How to Carve Wood: Whittle, Chip & Relief Carving
How to Carve Wood
Wood carving is a process of working wood by using cutting and sculpting tools like knives, chisels, and mallets to make a wooden figure or figurine. It is also known as xyloglyphy.
Since the art of carving wood requires the use of sharp tools, this may not be an ideal hobby for young children.
However, if parents can see an interest in their children, they can offer alternatives like working with soap and plastic tools. The different styles of how to carve wood include whittling, relief carving, and chip carving.
#1 Simple wood whittling
Whittling is the oldest form of wood carving. It is a simple form of carving wood as it requires only a basic whittling or carving knife. Knife strokes can be visible after the project is finished. Whittling is usually done on a small piece of wood or a twig.
To start, use the straightaway rough cutting to carve the general shape of the project. Hold the knife with the right hand and the wood on the left. Make long sweeping cuts away from the body following the grains of the wood. Continue until you reach the desired size.
Make sure that you do not cut too deep to keep the wood from splitting.
Then, using the pull stroke or the so-called pare cut, add detailed cuts to your wood carving project. In this cut, the knife should be facing you so you pull the blade towards you.
To do this, brace your right thumb on the wood and then draw the blade to the thumb by squeezing the fingers. Aside from the pull stroke, there is also the push stroke or thumb pushing. Like the pull stroke, this also adds detail to the wood you are carving.
With the blade facing away from you, place both thumbs on the blade and push the blade with your left hand with the right hand and fingers as a guide.
#2 Relief carving made simple
Another style of carving is called relief carving. This is usually done in a flat piece of wood.
First, you need to create a pattern by drawing it on paper. Then, select and prepare the wood that you want to use. Next, using a carbon paper, transfer the pattern to the wood by tracing it.
Now it is time to carve. Remove the wood around the objects that make up the pattern. Model and detail the objects. Clean up the background behind the objects and apply a finish to the project.
The concept behind relief carving is to make pictures seem as if they are rising out from the wood.
#3 Tricky chip carving
This wood carving style is very much like relief carving, which also uses flat panels. In this style of carving wood, small chips of wood are taken off using just 2 or 3 knives.
To do chip carving, small triangular pockets and crescent slices should be made. Take for instance a triangle. Make stop cuts around the triangle starting from the center to the corner. Make sure that the center is deeper while reducing it to shallow in the corners.
Then slice cut a chip on each side of the triangle. Remember that the center should be the deepest. The same idea goes with crescent slices with making stop cuts in the center and edges.
Tip: The most important thing to remember in carving wood is to maintain sharp tools. This is the secret not only in avoiding injury but also in creating perfect masterpieces.