect the damages before use. When you come across a damaged grain from a woodpecker when carving,  you are likely to split the wood, and your carving will end up with an uneven surface in that area, which does not look good on your item. 


Hard to carve

Applewood is tiring to carve, and it is the most difficult wood to carve amongst hardwood. To succeed in your project, gather some physical power and endurance to carve the wood for a long time, and failure to do so leads to unfinished and poorly done carvings. If you have worked with cherry Wood, you can have a bearable moment with applewood since both have the same grain. 

High chance of splitting

Applewood has a high chance of splitting, which is not favorable to wood carving. To win over splitting, add a bit of creativity to your crafts and implement the areas in your carving. Another way is to cut it off, which should not be the needed area. After all, you can still have a nice carving. 

What is applewood good for?

  • It gives you a beautiful color
  • Applewood lumber is tough and durable, making it perfect for furniture and small woodworking crafts.
  • It is ideal for intricate carving projects, such as Inlay work and musical instruments.
  • It creates beautiful small carving crafts, although they may be too hard to work on.

Tools needed to carve applewood

  • Carving Knife
  • Wood Carving Mallet
  • Chisels
  • Gouges
  • Bench Knives

What to do with the wood after carving

  • Seal it with wax.
  • Add paint for color.
  • Treat the wood carving if necessary.

Applying Rosewood finish

  1. The Rosewood finish gives you a transparent dark brown color finish with a clean look.  It gives you a nice, elegant, and luxurious finish product and runs a special to enhance the beautiful wood.  
  2. Steps
  3. Prepare the unfinished wood as you sand it. Make sure the surface is smooth and even. Wipe off dirt and dust from the surface using a rag dampened with acetone.
  4. Make sure it is dry. 
  5. Hand pad stain on the wood. It enhances and maximizes the beauty of the grain. Use the hand padding technique, and do it according to the grain pattern. 
  6. Add highlights to soften the black lines from the stain and sand the black wood stain with sandpaper or steel wool to smoothen the black wood stain. It has to look natural if it is coming from the wood. 
  7. Apply a stain and a proper highlighter.
  8. Seal the surface with a clear coat for a natural look. 
  1. Apply the stain to make a dark color. An acid-catalyzed sealer reduces oil from the wood, and the clear coating builds a film layer for a clean finish.  Pu clear coating gives you better results. 
  2. Apply a wet coat of PU sealer by spraying evenly on the surface. Let it dry, and sand the sealer. The PU takes time to dry.
  3. Apply a top coat.
  4. Apply the PU topcoat for this finish and spray a layer of PU topcoat on the surface. Make it even and allow it to dry.

Applying wax finish

  • Apply a thin coat of wax to the area that you want to wax.  
  • Push the wax into the grain of the wood by rubbing the surface with strokes. 
  • Allow the wax to dry for about five to ten minutes before giving it a final rub down with another dry cloth.

The difference between an apple and other wood types

Applewood is more difficult to carve than some wood types. It requires woodcarving before drying, unlike different wood types. 


In the end, I’d say that carving applewood is a fun hobby, even if it is a bit slow, but it is a perfect choice if you are looking for a relaxing but challenging hobby. You should also see Carving Elder Wood.

David D. Hughes

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