Wood carving techniques for beginners

Wood Carving Techniques: Best Helpful Guide & Top Review WOOD BLOG

Wood carving is a fascinating activity that many people can do. You are sure to find the wood to carve and the wood carving technique that will spark your greatest interest.

Made wooden models will be a great addition to the interior of your home or as a gift for a loved one. What are the techniques of wood carving? Let’s see in this article.

To begin to carve wood, you must have a working knowledge of the many types of carving, the wood carving tools, and the best wood for carving and how to prepare it, as well as the various procedures and techniques used in carving wood.

To make the growth you want, you must, above all, become more passionate about wood carving.

wood carving techniques

What should you understand before beginning wood carving?

I can sense your excitement as you begin wood carving your first project. However, there are a number of things you need to be familiar with before wood carving, just like in any other subject.

I’ve outlined what you should understand and practice before beginning wood carving here:

Choosing the appropriate wood – knowing the ideal wood to produce the ideal result can save you time and improve your desire to study more. Therefore, choosing the right wood before beginning wood carving is crucial.

Choosing the appropriate tools – never waste money on things you won’t use before you know how and when you’ll use them. Some wood carving tools can be used for a variety of projects. Therefore, you must first have a clear understanding of the tools you actually require and their purposes for wood carving.

Always follow a strategy– create one on your own or obtain one online before beginning any type of wood carving. There are numerous pans for wood carving there. You must determine measures and where to make cuts.

Therefore, before doing anything else, sketch out the strategy on paper with a pencil.

Wear gloves – safety is crucial when wood carving. Working with machinery, blades, cutting and peeling implements, and other sharp, hard metal objects are necessary.

Therefore, make sure to wear gloves on both hands at all times. When you are an expert at wood carving games, there comes a moment when you may work even without gloves to obtain tiny details that are challenging with gloves.

Whatever type of wood carving you plan to do – sanding is essential. You may stop many problems from occurring by sanding, including cracks, dents, debris, and rough surfaces. Therefore, sand using fine-grit sandpaper before beginning to carve.

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Wood carving tools

Experts divide wood carving techniques into several categories, depending on the tools or wood used. In most cases, you will need to use a planer, chisel, and other cutting tools in wood carving. These may also include:

  • a small knife;
  • specialized wood-cutting knives;
  • leather thimble;
  • protective gloves;
  • special wood piercing knives.

These are not all the tools and gadgets, as professionals expand their list to get really outstanding work in wood carving.

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Chisels for carving wood

With a wood carving chisel, you may effortlessly cut and remove wood slices by pushing with your palm. Chip cutting and relief carving are the two principal uses of chisels.

Blades can be seen on both sides of wood carving chisels. Depending on the thing you plan to construct, different chisels come in varying sizes.

The straight edge of the chisels is used to carve out a variety of shapes.

The market offers two different kinds of chisels:

  • Skew chisels are used to cut dovetails and have a 450-degree blade angle.
  • Fishtail chisels are used to create deep cuts; they have the appearance of a fishtail.
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Gouges for carving wood

The most significant wood carving tool ever is the gouge. The gouge is the first tool you should think about purchasing if you are a beginner at wood carving.

When carving different forms and cuts into wood, gouges perform the same function as chisels. Gouges can also be pushed with your palm to quickly remove wood pieces and make cuts.

Chisels with curves are referred to as gouges.

Use of a gouge for creating fissures, channels, curves, chip carving, and relief.

There are 3 types of gauges that I was looking at when was buying them. They are,

  • U gouges – with curved cutting edges.
  • V gouges – with a V-shaped tip to cut a wood piece from the main wood block.
  • Bend and spoon gouge – unique gouges to cut special things such as spoons.
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Chip carving

This is one of the easiest wood carving techniques. To master chip carving you will need a small flat piece of wood, a ruler, a pencil, a chisel, and maybe a small planer.

You will need a ruler and a pencil in order to create a guideline for cutting. After that, you can take the knife, hold it at a 45-degree angle and start roughing the wood, soon getting the finished product.

For chip carving, you will need the following materials:

  • knife for cutting chips
  • Chisels
  • Sharpening agent for pencils and rulers

You will draw a guide for your design on the piece of wood using your pencil and ruler.

You can start chipping away at the wood by holding your freshly sharpened knife at a 45-degree angle. Using the same knife, you can get rid of the wood chips. This step will be repeated until your design is finished.

The wood carving method known as chip carving is most frequently used to create geometric or folk art designs.

This technique can be used to make oddball tables and other furniture, as well as panels and sculptures. Chip carving is interesting but needs planning.

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Relief wood carving

Relief carving was the second most popular in Scandinavia among basic wood carving techniques. . This technique of wood carving is a bit more complicated than chip carving, as you need to recreate a 3D piece. You’ll need all the same objects as for chip carving.

First, make a mark on a flat piece of wood, and then start trimming it until the piece is complete. You may also need additional tools in some cases. These include:

  • a mallet;
  • U-shaped and V-shaped fishtail spoons;
  • Beveled and slanted chisels.

Caulkers and spoons are used to drive chisels into the wood. This is to get the carving in relief.

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What types of relief carving exist

There are three basic types of wood relief carving. They are distributed according to the difficulty of the work below:

  • high relief;
  • low relief;
  • pierced relief.

The primary and fundamental difference between relief carving and others is the shallow depth of carving.

However, if you use pierced wood, some areas of the wood can be drilled through. In general, relief carving helps to recreate objects of antiquity or works of art. For example, cabinets, chairs, wooden spoons, and more. This is similar to chip carving, but relief carving is slower.

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Scandinavian flat wood carving technique

Scandinavian wood carving is a carving, which is based on figure flat carving. In the case of this wood carving, there is no sanding or rounding and therefore the figure is often uneven in conception.

One of the most famous works of Scandinavian carving is the Swedish horse. Nothing similar to relief carving, though.

“Lovespoon” wood carving technique

The technique “Lovespoon” spread around the world from Germany and now enjoys wide popularity, especially in the Scandinavian countries. This technique involves only making spoons and nothing else. You may need additional tools, including:

  • chisel;
  • small knife;
  • small spike;
  • sandpaper;
  • finishing coat for the final product.

Usually, this type of wood carving involves making decorative spoons, but you can also get a great spoon to use in the kitchen.

carving again

The whittling wood carving technique

What is the technique of wood? Whittling is one of the most popular hand-wood carving methods. Whittling, the simplest form of carving that only needs a well-sharpened knife has been practiced for ages.

Whittling is accomplished using three fundamental motions: making a straight rough cut, driving the blade deeper into the wood, and removing each slice one at a time.

With each stroke, you can either drag the blade closer to you or push it farther away.

Whittling is one of the most popular starting wood carving techniques, and usually, the most fascinating carving style that motivates individuals to learn more about this trade is producing caricatures and animals.

Another popular activity for novices is chip carving, which you can master with the help of an easy-to-follow tutorial.

Relief carving is a more difficult carving technique, although it is not impossible to master. Having the appropriate equipment is essential, and getting started with a straightforward carving project can help you better understand how different levels are carved.

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How to learn pyrography

Pyrography is also known among wood burners and is a very complicated technique. To learn it, you will need special wood-burning lamps.

The heated pen comes into contact with the wood and the results are dizzying. It is important to prepare a sketch of the wood to get a professional result.

Crazy chainsaw wood carving technique

Truly, the craziest type of wood carving is chainsaw carving. If you like to combine your main job with a chainsaw and get works of art out of the finished live wood, then this niche is for you.

Note: remember the basic rules about working with a chainsaw and safety precautions. Don’t start work without a safety mask, helmet, and gloves.

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Japanese wood carving techniques

Sculptures carved from wood in Japan are called netsuke, and they are very small. Very small knife blades with sharp chamfers are used to make them. When wood carving in the Japanese style, lightly press down on the knife blade with your index finger and push it forward.

A simple Japanese wood carving kit includes a set of 12 or 24 straight or curved-blade knives. This number of knives would be sufficient even for a professional.

Dremel for wood carving technique

Semi-automatic tools have long been used for woodcarving and have deservedly found both their fans and skeptics who use manual tools exclusively.

The Dremel has interchangeable attachments as well as adjustable speeds. With this tool, you can hone your workpiece to perfection.

The engraving cutter and the high-speed cutters are helpful. In general, using this tool can be compared to using fine-grit sandpaper.

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Conifers in wood carving techniques

Conifers are characterized by a soft tree trunk. Consequently, they are very easy to carve on. In addition, conifers are very often immune to insects. Their disadvantages are that they are not too fire-resistant and succumb to the processes of rotting.

Hardwood and wood carving

Hardwood is more expensive than softwood. Yes, it’s not hard to carve, and it’s not always suitable for a beginner. Nevertheless, if you opt for it, you will get wood that does not rot and is not difficult to care for. Ash, maple, oak, and hickory are prime examples of hardwoods.

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What woodcarving projects should a beginner start with?

Don’t overdo it with your first effort when you’re just starting in this activity by attempting intricate methods like undercutting techniques in wood carving.

Start off slowly to gain a sense of how the knives feel in your hands, what each blade can and cannot do, and how sharp the edge of the blade needs to be.

Try whittling or chip carving initially, among all the other sorts of wood carving techniques. Start with broad projects with few details, and practice using a carving and whittling knife, a spoon carving knife, and a basic chisel.

As you perfect your trade and advance each technique, set tiny, incremental goals for yourself. Try low relief when you first begin learning relief carving before moving on to deeper and more complicated structures.

As a novice, it is difficult to try to replicate expert carvings, such as Chinese wood carving projects, and if you don’t achieve the best results, this will only serve to discourage you in the long run.

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What kind of wood is best for carving?

You must select a type of wood to work with after choosing a wood carving project to work on. There are many different kinds of wood, including, but not limited to, Acacia, Hawthorn, Beechwood, and Basswood. Let’s go through the different types of wood in more detail, so you can select the ideal one for your carving project.


The most popular type of wood for carving is softwood. This wood is the more affordable option because it grows quickly and is plentiful. Softwood has some benefits over hardwood, such as being easier to carve and more pest-resistant. Low fire resistance and the possibility of deterioration are other drawbacks.

Some examples of softwood include:

  • Basswood
  • Aspen
  • Pine
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Due to its density, hardwood can be more challenging to carve, but it also has advantages. Hardwood carvings are easier to keep up with and more resistant to rot. In addition to being challenging to cut, hardwood is frequently more expensive.

Some examples of hardwood include:

  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Hickory

As you can see, every type of wood has advantages and disadvantages. It is preferable, to begin with, softwood if you are a beginning wood carver. According to some, Basswood is the ideal kind of softwood for a beginner.

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Is it necessary to dry the wood before carving?

It is not always necessary. Wet wood is more pliable and makes it easier to make rounded cuts and intricate patterns.

But if your wood is too dry, don’t despair because you can always soak it and return it to a prime condition.

Is learning wood carving difficult?

It’s easy to get into the hobby of wood carving. Most of these carving techniques only need a few simple tools and follow simple stages. Every level of woodworking can find a project that suits them among the several project kinds.

You are free to select the project size, which gives you greater control over how much time you will spend on each project.

When you start to advance in any talent, there is a learning curve. It will take more time and patience, the more elaborate the designs and the more detail you are going for.

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Wood carving has a long history that extends back to the Stone Age. Today, people still value having this ancient, practical skill. The variety of crafts available is one of this craft’s many lovely features.

You may make attractive tables, culinary items, or even a sculpture using a chainsaw. You may work your way up to undertakings you never believed were possible if you start small.

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Hello to all lovers of wood products. I have been fond of woodcarving since childhood. I first learned about it at a children’s camp at the age of 12, and since then it has been my hobby. I organized a wood carving club in my area and often meet there with like-minded people. I dream of selling my products as souvenirs and gifts.

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