How to Carve Wood

How to Carve Wood

The best way to learn to carve wood is to get out there and start carving. Start simple, get use to your knife or chisel, and start getting a feel for different types of wood.

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Woodcarving Basics To carve efficiently, your tools must be razor sharp. They should leave a shiny cut through the wood, with no white streaks that indicate a nick in the blade. To determine the direction of the grain, look at the long cell fibers. The darker streaks of the annual rings can help indicate the direction of the grain. Carve in a downward direction onto the parallel lines of grain. Note, if the wood seems to be tearing, and your tools are sharp, then you are probably going in the wrong direction. Turn around and carve in the opposite direction. You can also carve diagonally across the grain and even parallel to it, but if you carve upwards against the grain, it will only tear and splinter the wood.

Carving Wood Faces

Helpful advice including guidance on using tools, carving head-wear and hair,and carving to resemble the shape of skin and muscles under the skin.  Carving a wooden face is often daunting to a new wood carver, but by learning the correct technique and skills you can quickly become skilled at it. There are many styles and methods available depending on the result you expect, and level of realism you expect from your finished piece.

How to Carve Eyes, Hand, Wrinkles, and Folds

Small details on a carving often cause you object to look stiff and “wooden”. A few tips and trick will allow you to turn your carving into a realistic figure.

Carving Walking Sticks and Canes

Walking sticks and canes are popular, yet easy items to carve. There are several common carvings done on walking sticks, but there is nothing to stop you from carving whatever you wish.

How to Carve Wood Animals

If you are interested in carving in the round, simple animals figures is a good place to start. With a simple animal figure you can learn while still producing a passable animal carving. Simple skill learned earn will be use later in more intricate carvings. As your skill increase so will the quality and designs of your wood animals.

Making Decoys, and Carving Small Animals

Decoys, waterfowl, and water creatures are very popular areas in which to carve. Simple decoys can be easy to product, and will all you to gain the experience needed to make more realistic animals as you gain experience. 

Carving Simple Household Items

There are a lot of simple, and not so simple items, that can be carve for use of decoration around the house. Carving simple practical items will all you to make something useful, and use new techniques and gain valuable experience as you learn to carve.

Caricature Carving

Caricature carving is a popular style of carving, which allows you to make something fun, while using your acquired skills.  Caricature can be as intricate or as simple as you wish, and can be of any figure or style that you wish to work on.

Wood Carving: Where Do You Start?

Like any woodworking venture, it can be a little daunting to know just where to start. There are several types of wood carving: chip carving, carving in the round, letter carving, and relief carving.  Carving tools include , chisels, gouges, and knives, mallets. For carving in the round, files and rasps are helpful.  Gouges come in many shapes and are gauged by their width and sweep (the amount of curve on the cutting edge). Included in the mix are straight, bent, fishtail, incannel gouges(the bevel is on the inside rather than the outside), spoon-bit gouges, and V-gouges, many are also available with short or long handles.