The Basics of Wood Carving: What You Need To Know

What Is The Best Wood For Wood Carving? woodcarving school, school of woodcarving, wood carving lessons, woodcarving courses

The Basics of Wood Carving: What You Need To Know

Your whole life is a kind of apprenticeship to which you apply your learning skills. Everything that happens to you is a form of instruction if you pay attention.


Wood carving is a form of art that involves the use of various tools to create intricate designs on wood. It is a 3D art form that allows you to add depth and dimension to your designs. Woodcarving is an art of deduction, where you start with a piece of wood and remove small pieces to create the desired shape or design.

Woodcarving is a type of sculpture where the artist uses knives, chisels, gouges, and other tools to carve wood into a desired shape or design. The artist starts with a piece of wood and removes small pieces to create the desired shape or design. Woodcarving can be used to create sculptures, furniture, bowls, spoons, cups, boxes, and many other objects.

It is a very popular art form in the United States, especially among Amish people who are known for their fine woodworking skills. 

What do You Need to Know Before Starting Wood Carving?

Before beginning wood carving, there are a few things you should know. I will try my best to write about everything you need to know about the trade. Well, I still don't know if it is an art or a trade. Or maybe both. Let's call it the artistic trade of woodworking. The most important before You grab a knife or any other wood carving tools, you need to know about the wood itself. Not every kind of wood is suitable for carving. It could be good for other woodworking projects but not for this form of art.

If you choose the wrong wood for carving, the results will be disappointing. Additionally, you'll need the right tools. A very sharp chip carving knife is essential for any type of carving, and a gouge will come in handy for more intricate projects. Make sure you practice on some scrap wood before working on the final piece.

Creating carved art can be a rewarding experience if you plan and prepare properly. You can even make a career out of it. Before you get started, though, you need to learn some basics. In this article, you’ll be able to learn some amazing carving tips that can help you create great wood carvings.

What do I need to Start in Wood Carving?

You should always start with the best tools for your project. If you are going to carve something from wood, then you must have good-quality tools unless You are planning to only whittling knife. The first thing you need is a good set of chisels. These are the most important tools in any woodcarver’s kit. 

  • Wood Block

When it comes to woodcarving, there are few materials that can compare to the beauty and versatility of wood. Whether you're looking to carve a simple piece of art or a more complex sculpture. There are a variety of different woods that can be used for woodcarving, each with its own unique grain and color.

One of the most popular woods for woodcarving is basswood. Basswood is a soft wood that is easy to carve, making it ideal for beginners. It's also one of the most affordable woods, making it a great option if you're on a budget. Basswood is softwood and it is easy to carve. Another popular wood for woodcarving is pine. Pine is a bit harder to carve than basswood, but it is still a suitable choice for many carving projects. Pine is a popular wood for carving because it is strong and durable, yet still soft enough to carve easily. Pine is also a relatively inexpensive wood, making it a great choice for budget-conscious carvers.

I wrote a long article about What is the Best wood for woodcarving?

What is One of the most important things in Wood Carving?

One of the most important things to remember when carving is to take your time and not rush. Remember You not only shaping piece of wood but also sculpting Your character. With each stroke, you're creating something unique that represents who you are. So take your time and enjoy the process. When you are working on your 3d project, you are using up parts of a brain you most likely never used before. Please understand. The main difference between other types of art is in how many dimensions you are working. Fine art is only a 2-dimensional world and wood carving is 3 dimensional. Unless You carve every day, some part of your brain is in hibernating mode. But when you grab your gouge and start digging in a block of wood you are walking up some brain parts. It could even prolong your brain's life.

How to Carve Wood – All the Essential informaion

What is Wood Carving?

Wood carving is a form of woodworking that involves the use of hand tools to create shapes and designs out of wood.

In a world of mass production, true craftsmanship stands out. It is both fulfilling and a great way to create an heirloom that has a lot of love and time poured into it.

There are four types of wood carving and the same tools aren’t necessarily used for each.

You will need to decide what style of carving you would like to try.

What are the 4 main types of Wood Carving?

Before carving any type sharpen your tools!


What. is Relief Wood Carving?

There is a flat back surface of relief carvings, and three-dimensional images appear on the front.

There are usually two types of bas-relief carving: high relief carving, which has a depth of more than 50% of the carving, and low relief, which has a depth of less than 50%. Matter of fact, most of the wood carving projects I work on are relief carving.

Low-relief carving is used in the reproduction of furniture making. The history of relief carving goes back 3500 years to the times of the Egypt empire. I don't really want to be technical but what I can say, relief wood carving probably takes about 62% of woodcarving projects done in history.

  1. Create a pattern or find one on Pinterest
  2. You'll need to secure the flat piece of wood with wood clamps so it can't move.
  3. You should transfer your pattern to the wood.
  4. Make an outline of the template with a mallet and gouge.
  5. Create a template with a depth outline.
  6. Work on detail details until relief carving is done.
  7. The background should be evened out.
What Types of Projects can I work in relief carving techniques?:

Goats of Arms, Historical Scenes, Wood Signs, Furniture carvings

What is the best wood for relief carving? :



What is Wood Carving in the Round?

Carving in the round means using the wood entirely, and it usually has a realistic texture.

The projects can be big or small, with paint or stain, or left natural. This carving needs more hand tools like gouges, chisels, and some power tools. These are 3-D carvings that can be very creative! It is important to take the time to make a good pattern.

Carving takes practice, but with some good ideas, you can accomplish great things!

Round carving is notoriously difficult, but that shouldn't stop you from giving it a go! Here are the basics:

  1. Find a wooden block that is the right size for your carving project.
  2. Create a design. It does not need to be artistic; you're simply marking the dimensions of the carving on all sides of your wood block.
  3. Draw your tracing onto every side of the wood.
  4. Carve away any wood that lies outside of the lines of the design.
  5. The next step is to finish the outline of the carving. This will take a lot of patience.
  6. Use tools to smooth the surface and add other details for a more realistic look.

Carving in the round requires different wood carving techniques compared to relief carving. It takes a lot more patience and time. The only difference between you and the woodcarver about 300 years ago would be: Who is the better carver? But all other aspects will be the same. It takes the same time, the same tools, same setup in your shop.


What is Wood Whittling?

Number one 🙂 You can't whittle with a chainsaw. It is not chainsaw carving.

Whittling is the oldest carving style. Does not require advanced carving skills.

Carving wood with a carving knife is one of the oldest styles of wood carving and is called whittling. You carefully remove small pieces of wood from the workpiece. A good example of whittling is a Russian folk-style carving from Bogorodskoye. It has a unique approach to whittling.

An example of a Russian folk-style carving from Bogorodskoye is shown in the image below. This particular carving has a unique approach to whittling, and is most known for bear carving.

Once the work is completed, you can see the strokes of the knife rather than a smooth surface. Out-of-tool finish gives a unique look from different angles of view.

While carving knives appear similar to standard folding pocket knives, not all pocket knives are good for whittling. If you are you’re a beginner and want learn the basics it could work for very simple projects, but if you want to become a good wood carver, you really have to buy some knives made specifically for whittling.

  1. Ensure your knife is sharp before beginning. Wearing gloves is a good way to stay safe.
  2. Right away, start with a very deep cut – this will give you the basic outline for your project. Make long sweeping cuts following the grain of the wood and the blade of the knife should point away from you.
  3. You start shaping your project with the push stroke .
  4. Another cut that can be used for control and detail is the pull stroke, or paring cut. Using your cutting hand's thumb as a clamp, bring the knife toward you, following the grain of the wood.
What Types of Projects can I do with whittling?:

Woode animals, Bears, elk, Santa Clouse, caricature carving 

What is the best wood for Whittling?:



What is Chip carving?

Chip carving on of the oldest carving methods in northern Europe. When You will visit some nordic countries please go to old wood architectural buildings. You will find a lot of examples of chip carving decorations.

Chip carving requires a knife that is specifically designed for chip carving. Without spending a lot of money you can get into the endless world of designs made just fro this type of art.

This is one of the most basic forms of carving, but also one that demands the most precision and practice.

1 Draw your pattern on a flat piece of wood. I like to draw directly, some people use paper patterns and glue them on board.

2 Begin chipping away – make sure all cuts with the grain and not too deep. Chip carving is not going too deep of the surface of the wood.

3 Unless you will use this carving as a cutting board You don't need to apply any finish on it.

What type of Projects can I do with chip carving?

Cutting boards, Wooden utensil decoration

What is the best wood for Chip Carving?

Basswood is the best for chip carving as well as forms of wood carving. 

Ready to get started? Join the School of wood Carving! You’ll learn everything you need to cover the basics of wood carving. You will discover wood carving as a hobby is one of the best. You will learn how to work with different species of wood. How to use a sharpening stone. What could be done with a carving knife? How to use gouges and chisels. All about tools and techniques. It is good for beginner carvers and advanced woodworkers. Yes I do have some advanced wood carving courses

How Long Does it Take to Learn How to Carve Wood?

Are you thinking about starting a wood carving hobby?

Curious to know what wood carving is?

When you find yourself in a workshop with a knife in one hand and a piece of wood in the other, you can feel a little bit scared or lost: what do I do now?

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