How to Carving Wood [Step-By-Step]

One of the most popular forms of art is using wood as a substance to create art pieces like sculptures and statues.

These days, working with wood is extremely popular, and carpenters, the masters of the wood, use tools and their skills to carve a piece of wood into the masterpiece we discussed.

The carving process of the wood is the first and most crucial step in creating something out of wood.

This article will discuss the question many of you asked us.

How to carve wood?

This is the massive issue that many new carpenters ask about; in this article, we will discuss step-by-step tutorials on carving wood.

The tools needed, the type of wood, and the techniques you need to carve wood.

So, let’s get started with the article, shall we?


What are the different types of carvings and woods?

As it is evident, there are several types of carving methods in the carpentry and artistry world of wood.

Here is the list of carving techniques:


  • This method is one of the oldest styles of carving wood which is done by a whittling knife and the force of hand. Finished products are usually 3D in shape.

Relief carving

  • This method is more suited for portraits and the pieces that will go on the wall; in this technique, you will carve the idea into the surface of the flat wood; although it will seem 3D, the other side of the wood will be balanced.

Carving in round

  • This is the best technique for life-like projects; the finished product will have a better, smoother look. There are several tools used in this method.

Chip carving

  • This method is a tad sloppy; you have to use chisels, knives, and other tools to chip away the extra pieces of wood to create three-dimensional works; however, the other side of the wood will remain flat.

These were the techniques carpenters used to carve something out of a piece of wood.

However, all these techniques need time to master, and you must get trained first to perform these methods perfectly.

The next part will discuss some proper wood types for the craving job.

The wood type whole matter; it even matters if the wood that you are using is wet wood or dry wood.

So let’s list the woods that are suitable for carving job:


Suitable for wood carving?


  • Basswood, White pine, and Butternut are three of the best woods you can ever use in a carving project; the grains on the wood will make your carving job much more manageable.

Besides, these woods are in the softwoods category, so the carving effort is significantly lower.

Black walnut and Mahogany


  • Black walnut and Mahogany are somewhat harder than the last woods, and the grains on these woods are smaller, so it would be a little harder to carve into shape.

White Oak, Sugar Maple, and Cherry

  • White Oak, Sugar Maple, and Cherry are tough with minimum grains. Therefore, they are tough to carve, but the finished product would be excellent and durable.

Basswood, white pine, butternut, black walnut and Mahogany, white oak, sugar maple, and cherry are the choices you have when trying to carve wood.

As we said, some of these woods are hard, so they are hard to carve although all of the woods we listed are excellent for wood carving art, keep in mind that choosing the suitable wood for the right job has so much importance in the process of shaping.

Now that you know the techniques for carving wood and what woods are best for the carving job let’s talk about the factors you must consider when cutting wood.

Tips and tools for carving wood

This section of the article will discuss some tools you must use to get the best result.

And also, we will offer some tips and tricks on carving wood, so keep reading with us.

Wood carving tools (+ 3 Most Used)


  • Carving knives

There are many carving knives in the market, and they have different uses.

You have to choose the right blade for your project and make sure that it is sharp because, as you know, a dull knife can be dangerous; it can break under pressure and hurt you.

There are two paths that you can take regarding the carving knives:

  • The chip carving knives are the best on the market; however, you must ensure that you get the right blade.
  • If you are starting in the carpentry industry, we advise you to get a utility and crafts knife; these blades are multi-taskers that will help you in any condition.

However, they are not that professional, but they are easy to use and cheaper than actual wood carving knives.

  • Chisels

As you know, chisels are one of the most used tools in the carpentry industry, there are different kinds of chisels in the wood industry, and you have to get the ones suitable for your craftsmanship.

  • Gouges

Gouges are similar to the chisels; however, they are curved; these tools are very useful in making circular shapes on the wood.


Wood carving (+ 3 TIPS & TRICKS)  

There are some techniques for carving wood that we will be telling you about in this section:

  • Make sure to carve the wood in the right direction.

All of the woods have grain directions, these directions are a part of the wood, and you have to perform the carving in the order of the grains to make your job easier.

In some conditions, you have to carve in the opposite direction, but it would be more challenging.

  • The grip of the knife.

Holding the knife when carving is one of the critical factors in cutting wood.

The proper grip will make your job easier and safer. Remember that when holding the knife or chisel, you have to hold your hand just above the griper of the blade or chisel.

  • Use a vise.

Wood vises are great tools to hold down the piece of wood in one place; using this tool will make your job easier.

Even the small projects can be tied to the woodworking vise.

These tips will significantly help your performance in carving wood.

Now let’s answer one of the questions that get asked:

How does green wood and dry wood are different in the carving process?

Let’s find out.


Wood carving: Dry Wood vs. Greenwood (PROS and CONS)

As you know, wood types are different. Some woods are dry while the others are wet or green, let’s see which is better for carving wood projects.

Dry wood Pros and Cons:

Pros Cons
Durable Most likely to break with hand tools
Perfect for machine tools Harder to shape
Power carving is possible It needs more tools to shape

Greenwood Pros and Cons:

Pros Cons
Easy to carve with hand Cant used for fine detailing
Cheaper Not suitable for indoor projects
Compatible with hand tools Can shrink over time in the drying process

As the chart suggests, there are equal pros and cons when it comes to wood carving, so the best thing to do is to identify what wood carving project you are doing and what wood would be the best option for you, just like the breed of the wood.

By this point of the article, you have a general to advanced knowledge of wood carving art; now, let’s get to the paper’s conclusion and see the best way of carving wood is?


In essence

In this article, you found out there are several ways of carving wood, and you have to research the craftsmanship you are trying to achieve and then decide on the proper carving technique.

The tools we mentioned and the tips for using them will help you do a better job, so make sure to use them.

In the end, practice on scrap wood to better understand the wood carving art.

We are glad that you stayed with us until the end of the “How to carving wood [step by step]” article; if you have any opinions that you want to share with us, feel free to contact us.

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