How to whittle with a pocket knife

Updated March 23, 2017

Whittling, or carving shapes out of raw wood, can be done to make pieces of art. Whittling wood is often used to create statues. Whittling can be a hobby, or for some who sell their pieces at craft shows, a career. Whittling requires only the use of pieces of wood and a sharp knife. A pocket knife can be used to whittle some pieces as well.

Press your pocket knife's edge on a sharpening stone and move the blade over the stone in small circles. This will sharpen your knife so that you can get the most precise cuts. A dull knife can make it difficult to carve and impossible to get any intricate details in your wood.

Carve with the grain of the wood. Whittle starting at one end of your wood and work your way down. Whittling across the wood will cause your knife to hit new grain, which makes your work have rougher edges.

Whittle with the tip of your pocket knife for any small details. You will not have to press too hard into the wood if your knife is newly-sharpened and the wood you are using is soft.

Remove wood dust by blowing if off or gently wiping it away . This will keep the dust from covering up the area that you are working on. Continue to carve and blow off the dust as you work your way down your piece of wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Branch or piece of wood from a softwood tree
  • Sharpening stone
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About the Author

Melanie Fleury has been writing professionally since 1995. She has written for various educational websites such as and is the educational consultant at the Knowledge Tree Center for Education. She enjoys creating curriculum for children with various learning styles. Fleury holds a master's degree in education specializing in early childhood from Ashwood University.