Best Woods for Carving Using a Dremel

Do you want to carve out a design on wood but are not sure what wood to use? Worry no more; here is a guide to help you choose the best wood for carving using a Dremel

When choosing wood, look for one that has the following features;

  • Soft.  The softer the wood, it will be easier for you to carve it. Carving is a time-consuming task. It would be best if you made things easier by choosing a wood that is easy to carve. 
  • Green. Freshly cut wood is more flexible, not as brittle, and prone to breaking as dry wood. It also takes a tremendous amount of detail. 
  • Clean. Knots and splits affect the workability of wood. Thus, ensure that the wood you choose to work with is clean and straight. 
  • A straight grain texture.  The grain texture of wood affects the ease of tool control. Carving is more manageable when done on wood with straight or closed grains. Wood with stingy or curly grain texture is much more challenging to carve. 
  • An attractive color. A wood’s color and grain pattern will play an essential part in the aesthetics of the final piece. 

With those features in mind, let’s now look at the woods you can use in your next project. We’ll start with the softest to the hardest wood. 

5 Best Kinds of wood for Carving Using a Dremel

1. White pine

Wood Grain texture Color Hardness  Split resistance Comment 
White pine  Closed  WhitesoftLowExcellent for carving.

White pine is the perfect wood for someone just starting on carving. It weighs about 25 pounds per cubed foot and is one of the softest woods. 

White pine

Pine is the wood to go for if you’re looking for softwood with a good grain pattern. Its grain is much more visible than that of basswood. 

White pine works better when wet. The high moisture content reduces the drag on your Dremel and gives you a smoother and cleaner cut. Wet pine is also more flexible and can take tremendous detail. On the other hand, dry pine tends to splinter and split when carved. 

2. Basswood

Wood Grain texture Color Hardness  Split resistance Comment 
Basswood Closed  Light creamysoftGoodExcellent for carving, especially for  detail work

If you want wood that will carve like butter, this is it. Basswood is soft and carves nicely with and across the grain. It holds details nicely and can be used to carve relatively thin forms.  

It also has a pleasing and unobtrusive white color. The light color allows basswood to take paint and stain well. 


The best basswood is cut during winter. The one cut during summer tends to be darker and denser. When working with basswood, it is recommendable to use a piece that has a very light color (white).  Gray basswood tends to be gritty and much more challenging to carve.

3. Cherry

Wood Grain texture Color Hardness  Split resistance Comment 
Cherry  Closed  Reddish tanMediumHighGood for carving. Has a beautiful grain

If you want your final piece to have a natural finish, consider using cherry wood. This wood is famous for its color and sheen. It has medium hardness and can weigh up to 35 pounds per cubic foot.


Cherry has a beautiful closed grain that carves nicely. It is much harder than basswood and pine. Therefore, working with this wood may require a bit of skill. 

4. Honduras Mahogany

Wood Grain texture Color Hardness  Split resistance Comment 
Honduras mahogany   Open  Reddish brown MediumGood Excellent for carving. Has a pleasant natural color

Like cherry, the Honduras mahogany has medium hardness. It can weigh up to 34 pounds per cubed foot. Its open grains carve very nicely. 

Honduras Mahogany

Honduras mahogany is reddish-brown. You should consider using this wood if you want your carved piece to have a pleasing natural color. 

5. Black Walnut 

Wood Grain texture Color Hardness  Split resistance Comment 
Black Walnut   Closed  Chocolate brown-purple Hard  Good  Excellent for carving, Has an extremely beautiful grain pattern. 

The black walnut is considered the king of carving woods. It’s the hardest wood among the four types of wood discussed above. Thus, it might not be a good choice for a beginner. 

Black Walnut 

It has closed grains that carve nicely. Pieces carved from black walnut are lovely, thanks to this wood’s beautiful grain pattern. Like cherry, black walnut is suitable for projects that require a natural finish. 

Conclusion: Best Woods for Carving Using a Dremel

Carving can be daunting, but selecting the correct type of wood can make your work easier. The wood you choose to carve on should be green, soft, and free from knots. It should also have closed or straight grain.

White pine and basswood are soft woods that carve excellently. Both have a closed grain structure and are perfect for a beginner. 

Cherry and Honduras mahogany have medium hardness. They have a pleasing natural color and carve nicely too. You’ll require a few carving skills when working with these woods.

The black walnut is the hardest wood used for carving. It has beautiful closed grains that turn nicely. The walnut is not suitable for someone just starting due to its hardness. 

One of the many powerful tools we use in woodworking is the Dremel. We can also use the majority of power tools. For more information, see this article on the Best Power tool for Woodcarving.

7 thoughts on “Best Woods for Carving Using a Dremel”

  1. Thank you so much. I’m new and trying to learn. i have been drawing out my own designs on wood i can find, tree limbs, any drift wood and picket fence boards etc. using these trying to learn. but thank you for the input of wood. it helps me alot when i will buying it soon.

    • Certainly!

      Thomas, it’s wonderful to hear that you are exploring the art of carving and finding creative ways to practice your skills. It’s a great idea to draw your own designs and use various materials such as tree limbs, driftwood, and picket fence boards to experiment with carving.

      When it comes to selecting wood for carving, the type of wood can make a significant difference in the outcome of your carving. So, it’s good to have an understanding of the best woods for carving with a Dremel. Using the appropriate type of wood can make your carving easier and more enjoyable, while also helping you to achieve the desired results.

      However, don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way. Mistakes can often lead to new discoveries and creative solutions. Keep practicing and experimenting with different types of wood and carving techniques, and you’ll continue to improve your skills. Best of luck with your carving!

      • I am just starting in wood carving at agr 73 and found this article very helpful and informative. I look forward to readimg more

        • Dear Samuel,

          Thank you for sharing your experience and enthusiasm for wood carving! It’s truly inspiring to see someone embark on a new artistic journey, regardless of age. We’re thrilled to hear that you found the article on the best woods for carving helpful and informative.

          Wood carving is a wonderful craft that allows for creativity and self-expression, and it’s never too late to start honing your skills. The more you practice, the more you’ll discover your own unique style and develop a deep connection with this art form.

          If you have any questions or need further guidance along the way, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to support you on your wood carving adventure, and we hope you continue to find inspiration and knowledge through our articles.
          Here is one related to this one on choosing a whittling knife(

          Wishing you many joyful moments of carving and the discovery of new possibilities!

  2. Thx you so much for letting me know about woods. I am a beginner & need all the info I can get, Thx again

    • Dear Kenneth Abrahamsen,

      You’re very welcome! We’re delighted to hear that the information about wood carving woods has been helpful to you as a beginner. Starting any new craft can feel overwhelming, but with the right information and resources, you’re on the right track to success.

      As a beginner, it’s important to gather as much knowledge as you can to build a solid foundation. Understanding the characteristics of different woods and their suitability for carving will help you choose the right materials for your projects and achieve the desired results.

      Remember, practice is key when it comes to wood carving. The more you carve, the more you’ll improve your skills and develop your own style. Don’t be discouraged by any initial challenges you may face—it’s all part of the learning process. Embrace the journey, stay patient, and enjoy the creative process.

      Happy carving!

  3. Great to hear that you found the information helpful! As for your question, pallet wood is typically made from lower-grade softwoods such as pine, spruce, and fir, which are known for their affordability and availability. However, it’s important to note that pallet wood may have irregularities or knots that could make carving more challenging. If you’re starting out, it might be worthwhile to practice on some smaller pieces of the pallet wood first to get a feel for the material. Good luck with your carving endeavors!

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