How to Carve Wood

How to Carve Wood Aesthetically and Turn it Into a Piece of Art

Wood carving is done for the ornamentation of wood into various shapes and sizes. It is a great way to enhance the look of a piece of wood and turn it into a more aesthetic piece of art.
HobbyZeal Staff
Last Updated: Jul 2, 2018
Engraver - Wood working
Wood carving is an art that was developed in Italy and France in the middle ages, where various replicas of Christian beliefs were carved using wood, mainly oak wood. Later on, it became popular all over the world. Various types of wood carving was developed using various techniques of woodworking.
Craftsman carving a souvenir board
Various techniques included chip carving, Scandinavian flat plane carving, relief carving, whittling, love spoon, treen, and caricature carving. The basic tools that were used included a carving knife, gouge, chisel, sharpening tools, veiner, and V-tool.
Old furniture restoration
Today, many people enjoy and cultivate wood carving and craft as their prime hobby. Carvings speak the language of personal expression and aesthetic sensibilities.
Wood Carving
This is not a very easy process as it takes some getting used to. It is an art which is mastered slowly and gradually, one step at a time. Once you learn the basic technique, applying it on more complex techniques is a relatively easy job.
Till you achieve mastery over this art, it is best to keep on polishing it by turning small wooden pieces into small figurines, so that you can gradually try your hand at big projects like wooden toys and wood furniture.
Carving Instructions
An amateur must choose soft wood to start off. Soft woods like butternut, aspen, and basswood are perfect. Carving tools for a beginner include a utility knife, wood chisel, and a pick. Before you start, make sure that all the tools are sharp enough.
Create the design on the wood using a pencil. You can also transfer the desired shape of the design using a granite paper. Do not create any complex design, try simple shapes like flowers with broad petals or a four leaf clover. As a beginner, you can also try straight lines and curves.
Razor knife
>> Start from the topmost tip of your design using a small utility knife. Try to start carving with the help of an x-acto knife and then gradually upgrade the size as well as the strength of the knives. A chisel is used to carve deep into the wooden object.
Gouge wood chisel carpenter tool hammer hand
>> Mark the outline of the design with a sharp knife and make cuts using the chisel at the tip. Use a hammer to enforce the chisel into the wood. Make sure that the hammer is light and not very forceful, otherwise it will damage the sides of the design.
>> Blow away the debris that is caused by the chisel and observe the carving time and again. Use a tack cloth piece to clean the wood and a sandpaper to clean the sharp edges or splinters.
Exquisite bespoke chess pieces made by master craftsman
>> For finer details, apply pressure by pressing your palm against the handle of the chisel. Keep on improving the carvings until you get the perfect shape.
Steps to Carve Wood Spirits
Wood spirits are a blend of human features and natural elements. They are of great significance to the American Indians. They are made to protect human beings from any possible dangers. Here are some easy instructions for carving these.
Man Uses Whittling Knife To Carve Wooden Stick
>> Get a quality wooden stick, like a walking stick or hiking stick. It should be thick, with a wide surface available to make carvings.
Thai Wooden Figurine
>> Decide a good figurine of the nature that you would like to carve, and create a rough sketch on the stick. Fix the stick on a firm surface, which will work as a support. This will make the process easy.
Wooden Carved Owl
Apply the given instructions and make creative wood spirits and sculptures. Take adequate safety measures to avoid any injuries that might be an obstacle into your newfound hobby. Always use protective goggles and hand gloves for protection.
Flat and round Edge Slickers and Burnishers
Craftsman in workshop working on ukulele
After you finish your first woodwork, make sure you cover it with a good quality stain which will protect it. You can think of using natural oils like linseed or walnut oil on the carved piece.