How to Start Wood Carving

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Wood carving chisels by KYares
Wood carving chisels by KYares

Wood carving is an enjoyable hobby that you can do with a minimal investment in tools and supplies. There are many different wood-carving methods, so before you begin you should familiarize yourself with them and decide which one you wish to do. Most methods use the same tools, so you can switch methods if you desire.

Things You'll Need

  • Carving pattern
  • Carbon paper
  • Pencil
  • Basswood
  • Wood carving knife
  • Wood carving chisel set

Choose a simple design for your first project. You need one that can be traced onto the wood.

Place a sheet of carbon paper over the bass wood piece, and then place the carving pattern on top of the carbon paper.

Use a pencil to trace the outline of the pattern. This will transfer the pattern to the wood.

Remove the larger outside sections of the wood from the pattern with a wood carving knife. Whittle away the extra wood using short stokes.

Use the carving chisel to work your design. Remove the larger areas within the pattern using one of the gouges, and create your lines and details using the "v" chisel.

Remember to start slowly, removing only small pieces of wood at a time. Once your carved piece is complete, start a different design on another piece of wood.

Tips & Warnings

  • Basswood is the wood of choice for beginning wood carvers, as it is a softer wood. Basswood can be found at most hobby shops in a variety of sizes.
  • Your first set of wood carving tools need not be the most expensive set on the market. Purchase a set that fits your budget. You can add more expensive tools as you gain skill in wood carving.
  • Patterns can be simple hand-drawn designs or elaborate drawings available in wood carving books and magazines. If your drawing skills are minimal, look for pleasing designs in coloring books for young children where the lines are always simple.
  • The more you practice wood carving, the better you will get at it. As with any art form, you will need to attempt many pieces before you are creating works of art.

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