What is woodcarving
Wood carving is considered a form of woodworking, as it is based on shaping the wood with a set of knives and chisels. Apart from implementing some similar techniques as woodworking, wood carving is a craft that doesn’t imply the simple creation of useful wood objects such as furniture.
Woodcarving is rather a creative process that focuses on the artistic part of the craft, creating reliefs, figures, engravings, sculptures, and decorative objects that are not necessarily practical in a household.
Woodcarving basics are the techniques of using the tools needed for carving: a chisel, a gauge, a knife with a mallet (tapping technique), skew, fishtail, parting tool, and others. Once you figure out what you want to make, you will choose proper tools.
When we decided to learn how to do wood carving, the first thing we had to manage is holding the knife and making the basic cuts. Since this craft can be so delicate, especially if you are working on tiny details, it is all about the control you have over the blade. There are two ways of holding the blade to achieve this control – the pinch position and the fist position, depending on the type of cuts you are trying to make.
As wood carving beginners, we had a lot of fun. There is still a lot more for us to learn and explore, new projects to experiment with. Because wood carving means operating with really sharp blades, it is very important to have all safety measures in place.
Even though we were new to this, we relaxed pretty quickly once we realized that everything is very easy if we follow wood carving instructions. So, if you are new to this artistic hobby, there is nothing to worry about. You will figure it all out in no time.
How we started to do woodcarving
We have been enjoying woodworking for a while, and we simply love working with wood. We wanted to start wood carving and try out something different and creative. Also, making wonderful sculptures and reliefs out of wood was both challenging and very enjoyable, so it is the best of both worlds for us.
Learning to wood carve was, and still is, a great adventure for all of us. We have fun learning all these techniques and experimenting as well on our own. Of course, we kicked off with basic wood carving and slowly built our skillset up. Step by step we got introduced to using chip carving tools, gauges and chisels, spoon carving, and the whole world of ideas that make this craft so interesting.
Of course, it was hard in the beginning – to let go of some of the habits we had from woodworking since these two disciplines are different in many ways we haven’t anticipated. So, for example, the wood glue we usually use in woodworking was not the greatest match for fixing small objects where the glue is too visible on the joints when we don’t paint over it.
Also, woodcarvers often use softwood that is very easy to cut through. Making these smooth cuts on wood such as basswood is a meditative experience because the blade just slides through the wood smoothly, and this doesn’t happen with hardwood we usually use in woodworking.
History of the origins of woodcarving
Archaeologists say that people were starting wood carving back in ancient Egypt, Babylon, and China. Ever since mankind felt the need to tell stories and express themselves through art, the need to learn wood carving appeared.
The original tools that were used to carve wood are sharp stones before the first-ever blades were made. So far, we have discovered 11 wood-carved panels in total, that are very well preserved, and some of which are up to 4000 years old.
Old civilizations did not only carve wood because they enjoyed it, or because they wanted to create expressive art. Some of the carvings found in Babylon had a completely decorative purpose. These ornaments were making people’s homes more beautiful, and they vary in complexity.
We cannot really estimate the exact years when the preserved figures and ornaments were made since many of them were made before the invention of paper. However, what we do know is that ever since we learned how to use tools we knew how to shape wood, make beautiful art, and use oil to cover the pieces and keep them from rotting.
There is something deep about our relationship to nature, and the pleasure we get from working with wood and smelling it while carving. So even while learning the intro to wood carving, we have felt the calming and meditative effects of it straight away.
The main styles and techniques
If you want to know how to get into wood carving, what we can tell you is that it’s super simple. All you need to do is enjoy it, and with managing the basic carving techniques you can start making wonderful things in relief of in caricature.
The key is to have full control over the blade. One of the basic wood carving techniques is to pinch in the blade with your index finger and your thumb. This will increase the control you have over the cut you make. Another way of holding the knife is the fist position. Whichever you prefer at the beginning, the important thing related to both techniques is to anchor your hand that holds the blade. Your hand or your arm should be in constant contact with the bench you are working over, or with the work itself. This way, you will prevent the blade from slipping and being held back by your hands.
Woodcarving for beginners also envisages the so-called tapping technique, where you tap the knife on top with a mallet and make small deep cuts. All the techniques you will use are simple and safe to do if you learn to do them right. Later on, once you choose what to carve, you will know straight away which knives and styles you will use to create the carving you like.
A short summary (woodcarving is a great pastime, recreation, hobby)
We have been enjoying this hobby for a long time now, and we must say beginning wood carving was one of the best things we ever did. Learning how to carve wood was a relaxing and rewarding experience. Now we also use woodcarving to create beautiful and original gifts for our friends and family, decorative bowls and tools for the kitchen, and a lot more.
What we enjoy the most is the pleasure of making something with our bare hands. This hobby is not only something we do to relax, but it also requires a peaceful place where we can have some personal time. Of course, we also enjoy meeting-up and exchanging ideas, tips, and sharing our work with the community.
If wood carving for beginners sounds exciting, you should definitely go for it. The creativity of the craft will help you approach your daily challenges in work and life with way less stress. It is also great for the body, not only for the mind. You can carve outdoors and take the opportunity to chill and get some fresh air.
In today’s world, it means a lot to have a calming and meditative hobby to help us get through the chaos. Open up the beginner’s guide to wood carving, and find out how easy it is, and how good it feels to make something awesome with nothing but your own pair of hands. Wood carving techniques for beginners are super easy to master, and we are sure you will enjoy the hell out of it.