A Beginner’s Guide To Wood Carvings

Are you looking for a new hobby? If you have a knack for arts and crafts, then you may want to consider entering the wonderful world of wood carvings. Nothing compares to creating a piece of art out of a block of wood.

There are no limits as to what you can do. Aside from being an excellent form of self-expression, wood carving can also be a great source of income if you decide to sell your work. But just like any artistic endeavor, you should first learn the different techniques and tools used in wood carving in order to hone your skills.

Understanding The Different Wood Carving Techniques

As a beginner, your first order of business is to learn about the different techniques you can use as a wood carver. Basically, there are four techniques to choose from namely whittling, carving in the round, relief carving and chip carving.


Each technique has its own advantages and disadvantages. In addition, each one calls for a different set of tools. It is best to start with the most basic form, which is whittling, as it helps you become familiar with how to create various shapes.

Whittling involves removing or cutting small bits of wood from a block in order to form different shapes. As mentioned, this is the most basic technique used in wood carving. However, it proves to be the least popular in the modern world.

Relief Carving


The reason for this is that today’s designs are more detailed and intricate. Relief carving is a little more advanced. In this technique, a picture is carved on a flat piece of wood. This serves as an introduction on how to create three dimensional images.

Carving in the round is generally considered as the most flexible wood carving technique. As the term implies, this involves carving all the way round the block of wood. This transforms an ordinary block of wood into any three dimensional object.

Chip Carving


Chip carving, meanwhile, makes use of chisels or knives to remove chips of wood and create intricate patterns. This technique is most commonly used for decorating household items such as furniture and chests.

The Tools Used For Wood Carving

As mentioned above, your tools should be in line with the wood carving technique you use. If you start with whittling, then you can get by with just a pocket knife. This is why many beginners start with this technique as it doesn’t require expensive tools. Chip carving also isn’t demanding in terms of tools.

A couple of knives or chisels should be enough to get started. For relief carving, gouges are necessary to create the desired effect. Carving in the round requires the most number of tools including knives, chisels and gouges.

By now, you should have a basic understanding of how you can get started with wood carving. Familiarizing yourself with the different techniques and tools should serve as a good starting point. With constant practice, you should be able to create outstanding wood carvings and even profit from your works.


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