Bas Relief carving

Here is my first attempt at carving a Bas Relief scene. It is about 8 inches x 5 inches in soft maple

Here is the design in Vcarve

And here is what the carving looks like with just a coat of sealer on it I hope that when I put stain on it the details will come out. If anyone has any suggestions about the best way to stain/finish it please let me know.

The rough cut took about 30 minutes with a 1/4 inch endmill and the detail took about 2 hours with a 1/16 round (at 100 inches per min)


Hi Allen. I am not the most experienced woodworker, but it’s my understanding that you would usually stain the wood before applying a seal coat- otherwise the stain will sit on the surface rather than soaking into the wood itself. Might need to do some sanding :frowning:

But- this is amazing. Did you import this as an .stl in vcarve?

I said sealer, it is actually just the Minwax pre-stain conditioner, I have found that applying a coat of the pre-stain helps even out what ever stain eventually goes on.

Yes I imported the STL into Vcarve and made it fit the size I wanted.

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Where would one find STL’s like that? Cool!

I found that one on Ebay

Ah, of course. You were two steps ahead of me.

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This is after my first (terrible) attempt at staining. I bought a CNC becuase I have no artistic abilities.

I have read that using gel stains is the way to go with relief carvings…wipe it in all the little details and wipe off…it stays in the carvings but wipes mostly off of the raised parts. It highlights the carving…I have not tried it, but I have seen several write-up on it.


Thanks, that sounds like a good idea!

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I would use either a gel stain as mentioned above, or a dark stain that was thinned out somewhat, and just build a patina in layers. Put a little stain in, rub it out, put a little in, rub it back out. The dark color will build and thinning it out gives you control. Just look for the right type of thinner for the stain you’re using. Oil based stains would use mineral spirits or (i think) naptha. Water basted stains can use water.

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Here is a carving of the Last Supper I just completed. It is 4"x6" in soft maple. Used a .25 inch endmill for rough cut and a .0626 ball nose for detail cut. I imported an STL into Vcarve,

This carving has a crazy amount of depth. I started with a 1 inch thick piece, and the rough cut turned 95% of it into sawdust.

Here is a view looking at the top.

And a short video of the detail carving.