Beginner Instructions for Wood Carving

Updated March 23, 2017

Wood carving is a relaxing, enjoyable and often profitable hobby. Whether you prefer to do it the old-fashioned way, whittling on the front porch with a knife and whatever wood is handy, or using the most advanced power cutting tools on the market, creating your own wood carvings can bring you a great deal of satisfaction. It is easy enough to get started in wood carving by beginning with a simple project that requires few tools.

Choosing Your Wood

Just about any type of wood can be used to create a wood carving. Some woods are harder than others and may require more powerful cutting tools. The best way to select a wood is to determine the look that you want to achieve in your final carving and the tools you'll have available for your project. Beginners should consider starting with a soft, lightweight wood, such as Balsa. If you have power tools and a little experience, harder woods like maple and cherry lend themselves to more complex projects.

Choosing Your Tools

There are a number of ways to carve wood, ranging from simple whittling knives to band saws and even wood lathes. Beginning carvers should consider starting with a knife, a V-tool or small chisel and a rubber mallet. Working with these simple tools and a soft piece of wood is one of the best ways for a newbie carver to get a feel for carving, and many believe this is still the most satisfactory way to create wood carvings.

Creating and Executing Your Design

Some wood carvers prefer to take a piece of wood and go to work on it with a general idea of what they want to carve, taking away wood and forming their project as they go. Beginning wood carvers should consider using a pencil and sketch pad to jot down their project ideas. Drawing a design idea on paper as a reference, or even working from a photograph, is recommended to start. Beginners should work with care and patience, carving small portions of wood away at a time, and they will gradually see their carving come to life.

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About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.