Wood carving is a technique characterized by creative craft and fun, it only requires a piece of wood and a tool (sharp) to carve the wood. The tool chosen to be used in carving also greatly affects the ease, result in the final product of carving and the safety. The following information is greatly important to a new craftsman/craftswoman who wishes to get started in the field;

Types of wood carvings

Generally wood carvings is of different types , before one purchase materials and supplies to start the carving one should identify the best style that suits his/her abilities and the desired end product

Chip carving

In this type of carving tools involved are chisel, hammer and a knife. As the name suggests “chip” it entails chipping away a piece of wood. It is mostly employed in creation of patterns that is in wooden boards or plates.

Relief carvings

It involves the process of carving where figures are curved into the wood. Mostly the back of the wood is left flat. The image is curved in three dimensions.

Carving in the round

In this model/type all ends and sides are curved compared to relief curving. Sometimes it is compared to clay sculpturing of wood cutting because objects are generally smooth and angles are round.


A whittling or carving knife is greatly used in this mode of carving. It is distinct because of its sharpness and textured cuts.

Types of woods

After one has chosen his/her best style of carving the best wood should be chosen too for the best end product in carving. Basswood or butternut is ideal wood for beginners these is because they are soft. If the craftsman/craftswoman is planning to leave the sculpture unpainted then butternut is the best to use because of its nice looking grain.

All woods for curving are highly recommend to be purchased from crafts and arts store and not from a garage or lumber pile. Below are some types of woods that can be used;

White oak

Hard to carve, yellowish color, very light and has a coarse grain.


Easy to carve, has a coarse grain, it is light brown in color


It is easy to carve, light and creamy colored and has a fine grain.


It is very hard to carve, pinkish brown in color, has a wavy pattern and with a fine grain.

White pine.

Easy to carve, medium grain, soft and creamy colored

Black walnut.

Generally hard to carve, very dark brown in color and with a medium grain

Sugar maple.

Hard to carve, light cream color and with a fine grain.

Types of wood carving tool

Nice sculptures are obtained with the use of the correct tools. Some of them are;

Chip carving knife.

It consist of a blade that is about an inch and a half long, has a long handle too these to prevent any injury to the hand also provides comfort. It cost around 20$ but the best quality sells are 50$.


These are curved tools used in scooping out large or small areas of wood depending on wideness in their sweep. Examples of gouges are V-gouges-gouges and spoon gouges.


They are used with mallets, they are generally sharp. To prevent noise due to hitting with the mallet rubber fitted mallets are used instead of bare metal mallet.

Wood carving tips;

  • Learn how to handle a carving knife. These tools used in carving are sharp one should be more careful in handling them, carving gloves can be used on the hand holding the wood if one is doubting him/herself. Use the wrist and not the elbow in controlling the knife, the knife should be kept sharp to make caving easier.

  • Cut along the grain .Grains direction should be identified fast; these can be done by carving a piece of wood out of a corner. One should take note of the long and dark streaks that appear in the wood.

  • Sketch out your wood cuts. Everything should be done with much care no rush because any mistakes made means changing up the plan to integrate the mistake this could sacrifice the original version. A pencil maybe used, these is in drawing the lines to cut along and shapes to carve out preventing un-fixable mistakes.

What to do and consider in carving;

    • Be careful; avoid rush over the carving process.

      Choose the best tools and appropriate ones to use in your carving.

      Decide on the type of wood to use.

      Finally decide on the type of carving to use.


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