Mastering the Art of Wood Carving: Tips, Tricks, and Insights from a Pro

Wood Carving – Live with Alexander Grabovetskiy

Hello, everyone! Today, I'm thrilled to take you through a detailed journey of one of my recent wood carving sessions. If you're a woodworking enthusiast or just curious about the art, this blog post is perfect for you. So grab your tools (or a cup of coffee if you're just here to observe) and let's dive in!

Connecting on Multiple Platforms

First things first, let me explain how I connect with all my viewers. Whether you're joining me on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, or Periscope, I'm here to share my passion for wood carving. I understand it can be a bit tricky to follow along, especially with the size of the pieces I work on. Don't worry, I'll be showing you just how massive these pieces are.

Checking In With Viewers

As we wait for more people to join the live stream, I love to interact with you all. It's always great to see familiar names popping up. For instance, Sergio, Louis, and David popped by to say hello. It's like a little wood carving family reunion every time we go live, and I love hearing how everyone is doing.

The Florida Weather

Speaking of doing well, I can’t help but mention how blessed I am to be working from sunny Florida. With fall settling in on most places and temperatures dropping, it's a pleasant 75°F here. Perfect weather for some wood carving action.

Demonstrating the Scale

Alright, it's showtime. Let me give you a sense of how big this piece is. Trust me, when you're carving and people are watching on a screen, they don't realize just how large and intricate these pieces are.

Just look at this huge piece! Four feet in one direction and another four feet in the other. And this is just one side. I have another piece the same size that will go on the opposite side.

Diving Into the Details

Now let's get into the nitty-gritty. Today, I’m focusing on an area where there will be a shell along with some leaves. It's always tricky when you're working with multiple layers. You’ve got high spots, low spots, and some molding to incorporate. It's an intricate dance, but one I love.

Tool Talk

One of the frequent questions I get is about the tools I use. My favorite brands include Ashley Isles and Henry Taylor. These tools are my bread and butter, allowing me to tackle big projects comfortably thanks to their beefy handles. The steel is top-notch, coming from Sheffield, England.

Viewer Interactions and Questions

I encourage everyone to shoot me questions as I work. Here's a rundown of some interesting ones:

  • Paul asked if I would put an illustration of a leaf movement on my school site. Everything's already there, Paul!

  • Mark from Ohio popped in to say hello.

  • Julie was curious about if I ever have hand or shoulder issues from all the carving.

Addressing Hand and Shoulder Fatigue

Keeping the tool height and handle comfort in check is essential to prevent fatigue. When carving, my tools have a half-inch bevel which helps keep my grip low and reduces strain on my shoulders. This setup allows me to carve for hours without discomfort.

Streaming Quality and Platform Preferences

For those of you watching on Facebook, you might notice the stream isn't as high quality as it is on YouTube. I stream in 1080p at 60 frames per second on YouTube, so if you want the best experience, I highly recommend switching over.

Don’t forget to subscribe and hit the bell icon to get all notifications. YouTube's changed its policies, so it's crucial to select β€˜all notifications' to stay updated.

Projects and Galleries

I'm constantly working on uploading project galleries to my site. With thousands of images from various projects, it can get a bit overwhelming. Rest assured, I'm making it easier for you to access and download images for your practice.

Carving Composition and Wood Types

When it comes to wood types, I use American basswood, which is similar to limewood. Depending on where it's sourced—East Coast or West Coast—the texture and grain can vary. For instance, limewood from Holland is a personal favorite of mine over the English variety.

Teaching and Workshops

I occasionally teach workshops and classes. Next year, I’ll be in Indianapolis and the state of Maine. Travel is relatively cheap these days, so if you're interested, check out the schedules on the respective school’s websites:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How do you deal with wood dust?A: I use a simple blower to keep my work clean. It’s low-tech but very effective.

Q: What's your advice for amateurs looking to turn professional?A: Start with a passion for wood carving and build your skills. Utilize platforms like Etsy to showcase your work. Over time, as you hone your craft and build a portfolio, clients will come.

Q: How do you keep your tools in shape?A: I regularly reshape new tools to ensure the bevel is just right for me. This reduces strain on my hands and shoulders.

Q: Do you only carve for clients?A: While I do carve for clients, I enjoy creating pieces for myself as well. It allows me to be more creative and experiment with new techniques.


This session was packed with interactions, questions, and insights into my wood carving process. Remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more updates, and don't hesitate to join the community by leaving your comments and questions.

Carve something

Pro Tip: Don't underestimate the power of good tools and proper technique. It can make a world of difference in your carving experience.


  • Q: What kind of wood are you carving in your project?
  • A: The wood I'm carving in my project is American basswood, which is similar to European lime wood but has its own unique characteristics depending on the region it's sourced from.
  • Q: Can you tell us about the carving chisel brand you use?
  • A: I primarily use Ashley Isles carving chisels, which are made of Sheffield steel. I also like Henry Taylor chisels for their quality and comfort during long carving sessions.
  • Q: Do you have a specialty burnishing tool or do you make one from wood?
  • A: I prefer using wood for burnishing rather than metal tools. By rubbing wood against wood, I achieve a shiny finish on the carved surfaces.
  • Q: How do you take care of the dust on your carved pieces?
  • A: To take care of dust on carved pieces, I use low-tech solutions like blowing the dust away with a blower or a gentle hand tool.
  • Q: How would you recommend a new carver get their name known, perhaps through art galleries or marketing firms?
  • A: While I personally haven't used art galleries or marketing firms to promote my work, platforms like Etsy can be a great starting point for new carvers to showcase and sell their creations.
  • Q: Do you have any advice for amateurs looking to become professionals in the carving field?
  • A: My advice would be to focus on honing your skills and expressing your unique talent. Platforms like Etsy can help in getting your name known and selling your creations to a wider audience.
  • Q: Can you share more about your upcoming workshops and classes in Indianapolis and Maine?
  • A: I will be teaching workshops in Indianapolis and Maine next year. You can find more details on Mark Adams' website for Indianapolis workshops and Maine Coast Workshop for classes in Maine.
  • Q: How do you approach carving for personal projects versus customer commissions?
  • A: When carving for personal projects, I have more creative freedom and can explore intricate details and unique designs that reflect my personal style. Customer commissions require meeting specific requirements and preferences while still maintaining artistic quality.
  • Q: Can you talk about how faith and prayer have influenced your success in carving and life?
  • A: Faith and prayer play a significant role in my life and work. Believing in God's guidance and seeking success through prayer has been a source of strength and inspiration throughout my carving journey.
  • Q: What tools do you use for relief carving like the Hashemi flowers project?
  • A: Relief carving projects like the Hashemi flowers are intricate and require specialized tools such as coping saws and fine chisels to achieve detailed and delicate carvings.
  • Q: How do you plan to approach future projects and your career in wood carving?
  • A: In the future, I plan to focus more on creating unique pieces for myself rather than catering solely to customer commissions. I aim to continue teaching and sharing my passion for wood carving while exploring new creative avenues.
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