Wood Carving Tips for Beginners (That You’ve Never Heard Of)
If you’re a beginner, then you’re in the perfect position to start out with the right habits.
This is good, because there are a lot of bad habits that can be easily avoided right from the start.
In fact, you’ve probably already heard a lot of the beginner tips that people give you.
However, the tips that I’m going to give you are going to be different from what you’ve heard before, so you’ll be learning something new.
Use a Cutting Board
You’re going to be making a mess if you don’t use a cutting board.
Even if you’re carving outside or in a workshop, there’s still a good reason to use a cutting board.
You see, if you use a cutting board, then you can always be sure that your wood is going to be supported from underneath.
The reason why this matters is because if you’re carving without a cutting board, then you’re going to have to be careful that you don’t chip off any corners as you’re carving.
That’s because, without a cutting board, there’s always going to be a chance that you’ll get your knife stuck in the wood, and that’s going to cause a chip or a gouge.
And, if you do get your knife stuck in the wood, then you’re going to have to pry your knife out of it, which is going to cause even more damage than just a chip or a gouge.
So, use a cutting board if you don’t want to have to worry about that.
Use a Sharpening Stone
If you have a knife, then you need a sharpening stone.
You see, your knife is going to get blunt over time, and the difference between a blunt knife and a sharp one is night and day.
Not only is a sharp knife safer to use, but it’s also going to make your carving so much easier.
Just think about it. The sharper your knife, the less force you’re going to need to use to cut through the wood.
That means that your hand is going to be under less stress as well, so you’ll be able to carve for longer without your hand hurting.
However, there’s another reason why you want a sharper knife.
When your knife is sharp, you’ll be able to make much cleaner cuts.
The cleaner your cuts are, the less sanding you’ll have to do afterwards.
The less sanding you have to do, the better your finished piece will look.
If you’re a beginner and you’re not sure how to use a sharpening stone, then don’t worry. It’s pretty simple.
All you need to do is hold your knife at a 10 to 20 degree angle, and then move it across the stone in a smooth, gliding motion.
Make sure to do it evenly on each side. That’s all there is to it.
Use a Dust Mask
This is something that most beginners never think about.
You see, whenever you’re sanding, you’re going to be releasing a lot of fine dust into the air.
That fine dust is called sawdust, and it can be really bad for your lungs if you breathe it in.
That’s why you should always wear a dust mask whenever you’re sanding, or even just doing any kind of woodworking in general.
Now, you might be thinking: “Why do I need a dust mask? I’m not sanding yet.”
Well, the thing is, you’re going to be sanding at some point, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The other thing is that you’re going to be breathing in a lot of sawdust just from carving alone.
Carving produces even more sawdust than sanding, because you’re actually removing a lot more wood when you’re carving.
So, do yourself a favor and wear a dust mask.
Use a Spoon Gouge
If you don’t know what a spoon gouge is, then it’s time to get yourself one. You’re going to be using it a lot.
A spoon gouge is basically a curved chisel.
That curved shape is there for a reason.
When you’re carving, you’re going to come across a lot of situations where you’ll be carving out concave areas.
It’s really hard to carve concave areas with a straight chisel, because the straight shape gets in the way.
That’s why you need a spoon gouge if you want to make your carving journey as smooth as possible.
Use a V Gouge
The V gouge is another one of those chisels that you’ll be using a lot.
It’s called a V gouge because it has a V-shaped blade.
That V-shaped blade is great for carving out areas where you want to make a nice line.
The reason why it’s so good for making lines is because the V shape of the blade is going to give you a lot of control over the depth of your cut.
That’s why the V gouge is so good for carving out details, because the depth of your cut is something that you’re going to want to control very carefully when you’re carving out fine details.
Use a Knife
I’m not talking about a carving knife here. I’m talking about a regular knife that you already have in your kitchen.
The thing is, a knife is going to be the single most versatile tool that you could ever use for carving.
That’s because a knife is great for doing everything. You can use it for making rough cuts, fine cuts, thin cuts, deep cuts, curved cuts, straight cuts — you name it.
The only thing is, you’re going to have to have a suitable knife that you don’t mind using for carving, because you’re going to be putting a lot of stress on it.
The reason why you need a knife that you don’t mind using for carving is because the blade of your knife is going to get chipped and dulled over time.
When that happens, you’re going to need to sharpen it again.
That’s why most people who use a knife for carving usually have a separate knife that they only use for carving.
So, you have you’re chosen knife, make sure to buy a sharpening stone to go along with it, and don’t forget that you’re going to need a cutting board as well.