How to Do Wood Carvings of Logs

Written by jonah morrissey
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How to Do Wood Carvings of Logs
A wood carver at work. (woodcarving maestro image by sumos from

Woodcarving is an ancient skill. Carving is an accessible craft to start because you do not need a lot of expensive equipment. As your carving skills progress, you may want to acquire and learn to use a wide variety of tools, but they are not necessary for a successful wood carving. Wood carving a log is a good beginner to intermediate wood carving project. The complexity of the project will depend on how detailed and realistic you would like the carving to look.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 4-inch by 4-inch by 36-inch wood post
  • Pencil
  • Workbench
  • Vice
  • Drawknife
  • Mallet
  • V-gouge chisel
  • Carving knife
  • Wood finish of your choice

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  1. 1

    Draw the basic shape of the log onto the wood post using a pencil. Add a curve or bend to the post to make the log look more realistic. Clamp the post into the vice on the workbench.

  2. 2

    Use a drawknife to shave off flowing sections of the post. Follow the basic outline that you drew on the post. Round the corners to make the post rounded. Smooth out the curve or bend in the post so that it flows with the overall design of the log carving.

  3. 3

    Draw details of the bark with the pencil. Make a knot here and there on the log carving for added detail. Make marks for the grooves in the bark.

  4. 4

    Use a mallet to tap the V-gouge chisel to take out sections where the bark is rough and has crevices. Take some deep cuts and some very shallow cuts. Make a variety of cut depths, and in no specific pattern. Use a carving knife to cut out the details of the knots. Continue to add detail to the bark of the log carving. Step back and look at the log carving. Continue carving until you are completely satisfied.

  5. 5

    Apply a wood finish of your choice. Before handling, allow the finish to dry according to the instructions on the finish container.

Tips and warnings

  • Carve a heart with initials into the log carving for added interest and character. A wood carved log would be a good element to add to a larger wood carving.
  • Wear eye protection when carving wood.
  • Always cut away from you when carving.

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