The right tool for a beginner who wants to carve wood is well-made and sharp. Beginners must learn how to use the different carving tools, which helps them improve their manual skills.
With sharp, high-quality knives, it’s easier to carve. You can work the wood quickly and make filigree figures, which is when wood carving becomes fun.
Beginners who use cheaper, lower-quality tools to save money will probably lose interest and motivation quickly. That’s why we also tell people who want to start carving as a hobby to get good carving tools.
Select a wood carving set that includes all the fundamental forms you’ll need to learn how to carve wood.
What beginners need for carving
Learning by doing! This is also true about carving. The best way to learn how to carve wood quickly is to help out. You can keep track of your progress and see how your carving skills improve as you carve more difficult characters.
For beginners, we have complete sets with simple carving blanks made of soft basswood, which is very easy to carve.
The set comes with all the basic carving knives you need, all of the best quality. The package comes with a blank, five good knives, and a film that shows you step-by-step how to work on the blank, no matter how skilled or experienced you are at carving.
When carving wood, you need a very sharp knife. So, carving beginners should already know how to sharpen, hone, and resharpen knives.
There is also a small, portable sharpening set in the beginner’s range with a sharpening machine, sharpening paste, and an instructional DVD. You’ll learn how to keep your carving tools in great shape this way.
You will find Important information on good woods, the correct equipment, basic techniques, and clear instructions for the new carving project here.
Nativity figures as first works
Many people who are just starting to carve start with small nativity figures: But since nativity scenes are usually only 10–20 cm in size, these small filigree motifs are not good for beginners.
The smaller a figure becomes, the more difficult it is to carve it out precisely. Many places must be carved with stitches between 0.5 and 2 mm wide. But you can only see these small details with the help of a magnifying glass.
This project can only fail if you don’t have years of experience carving wooden shapes, using tools, and making cuts correctly. Balinese wood carving is an example of the most complicated carving design.
Carving knife from the hardware store
We think that 90% of self-taught carvers always start by buying cheap carving tools from hardware stores or online. Small complete sets that cost between $20 and $30 can often be found there:
You should avoid these offers even if you’re starting with carving. Or are you already one of the 90% and wondering why the carving hasn’t worked so far?
These carving knives don’t have enough hardening, and the blades are often too short. It can make one to three cuts, but that’s about it.
To make a good carving tool, steel must be hard enough to carve with it for as long as possible.
Which knives are particularly suitable for carving?
The popular Opinel children’s knife is the best carving knife for a beginner who doesn’t know much about knives. The beech wood handle keeps it from slipping and comes in your favorite colors (pink, blue, green, red, natural).
The blade has a lockable folding mechanism. To reduce the risk of a stab wound, the front tip of the blade on the children’s carving knife is rounded. Even so, care should be taken here as well.
Morakniv knives will be a lot of fun for skilled carvers. The blades are extremely pointed and made of premium carbon steel, making them ideal for carving fine details.
A carving blank and a knife
Many people are just starting to carve a nice blank motif and a single tool that works well. Something like that could work, but only if you like how it turns out.
But please put these thoughts out of your mind right away! You want to get a nice, clean surface when carving. However, you can only do this with various stitch types and sizes.
Patterns with curves and ridges, corners and edges, waves, or smooth surfaces all need tool molds that are made for them. The more choices you have, and the better you use them, the better your carving will look.
Carve with knives until nothing works anymore
Some people who carve as a hobby use their tools until the cut surfaces are dirty or cracked and small pieces of wood break off. Then they sharpen their carving tools:
We have a big “basic problem” to deal with here. Many beginners want to carve but don’t want to sharpen their tools. No one wants to or wants to do this.
You can’t do it the way I described above, though. Because every time you cut, your edge gets less sharp.
The less sharp your cutting edge is, the more force you need. Also, the rougher the wood surface, the less clean the cut.
Depending on the wood type and quality, you might need to keep sharpening the tools, even while carving. The only way to get the best results is to do this.
Practice sharpening with cheap carving tools
Beginners who finally get the courage to sharpen their tools do this with cheap tools that are “lying around” but aren’t good for carving:
No one wants to ruin their expensive carving tools and use them up faster than they need to. But there is a big catch to the basic idea that “cheap tools don’t break much.”
Anyone who has carefully read our website should make their own. But let’s say you could get a perfect edge right away, but the first or second test cut into a piece of wood would immediately dull the edge again!
Since you haven’t sharpened anything before, you must think you’ve done something wrong here. So you try again and eventually give up on the whole subject. It doesn’t seem to want to work.
You can’t do this, can you? No! We can assure you that it has nothing to do with how good you are. Most cheap tool steel is too soft to be stable because it hasn’t been hardened or hardened enough.
Steel is a very bad thing. No matter how well you sharpen it, you can’t get the material to stick to the wood.
Carving knife set for children and adults to learn
Kids and adults can try carving for the first time with a carving set. It comes with the most important knives and short instructions on carving. As a beginner at carving for children and adults, we have a few tips for you.
- Start with a large motif. The more details there are, the harder it is to start.
- Cheap carving knives from the hardware store are not very good, but they are cheap. Yes, that’s a good place to start, but you might don’t like the knives.
- The best knives are both expensive and hard. The harder the carving, the easier it is to carve.
- Don’t keep working until the knife is dull. When the knife is dull, you have to use more force, and the piece you are working on gets dirty.
- With cheap carving knives, the steel tool is usually too soft, making it hard to sharpen the knife.
- I can suggest a set of carving knives, but it won’t be the cheapest one.
- Electric wood carving tools might not suit a beginner
Beginners should usually start with a wood carving starter set. It will be a better answer for beginners because of the following. Our three favorites:
- BeaverCraft S13 Wood carving Set Tools
- Flexcut KN500 Starter Set Carving Knives
- BeaverCraft S14 Wood carving Set Tools
BeaverCraft wood carving knives: everything for the hobby craftsman
BeaverCraft makes great knives for carving wood at reasonable prices. BeaverCraft has the tools to carve spoons and reliefs, make wooden ornaments, and carve dolls and other figures. There are many different kinds, so you can always find the right wood carving knife.
There are many different kinds of wood carving knives at BeaverCraft. From the Sloyd knife to the spoon knife and the marking knife to the wood carving knife for carving geometric shapes.
BeaverCraft knows how to meet the needs of both experts and beginners. A beautiful brown leather case is part of their set. There are three whittling knives in the Deluxe Wood Carving tools set:
- the C15 Whittling Knife
- the C6 Chip Carving Knife
- and the C16 Roughing Knife
Choosing the right carving knife is a very personal thing. BeaverCraft makes so many knives that you will find what you need here.
Aren’t you happy with everything? Wooden handles offer a big advantage: Change the handle to fit your style so that you can make the knife work best for you.
Four types of wood carving you need to know
Carvers and artists will tell you that carving is not just carving. Different types of carving require different tools; depending on how difficult they are, beginners or more experienced carvers can do them.
Getting an overview of the different ways to work is important, especially if you are new to woodworking. In this guide, we’d like to tell you some ways to carve wood and what makes each unique.
Carving with the carving knife
As the name suggests, this carving technique needs a special carving knife.
This method makes making a smooth, clean surface less important than making a carving with strong contours and rough curves.
Most knives have either a fixed handle or a handle that can be folded.
In general, it’s true that not all knives, and especially not all folding knives, are good for carving. When carving, poor quality can also be very dangerous.
Carving in the Round
With this kind of carving, you can make even more complicated shapes. The tool marks are not as clear as when you use a carving knife, and there are more different kinds.
This is because there are a lot more tools used. This technique uses gravers, chisels, but also knives. Electrical tools such as angle grinders with a TurboPlane or Woodcarver clamped can also be used.
Because there are so many kinds, there are also more ways to design the pieces. This also means that the workpiece can be almost any size or shape.
Relief carving makes a carved piece with a flat back. Most of the time, this is hung on the wall and shows whole scenes or single people or animals.
There must be a difference between high relief and low relief. High relief covers a large area, while low relief stays mostly flat.
Most reliefs are carved by hand, but the back can also be smoothed with power tools. Again, we’d like the angle grinder to be in our product category for woodworking.
Chip carvings only have two levels: the original surface of the wood and the level where the wood was taken away.
Most of the carvings are done in shapes like triangles or circles using chip carving knives. This is probably the most delicate and difficult kind of carving.
Sometimes the work is painted first, then carved, using colors that contrast with the natural wood.
Beginner wood carving Tips: Would you like to get creative in the workshop?
Carving wood needs patience, the appropriate tools, and the right amount of time, whether you’re constructing tiny house repairs, a wooden spoon, or a spaceship.
This woodcarving guide will help beginners get started on their projects by telling them how to choose the right wood and tools.
1. Choose your wood carving tools
Choose your wood carving sets and tools for carving, and they can be used for carving. For bigger tools, it’s best to use the flexible shaft. This makes it much easier to handle. You will need the following tools to start carving wood:
A carving knife
For carving, knives are often made with fixed blades and longer handles. Spend money on a good knife. It will be worth it. Most likely, a sharp piece of stone was the first tool used to carve wood.
This became the knife, which is still used to carve wood today. Most people have carving knives and whittling knives.
This is your chance to be a lumberjack since an ax is one of the most important tools. Use a small, easy-to-grip ax to do your work.
Chisels and gouges
After the handsaw, chisels and gouges are the most common hand tools used for woodworking. These are used to make many different kinds of wood carvings.
A relatively new tool with a wide range of capabilities. It can do more than carve and engrave wood.
Used to rough out larger pieces and, in some cases, to finish them.
A well-known tool for carving an entire tree trunk.
It is mainly used to cut out patterns from blocks, which are then finished using hand tools.
Carving wood will eventually dull any blade; thus, sharpening with a good ceramic whetstone is necessary. Sharpen the blade by dragging it back and forth across the sharpening stone at an angle of 10 to 20 degrees.
2. Choose your smoothing tools
Choose your Dremel tools for wood smoothing.
Smoothing can be accomplished with EZ SpeedClic fine sanding discs of varying grits. For modest jobs, a grit of 180-280 works nicely.
To utilize the grinding wheels, you’ll need a mandrel. The EZ SpeedClic mandrel (SC402) is required for the grinding wheels, while the 401 mandrel is required for the polishing wheels.
With the precision handle, you may work more comfortably and precisely on your hobby and DIY projects.
3. Choose the best woods for wood carving
Softwoods like balsa wood, birch, pine, chestnut, and basswood are easier to carve, which is preferable when first starting.
As you gain experience, you can employ teak, cherry, maple, apple, pear, olive, aspen wood, or walnut. These woods have lovely textures and colors, making them intriguing and unique in your design.
4. Avoid mistakes when choosing wood for carving
Beginners should use wood that is as clean and free of flaws as possible.
You probably won’t find many growth rings or knots if you buy wood from a craft store. But this could be a bigger problem if you buy it from a lumber yard.
Remember that if you are new to wood carving, it won’t be easy to carve around these natural shapes. Try to get as clean and perfect wood as possible, and do the hard work at the end. Mastery comes from practice.
5. Take the right security measures
Make sure your knife is always sharp, and take steps to keep yourself safe. When you sharpen your knife, it makes your job easier and safer. With a dull blade, you are much more likely to hurt yourself than with a sharp blade.
Wear a glove
Have you got gloves? On the question of whether protective gloves are needed or not, people have different ideas. We suggest firmly holding the knife or carving tool in your bare hand for a better grip.
Long-time carvers and professionals who carve a lot can protect their thumb tips by putting pressure plasters on the thumbs that push the back of the knife into the wood.
Leather gloves protect your hands, are more durable, and last longer than other kinds.
Wear safety goggles
It’s dangerous to get wood chips in your eyes. Wear good safety glasses whenever you see, chop, or use a Dremel accessory to protect your precious eyesight.
When carving, cutting, sanding, or polishing, you should always wear a dust mask to not breathe in the dust.
6. Practice drawing your design
Draw your design first on paper, then transfer it to the wood. Your carving may change over time, but in the beginning, you should focus on getting the basic shape right.
Trace your design lightly with a pencil before you start carving. Stay on track with the ax and carving knife as you move along the lines of your drawing.
7. Take your time with the wood carving
You shouldn’t rush into wood carving as a hobby. Try to enjoy every step of the process and move slowly.
You may occasionally wish to speed up certain aspects of your wood carving tasks, particularly the drying time. But go slowly and try to enjoy every step of the process.
It would be best if you didn’t rush into wood carving as a hobby. When you’re done, you’ll be glad you took the time. You must be excited to start your first wood carving project by now.