Consider Carving

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Are you looking for a hobby that is fun and relaxing and doesn’t require a big investment in time or materials to get started?  Consider carving; all that’s needed is a knife, a piece of wood and an idea.   You can begin with a detailed pattern and instructions or just start removing wood and watch your vision emerge.

Carving (Xyloglyphy in ancient Greek) has been around as a profession and a hobby for thousands of years.  It includes everything from statues and figurines to decorative embellishments on
furniture and buildings.  Some popular forms include:

  • Whittling – typically performed with a light, small-bladed knife.  The terms “whittling” and “carving” are used interchangeably, but carving employs chisels and gouges while whittling involves only the use of a knife.
  • Relief Carving creates pictures in a slab of wood. Removing wood from a flat wood panel allows the image to rise up out of the wood.  The carving can be anything from representational figures to landscapes to abstract art.
  • Power Carving involves the use of motor driven chisels and burrs to remove material.  Power carvers can be used for almost any carving style and offer huge advantages if you have to remove a lot of material, if you are working with harder woods or if you simply don’t have the hand strength you used to have.
  • Chip Carving (Kerbschnitt in German) is a style of carving in which chisels or knives are used to remove small angular chips to define intricate designs that catch light and create patterns.

Carving gives you the satisfaction of working with your hands and the freedom to be creative.  It can even be a profitable hobby if you choose to sell your work.


Here are some quick tips on getting started:

  • Woodcarving books or magazines can help you decide which type of woodcarving you would like to learn.  They will have detailed instructions to help you get started and will provide recommendations on choosing the right tools.
  • Buy the best tools that you can afford. Cheap knives and chisels are hard to sharpen and won’t hold an edge.
  • Look for woodcarving classes and check for carving clubs in your area.
  • Be patient – practice is the best teacher.  If your project doesn’t look right, just keep working at it until it satisfies you.

Carving is a great hobby for any age or experience level.  You just need the right tools, some wood and a little patience.

Carving Knives

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