Beginner Instructions for Wood Carving


Wood carving is a relaxing, enjoyable and often profitable hobby. Whether you prefer to do it the old-fashioned way, whittling on the front porch with a knife and whatever wood is handy, or using the most advanced power cutting tools on the market, creating your own wood carvings can bring you a great deal of satisfaction. It is easy enough to get started in wood carving by beginning with a simple project that requires few tools.

Choosing Your Wood

Just about any type of wood can be used to create a wood carving. Some woods are harder than others and may require more powerful cutting tools. The best way to select a wood is to determine the look that you want to achieve in your final carving and the tools you'll have available for your project. Beginners should consider starting with a soft, lightweight wood, such as Balsa. If you have power tools and a little experience, harder woods like maple and cherry lend themselves to more complex projects.

Choosing Your Tools

There are a number of ways to carve wood, ranging from simple whittling knives to band saws and even wood lathes. Beginning carvers should consider starting with a knife, a V-tool or small chisel and a rubber mallet. Working with these simple tools and a soft piece of wood is one of the best ways for a newbie carver to get a feel for carving, and many believe this is still the most satisfactory way to create wood carvings.

Creating and Executing Your Design

Some wood carvers prefer to take a piece of wood and go to work on it with a general idea of what they want to carve, taking away wood and forming their project as they go. Beginning wood carvers should consider using a pencil and sketch pad to jot down their project ideas. Drawing a design idea on paper as a reference, or even working from a photograph, is recommended to start. Beginners should work with care and patience, carving small portions of wood away at a time, and they will gradually see their carving come to life.


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