Wood Carving Techniques

If you're interested in carving wood, you should understand the four basic wood carving techniques. All wood carving techniques involve hands-on manipulation of that delicious-smelling fresh, soft wood, but some carving techniques are more difficult than others.

Whittling
Whittling is perhaps the most primitive form of carving wood, but many people love it. Invest in an X-Acto knife, some disposable #11 blades, a few pieces of basswood, aspen or butternut wood, and go for it. Using your knife and nothing else, you'll carve away pieces of wood until you have a walking stick, a sculpture or a design you appreciate. You can leave your whittled wood natural or sand it smooth.

Carving In The Round
Carving in the round is a method of wood carving that results in a three-dimensional wood sculpture that can be admired from all angles. You'll use a myriad of tools when carving in the round, from chisels and mallets to u-gouges, v-gouges and skewed gouges.

Relief Carving
Relief carving is a method of carving that involves chiseling away from one side of a flat board such that you have a raised picture on a flat background. The end result is like a three-dimensional painting, all done in wood. You'll use all kinds of gouges for a relief carving since you'll need to get into interesting angles.

Chip Carving
Chip carving is performed by chipping out triangular-shaped chips of wood from a larger piece of wood such that a pattern or picture is left behind. You can chip carve a jewelry box, a trunk or a picture. The wood carvings that result are usually not very detailed, as this is a rougher, more abstract method of carving.

No matter which carving method appeals to you, you would benefit from taking an introductory wood carving class. You'll learn what wood carving supplies you need, what precautions to take while carving and how to care for your wood carving tools.

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You have an array of wood carving chisels to choose from, and the number might overwhelm a beginning carver. When investing in tools, first consider the type of carving projects you like to do.

If you want to design your own wood carving patterns, take a good look at existing patterns before creating your own. Pay attention to how pattern designers depict depths of cuts and positioning of patterns right on the patterns themselves.

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If you want a set of the best wood carving tools, you need to get to know what the different tools are before you start buying tools you may never use. This list of must-haves can get you started.

You'll need to sharpen your wood carving knives often so you can carve efficiently and safely. Dull tools can cause serious injuries and destroy a beautiful woodworking project in a flash.

You can find many wood carving designs on the Web, in craft stores and in magazines. However, not all those designs are appropriate for the beginner level. The best patterns for new carvers include Christmas ornaments and walking sticks.

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