Last Updated on December 12, 2020 by woodcutter
Wood carving is an oldest art on the planet. There are many types of wood carving that have been developed over time. Whether you intend to use wood carving as a hobby or as a way of life, it is an exciting skill worth learning. As an experienced carver myself, I have derived pleasure from this simple art and hope you will too.
This article is for enlightening you on the many different wood carving types around. The type you choose will be depending on your experience level and desired end product. It will also depend on the tools and wood types you have readily available. Read on to learn what wood carving is and all the types you may explore.
Wood Carving – What is it?
Wood carving is an ancient art that produces complex wooden articles using hand tools or power tools. Most carve as a hobby or pastime. Since it does not require many tools, it is easy to start. A beginner needs no more than a log and a knife to begin.
What are the types of carving wood?
There are so many different types of wood carving. It is essential to familiarize yourself with all the types. This will allow you to choose the one that both works best for you and suits the tools and materials you have. Below, I have highlighted all the vital wood carving types.
This is the earliest form of wood carving. It was used in early ages to carve wooden articles for ornamental and other purposes. When whittling, the carver uses a carving or whittling knife to make sharp or pointy articles. When this method is used, you will find that the articles appear very complicated and angular. This method is very time consuming, and many opt to use it as a pastime.
Required skill level.
Whittling is one of the most natural carving methods and is suitable for beginners.
How it is done.
The carver simply makes calculated strokes away from the wood using a knife. A small knife is more preferable than a long knife when whittling. Small knives are made with bigger handles, which give the carver excellent grip, which is essential when carving. The unwanted wood comes off in slices.
The cuts should be textured and sharp. As the strokes are made, the envisioned object to be created slowly takes form. Depending on the desired results, the carver can make severe textured cuts or more smooth strokes.
- From an early age, this method was used to make hunting tools and weapons for warfare.
- It can be used to make small figurines or ornaments and sculptures.
- Whittling can also be used to make kitchen utensils and other edgy items.
2. Relief carving
This carving method needs the carver to be very artistic and creative. The relief of the wood is used to create objects and artistic pieces. Many describe this carving method as a way of carving images or pictures on wood. The purpose or face is carved, leaving the background intact. Necessary tools if you intend to attempt this method include the chisel, gouge, and mallet.
Over time, many exceptional artistic pieces have been created using relief carving. Necessary tools include knives, gouges, and chisels. There are two types of relief carving. Low relief is when the carved objects protrude only slightly from the surface. High relief, on the other hand, makes the carved figure stand out from the background.
Wood Types that can be used.
Sculptors and carvers usually use hardwoods for relief carving. Examples of these hardwoods include basswood, oak, and walnut. The plank should be solid and thick to allow carving on one side.
Required skill level.
Relief carving is a little complicated and requires prior carving experience before it is attempted. Thus it is not suitable for beginners.
How it is done
The carver does not focus on the whole log or wood piece. Instead, the focus is placed on just a small portion to create a relief image or figure. In most cases, a flat piece of wood is used. Only one side of this wooden piece is carved, leaving the other side untouched.
To relief carve, the required design first needs to be drawn or traced onto the log. Then begin carving from the background going inwards. It is vital to ensure that your tools are sharp when relief carving. Blunt tools will produce rough and unpolished work.
This carving method can be used to make or create:
- Ornamental pieces
- Figurines and other similar objects.
3. Caving in the round.
Carving in the round can be likened to molding clay objects but replacing the clay with wood. This method allows you to create many different sculptures and creative works. Not only is it easy, but it also produces very polished results. Objects molded using this method are three dimensional and creates an image that looks very lifelike.
Required skill level
This is another secure carving method. No prior carving experience is necessary, making it suitable for beginners.
How it is done.
Carving in the round entails making clean lines that are smooth on wood. It also involves creating rounded edges that produce a very polished look.
- It can be used to make ornaments, figurines, and other creative designs.
4. Chip carving
Chip carving is a carving method that produces fantastic results when done expertly. It is a tricky but essential skill. Many use it to design complicated patterns on wooden articles and statues. Chip carving, also known as Kerbschnitt or spoon carving, is the most common method of carving wood.
Wood Types used
Butternut and mahogany are the common types of wood for carving.
How it is done
Here, the carver removes chips of wood from the log to get the result they want. The mallet’s use is to hit the chisel at a slow and careful rate. The chips have removed a piece at a time; thus, a lot of patience is required too. A carving knife can also be used to add more detail to the design.
Before you begin carving, it is essential first to select your desired design. You can even draft it on paper. When satisfied, draw your design on the log. To do this, use a straight edge, compass, and sharp pencil. This will reduce the likelihood of chipping off the wrong piece of wood.
If you find drawing difficult, simply find a design you want online. Secure it on the log using tape or any other adhesive you can find. Then simply carve on top of the taped paper to create your design.
Required experience level.
This is a problematic carving method that requires some carving experience beforehand. It is recommended for experts only. The main tools used in chip carving are the chisel and hammer.
- Chip carving is used to make sophisticated items for decoration purposes and ornaments.
- You can decorate chests, boxes, and other wooden items using this method.
5. Chainsaw Wood Carving
This is a more modernized carving method. Chainsaw Wood Carving is a unique carving method that employs the use of a chainsaw to create different items. It is a relatively fast method of carving and can be used in commercial setups. However, some carvers argue that this carving method is less fun and exciting than the more traditional carving methods.
Despite the reservations, many have when using this wood carving type, and it is one of the fastest-growing methods around. In carving competitions, chainsaw carving is usually used as it is faster.
Required skill level
This Chainsaw wood carving method is not really for beginners, and it is highly unlikely that anyone will begin with it. It is also very dangerous, so it is wise to first gain carving experience before attempting it.
How it is done
The chainsaw is used to cut through wood. The wood piece is usually a vast trunk or log. This creates the desired shape or design. The best wood type to use when chainsaw carving is the white pine. This is because it can withstand the pressure of the chainsaw.
To succeed in chainsaw wood carving, you need to be familiar with chainsaw blades or guide bars. Blades come in various shapes and sizes, and it is crucial to choose the right blade for the function you intend to perform. The nose of the blade is made to permit the carver to be flexible when designing.
I advise you to be very careful when using a chainsaw in carving. This is because the likelihood of a fatality occurring when the chainsaw used is very high. Remember, one wrong swipe when using a chainsaw can cut off your whole arm. To be safe, put on safety clothing.
- It is used to create large ornaments and articles.
- Smaller chainsaws are now available to carve on smaller pieces of wood.
To Sum Up
The types of wood carving types highlighted above are probably all you need to learn to be considered an expert in the trade. It is important to note that though wood carving is beginner-friendly, a lot of hard work and perseverance are necessary to gain expertise. I hope this article helped in clearing any fog you may have had on the working wood art. All the best!