Carving wood is a fun hobby. It is appropriate for a range age groups and it does not have to be expensive. The skill can be used for projects of all sizes. In some cases, people become so skilled at carving they are able to sell their handicrafts. Carving varies from project to project and how you approach a project depends on the end result you are seeking and the type of wood you are using.
Choose Your Carving Tools
Carving is a simple hobby and all you need is a piece of wood and a carving instrument. This can be a knife or something more elaborate like a chisel or pick. If you are planning an elaborate carving project, you might also need several additional supplies such as wood stain, sandpaper, pencils, diffrent sized carving tools, a variety of wood, a pick, a hammer, books, and instructional videos. If you are planning to complete large projects, a Shop Vac vacuum will also come in handy for picking up sawdust and wood scraps.
If you are just beginning to carve, the best thing to do is jump right into the process. Work carefully because a slip of the knife can injure you, but just get to carving. Use an inexpensive piece of wood to practice. Softer woods usually work better for beginning carvers because they require less effort for carving. Many beginning carvers build a starter tool collection for carving. If you are new to the craft, include a utility knife, regular knife, pick, and chisel. Sharper tools work better, so learn to maintain them during the beginning days of carving.
Design a Carving
Once you are familiar with the feel of carving, create a design. This gives you a plan to follow when carving. Most people draw the design right onto the wood with a pencil. Graphite paper is also good for transferring more complicated designs that you need to trace. Remember it feels different carving straight and curved lines, so be sure you have practiced enough to feel comfortable before working on higher quality wood.
Now you can begin carving from the design you created. You can start from the bottom or top of the design. The smallest knife in your collection is usually easiest to use, so start with that. As you become comfortable, upgrade to the larger knives. Wood chisels help you carve deeper into the wood, which is more difficult to repair if you make a mistake.
Tips for Safe Wood Carving
When carving, try to follow the grain of the wood. When drawing the design, keep the wood grain in mind. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but the project will be much easier if you are carving with the grain.
If you are working on a larger project, you might want to wear goggles and work over a drop cloth. This is usually not necessary for small, handheld carvings, but if you are carving furniture, you will need to make allowances for the mess you are going to create. Remember to sand all of the pieces you have carved at the end of the project. This prevents sharp edges and gives the pieces a finished look. You can also stain the project. This is especially important if you plan to leave the carving outdoors.