How To Start Wood Carving

Are you itching to get your hands dirty in the workshop? Carving wood is all about patience, materials, and timing, whether you’re making tiny home repairs, a wooden spoon, or a starship. This beginner’s guide to woodcarving can help you get started with everything from choosing the right wood to selecting the right Dremel accessories.

Choose your basic woodcarving tools

There’s not a whole lot of it. If you’re just getting started, you’ll need the following:

A carving knife

Knives made specifically for whittling have fixed blades and longer handles. Invest in a decent knife; you’ll be glad you did.

An Axe

Because an axe is a necessary tool for a lumberjack, here’s your chance to be one. Get a small axe that is easy to hold.

A Sharpening Stone

Any blade will become dull after carving wood, so a good ceramic sharpening stone is important. Swipe the blade back and forth over the sharpening stone at a 10-20 degree angle.

How To Start Wood Carving

1.Choose your Dremel tools for carving wood

Do you want to go? Carving can be done with any Dremel® Multi-Tool. For the larger wood Dremel tools, it’s safer to use the Flexible Shaft because it makes maneuvering far simpler.

For Dremel wood carving, you can use the following Dremel accessories:

High-Speed Cutter 7.8 mm (114)

High-Speed Cutter 7.2 mm (134)

High-Speed Cutter 4.8 mm (192)

Engraving Cutter 2.4 mm (107)

Tungsten Carbide Cutter ball tip 3.2 mm (9905)

2.Choose your Dremel tools for smoothing

Smoothing can be done with EZ SpeedClic: Finishing Abrasive Buffs of various grits. For small ventures, a range of 180-280 should suffice. A mandrel is required to hold and operate the wheels. For the sanding buffs, the EZ SpeedClic Mandrel (SC402) was used, and the 401 Mandrel was used for the polishing wheels.

3.Know the best woods for woodcarving

If you’re new to woodcarving, a softwood like a birch, limewood, oak, willow, or horse chestnut is a good place to start. These are less difficult to carve. You’ll be able to use birch burl, cherrywood, oak, apple, pear, olive, or walnut until you’ve gained more experience. All of these have lovely patterns and colors, and they’ll bring new life to your designs.

4.What to avoid for choosing wood for carving

If you buy your wood from a craft shop, there aren’t likely to be many growth rings or knots. If you buy it from a lumberyard, however, this might be a bigger problem. Remember that carving around these natural formations can be difficult if you’re a beginner woodcarver. Get the cleanest wood you can and return to the difficult stuff later. It is said that practice makes better.

5.Take the correct safety precautions

Always keep the knife sharp

Sharpening your knives not only makes your job easier, but it also makes your work better. A dull blade is much more likely to cause injury than a sharp one.

Wear a glove

It should be worn on the side that isn’t carrying the carving knife at all times. Not only will leather hide work gloves protect your hands, but they will also be more resistant to damage and last longer.

Wear your safety glasses

When sawing, cutting, or using a Dremel accessory, it’s no fun having wood chips in your eyes, so protect your vision by wearing a good pair of safety glasses.

Dust Mask

To avoid inhaling dust produced by carving, cutting, sanding, or polishing, always wear a dust mask.

1.Practice drawing your design first

Although your woodcarving piece can evolve as you work on it, it’s critical to focus on perfecting the basic shape at first. Before you begin whittling, gently draw your pattern with a pencil. When you get out the axe and carving knife, staying within the lines of your drawing will help you stay on track.

2.Set aside some time just for woodcarving

You’ll wish you could speed things up at times during your woodcarving projects, especially the drying process. Take it slowly, however, and try to enjoy each step of the way. Carving wood is not a hobby that can be rushed, and you’ll be happy you took your time when you hold your finished piece.

You’re probably eager to get started on your first woodcarving project at this stage. Check out our 10-step tutorial on how to carve a wooden spoon.

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How do I start learning wood carving?

Woodcarving is divided into four general styles, each with its own set of styles, techniques, and equipment. You must choose which path you want to take to acquire the necessary techniques and tools. Learning how to carve wood by hand entails using a variety of tools and techniques to turn a raw piece into a finished carved item. Traditional carving tools like chisels, knives, gouges, and hammers are used, as well as sanding, painting, and other methods to finish the project. A woodcarver may use a variety of simple wood carving techniques and skills to complete a project from start to finish.

Beginning woodcarving

Woodworking Carving with a Dremel necessitates not only the use of appropriate materials but also the mastery of proper technique and the selection of appropriate wood for any project. It takes time and practice to master proper techniques once you’ve learned them.

Advice for a New woodcarver

Always keep your tools clean. They cut cleanly, even when cutting against the grain with caution. They’re also better to use than boring ones because you exert more energy with them, which causes objects to slip, fall, and bite you. So, first and foremost, learn how to sharpen properly. Use easy-to-carve woods to learn the fundamentals of carving a walking stick with a Dremel without having to battle the material; an example would be Basswood. Learn about wood’s mechanics. Understand grain and how it can support you or battle you. Learn to create your designs, which means you should be able to draw a little. If you can design your unique projects, you will be the envy of everyone else. You can also sell this item if you want to.

best dremel bits for wood carving

Carving for New Wood Carvers: Chip Carving

For beginners, there are a variety of ways to get acquainted with wood carving. Chip carving is the most common way for beginners to begin wood carving because it is fast, inexpensive, and simple to learn, and only requires a few tools. This technique can be used to spruce up crates, chests, utensils, chairs, or anything else made of wood. The first step in chip carving is to select a template. Drawing the template onto the wood is the most difficult aspect of chip carving. Finding a pattern online and taping it to the wood to carve over is an easy way to get one. Since the pattern must be precise, you can take your time and not hurry it. To make your pattern, you’ll need a straight edge, a compass, and a pencil.

First Skills for the New woodcarver

Carving by hand is a skill as well as an art form. The reason for the wide range of finished pieces is because each carver chooses their method of carving. Knowing what you want to do with your carvings will aid in the technique you use to complete the project.

Fixing damaged woodcarvings

Carvings are subjected to a variety of damages and subsequent repairs. I’ll cover a few simple forms of repairs here that deal with a carving in progress. The most critical aspect of a repair is also the most difficult: the repair must be permanent and undetectable. The best fix should be hidden from view. Repairs that aren’t done well can detract from the appearance of a carving, so take as much care with them as you would with any other aspect of woodworking carving.

Wood Carving as Art

Anyone with advanced ability will move on to wood carving for art’s sake after learning the basics and trying out some simple projects. It takes time, skill, technique, and the right materials to do it correctly.

Intermediate Wood carving by hand

After learning the fundamentals of wood carving, you will move on to more advanced carving projects. Others can be created quickly, while others are more time-consuming and complex. It’s crucial to figure out where your strengths and interests lie so you can focus on them while learning the fundamentals of wood carving.

Paint a Wood Carving

Before they can be done, several carvings must be decorated. It only makes sense to finish your curving correctly after putting in the time and effort to get it right. Finishing and painting the carving properly will improve the work you’ve done.

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Finishing your wood carving

There are several options for finishing and protecting your carving or other working work projects. The right finish will highlight the Dremel carving while still protecting the wood in the long run.

Is wood carving hard to learn?

It is not difficult to learn how to carve wood. …… There are several ways to carve wood, and the majority of them necessitate the use of specialized tools. Some types of wood carving, such as whittling and chip carving, can be done with only a few inexpensive tools.

When many people see other people’s wood carvings for the first time, they believe the method is difficult to understand. This is large because they are only interested in the final product and are unaware of the steps involved in creating the sculpture.

There are several ways to carve wood, and the majority of them necessitate the use of specialized tools. Some types of wood carving, such as whittling and chip carving, can be done with only a few inexpensive tools. Other methods, such as woodturning, necessitate more costly equipment.

What tools are needed for beginner wood carving?

Wood carving is more than just a pastime; it’s a means of self-expression, a stress reliever, and a creative outlet. You can produce a work of art for the mantle or furniture fit for a queen with the right touch and the right tools. All you need is a collection of beginner wood carving tools to get started mastering a skill that you can be proud of.

Safety Equipment

Wood carving necessitates the use of razor-sharp blades as well as the occasional flying chip of wood. To prevent serious injury, always take precautions. Wear protection goggles to prevent loose shavings from getting in your eyes. Also, pay attention to the sharp edge and do not place any body parts in front of the sharp edge. With both hands on the tool, you have the most leverage, and you can’t cut your hands if you have both hands on the tool.

The sharper the blade, though it may seem counterintuitive at first, the better it is. Dull knives and Dremel wood carving patterns will take more force to use, but they’ll still cut through the skin. Sharpen your tools with a sharpening stone and a strop regularly for protection and efficiency.

Carving Knives

Since carving knives are flexible and come in a variety of sizes, they can be one of the best Dremel wood carving tools for beginners. Only a carving knife is needed for some Dremel wood carving projects. You can use your knife to cut out pieces of various sizes, draw an outline on wood, or add info.

Since the types of wood used for carving vary greatly in softness and hardness, you’ll need to practice controlling your cuts. To get the cut you want, your knives will need to be razor-sharp.

A collection of carving knives is everything you’ll need to start whittling as part of your wood carving education. Whittling projects are typically less detailed and have a rougher finish. When you’re ready to move on to other techniques, having a variety of the best Dremel bits for wood carving for beginners will come in handy.

Wood Carving Mallet

A wood carving mallet is another important beginner tool. Your mallet can be used to strike the tips of chisels, gouges, veiners, and other similar instruments. You can use a mallet to make deeper cuts or to cut through wood that is too soft to carve by just pulling or pushing the carving tool. Furthermore, since wood has different densities, using hand pressure will cause the tool to lose control if you carve from a dense to a softer section. When you use a mallet, the cutting edge moves a predictable amount each time you hit it. Look for a shock-absorbent mallet that can apply the pressure you need without adding too much force that is difficult to manage.


You’ll need several chisels in addition to sharp, high-quality knives. Depending on the size and shape of the cut you want to make, chisels have different tips. Some chisels have a smooth, beveled edge that resembles that of a screwdriver, but the two are easily distinguished.

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Other chisels have a v-shaped tip or are made for a particular task. Paring, for example, can be done using a paring chisel, which will shave off a thin piece of wood rather than removing a huge chunk. A skew chisel, also known as a corner chisel, is a chisel with a beveled edge cut at an angle.


The handle of a gouge is similar to that of a chisel, and it carves in the same way, except the tip is rounded. When moved or struck with a wood carving mallet, gouges “scoop” out the wood. They can be used to hollow out small or large pieces of wood, as well as to shape it into curves. They even make it possible to easily extract wood. The “sweep” refers to the curve of the gouge. If you stab a gouge in side by side enough times, it will form a circle.

A long-bent gouge and a short-bent gouge are both gouges with an upward curve at the top. Relief carving is when a sculpture is cut into a flat piece of wood but does not protrude much beyond the flat surface. Long-bent and short-bent tools, for example, could be used to carve an intricately designed piece of carved artwork on a door while keeping the surface relatively flat.

The smooth, beveled edge of a fishtail gouge or fishtail chisel is wider at the end of the blade than at the shaft. The advantage of this tool is that it can get into smaller, harder-to-reach places despite sacrificing shaft power.


A veiner has a handle that is similar to that of a gouge, as well as a similar shape. The veiner differs in that it has longer sides and makes a U-shape when stabbed into a piece of wood. It’s also known as a U-Gouge. It produces a hollowed-out “vein,” or thin groove, in the wood when struck or driven through it. It’s ideal for lines and tiny details in the project’s design. Fluters are large U-gouges that are used to carve large grooves or “flutes” that are commonly seen in Greek columns.


A veiner and a V-tool are almost identical. In contrast to the U-shaped veiner, the V-shaped veiner’s tip is in the form of a V. Both, on the other hand, are used for fine grooves and detail work.

Bench Knives

Bench knives vary from carving knives in appearance as well as function. They have a much wider grasping handle and a blade that is just about an inch long. Consider a powerful scalpel with a large handle. This is not the same knife like the one with the same name, which is used in the kitchen.

With a bench knife, you can get closer to the wood and cut out smaller bits and intricate details in a safer and more precise manner. In detailed work, you can also dig into the wood to extract larger parts.

Rasps & Rifflers

You will most likely be quite skilled at detail work once you master the tools listed above. This indicates that the rough surfaces in the small crevices are ready to be smoothed out. You’ll need a rasp or a riffler for this. Rasps resemble a file but have coarser teeth. Some are flat, while others are half-round. A riffler is usually carried in the middle and has two ends with separate tips. The tips will have different grooves for filing imperfections out of small areas that are otherwise difficult to reach.

Schaaf tools for woodcarvers of all skill levels

The safest and most artistic Dremel for beginners are those that can be used both safely and creatively. Experiment with a variety of resources, watch lectures, read expert advice, and continue to develop your skills beyond the fundamentals. Wood carving tools and beginner kits, as well as supplemental carving tool, sets to expand project possibilities, are available from Schaaf Tools.


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