How to Whittle Wood
How to Whittle Ideas for Beginners
All you need is knife, some wood and a simple whittling idea you can begin your whittling career. Whittling can be an enjoyable way to make a quick simple project, but can also be used to make true works of art. A good place to start is whittling simple wood figures or shapes. The hobby of Whittling is typically performed with a small knife blade, generally a pocket knife is used. Whittling knives can now be purchase which have thick handles for a better grip which allow for more accurate control.
Carving is for many hundreds of years. All the way back to the days of cavemen. One could say that, because we started to carve that technology began. It 'was the design of wood, after all, after the discovery of sharp edges that caused the human imagination to make carts, cooking utensils and clothes, pick up weapons for hunting and feeding methods. Who would have thought?
Whittling is a form of carving that is done generally by using nothing more than a knife. And a purist would argue that whittling is done by using nothing more than a “pocket” knife. Whittling is an American term which, as I state above, means to carve using a knife. It is kind of a sub-category of woodcarving. Elsewhere in the world, if you were to carve using a knife, it would be referred to as woodcarving. Learn how to whittle wood.
This posting illustrates some suggestions in getting started with wood carving or whittling. My friend Donald Mertz (see the Guest Contributors tab), has a stated philosophy of “Would be carvers would be carvers if they would carve wood.” That is a great philosophy and a pretty easy one to follow.
I start the carving by cutting out the side view on the band saw since this is a rather small carving. This also gives you a little leeway in creativity with your beginning whittlings.
Most carved pieces, with the exception of the more advanced pieces which require gouge cuts, can be completed with these four basic carving cuts.
This simple project doesn't take a long time to finish, can be made with almost any stick of wood, and kids can play with it as soon as it's complete. I use white pine, but other soft woods, such as Ponderosa Pine, spruce, or basswood, work well too. Avoid using really hard woods or woods that split easily. A propeller toy is a simple but fun device. You can one carve yourself and play with indoors or outdoors, alone or with friends.
To carve my little people I have taken the procedure of Jack Price and his books. I admire Jack's work very much and I feel that his genius lies in his simple, yet very expressive works. Whittling is a great pastime for the man who wants to craft something, but may not have the room or tools to say, build a dining room table. Or for the man looking for something meditative to help him center his thoughts. Or simply for the guy who wants to while away time on a camping trip. It’s one of the cheapest and most accessible hobbies you can take up–all you need is a knife and some wood.
A friend of mine asked if I would whittle her a small Gnome and put a pin back on it. In our conversation she said she was getting ready to participate in a walk for the cure. That's when I got the whittling idea to make her a small Gnome pin and paint the Gnomes hat pink. Here's an abbreviated step-by-step of whittling the Gnome.
Wood whittling is not just a pleasant pastime, it can spanned generations. It is the type of activity that grandpas pass down to their grandkids while spending a quiet evening on the front porch. Wood Whittling is a past time enjoyed by many generations, and it is the perfect project for kids. If you are new to wood whittling, there are a few basic principles that will make sure you start with good technique and safe practices. Remember you whittling ideas can come from anywhere