Essential Wood Carving Tools


Essential Wood Carving Tools3Dating back to the 17th Century, wood carving is a discipline with a well established history, but even with the most basic wood carving tools such as chisels, mallets, and a carving knife, it’s possible to create works of art that will stand the test of time.

Wooden sculptures are on display in museums around the world, and the practice of sculpting forms an important part of the history of many cultures.

But before getting started in wood carving, it’s important to know the basics.

There are four main styles to consider, and the same wood carving tools are not always useful for each style. Let’s take a look at a few fundamental styles, and the tools required for each.


Perhaps the most well-known and oldest style of woodcarving, whittling is done primarily with a carving knife, but can also be performed with a regular small bladed knife such as a pocket knife.

Specialized knives come with fixed single blades, and are preferred for more artistic work due to their thick handles, making them easier to grip and allowing greater pressure and control.

Whittling differs from other wood carving methods due to the fact that, unlike methods such as chip or relief carving, whittling only requires a single tool to get started, making it ideal for beginner.

Relief Carving:

Relief carving is a versatile style of carving well suited for sculptural work. Though not as popular as other styles, relief carving is as old as antiquity, and still enjoyed by many carvers to this day.

The images captured in relief carving are 3 dimensions, making them ideal for representing scenes or people, and work begins from a flat surface where figures are then projected slightly from the background rather than freestanding.

The majority of relief carving is performed using hand tools such as chisels and gouges, both often requiring a mallet to drive them through the wood.

Chip Carving:

Chip carvings are formed by using specialized carvings knives or chisels to remove chips of wood from a flat surface, and can be free-form or based circles, triangles, or other geometric shapes.

Historically, chip carvings were used in creating animal-style jewellery due to the faceted surfaces’ ability to catch the light and give off a “glinting” appearance.

In modern times, this particular style can also be called spoon carving, and is primarily used with basswood, pine, mahogany, or butternut wood.

In Summary:

Wood carving is a long establish and much-loved art. It’s fun, creative, and most importantly, accessible – with the right wood carving tools and an eye for detail, anyone can discover the joys of wood carving today.



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