For many people with no prior knowledge of what wood carving entails, it’s hard to imagine how someone could simply take a block of wood and turn it into the works of art we see. Wood carving requires incredible patience and skill that have developed over years of practice.
so, is wood carving hard? Well, it’s not! For a beginner looking to start their first project or get involved in the craft of wood carving, here is some information that should shed some light on how easy it is to create masterpieces in wood.
Is wood carving Hard?
This question has been asked by many beginners who are interested in learning how to carve wood. There are variations of this question, including whether it would be better to learn beadwork or stick work. The short answer to the first question is, carvings can be as difficult or as easy as the person who is doing it wants it to be. There are no limits; carve what you choose and how you want to do it.
As far as which craft is easier: both are very similar and have their own sets of challenges.
Wood carvings can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the types that most people imagine when they think about wood carving are larger sculptures such as bears, totem poles, or large biblical scenes. Wooden carvings, however, can be much smaller and include items such as wooden dolls or small boxes.
Wood carving is not only a craft but an art form. There are many advantages to learning wood carving as a hobby including the fact that you could one day have a unique piece of artwork in your home that was made by you and you alone.
Wood carving is very difficult and takes years of practice to master. It involves many tools that you have to learn how to use in order to make your projects look nice. But, if you are willing to put in the time and hard work required, wood carving can be a rewarding hobby.
So, if you want to start this craft, here are some helpful tips that will help you start carving wood the right way.
Deciding what to carve
Before you began carving, you have to come up with a design for the piece. It is not necessary to be a professional-level artist to have fun woodcarving. Try just for fun! If you want, you can choose a picture of something you would like to carve and blow it up on a copier or scanner to be easier to cut out.
Some people may consider this stage tough because it can be difficult to come up with something from scratch. We suggest starting with something small (but not so tiny and detailed that it is hard to see what you are doing). Think of popular subjects, like a dog or cat or some other favorite animal. It’s also important to carve the design in your mind before you begin cutting.
Handling tools as a beginner
The tools used for this art form are often said to be the most challenging part. Most beginners want to start with small items like a wooden spoon or forks. But I want you to think about it this way: “if you only have tools that fit your carving skill, how can you ever expect a good result?”
If you still insist on working on small objects, then at least pick something large enough for the challenges that lie ahead of you. I don’t mean the physical one; instead, it’s more focused on technicality. Some carvers will advise newbies not to work on small pieces just because they need better techniques before attempting them.
Your First Wood Carving Knife
The first thing that should be on your mind is the wood carving knife. How can you carve without a knife? Well…you can’t. This is why you must know what to look for in a good carving knife or pen. The blade should be rust-resistant and easy to sharpen. There are many different types of knives available, so it may take you some time before deciding which one is best for your needs.
Since this is not a professional woodcarving tutorial, we’re going to go straight into the steps in making those basic cuts with your new tool. These steps have been used throughout history by woodcarvers everywhere…so I am sure they will get you started right!
check out these easy steps to wood carving
Step 1: Roughing Out
This step involves using the gouge to remove bulk from the surface of any shape or form that will work upon in subsequent steps.
The gouge can be held in various ways, depending upon the preference of the individual carver or instructor.
The most commonly used methods involve holding it either by grasping the handle in a hammer grip and placing your thumb on top or using a pencil grip with your index finger wrapped around one side of the groove.
Even though wood carving isn’t particularly hard, it’s still wise to keep in mind how sharp your gouge is and be careful not to cut yourself. Though nicks and cuts are inevitable as you refine the carving process, cuts can avoid them by staying focused on what you’re doing and paying attention to where your hands are at all times.
Step 2: Carve out the shape of your carving.
Assuming that you’ve chosen a subject to carve, start with a simple outline or contour line. Then you can use this as a guide while carving out the finer details and work towards getting it smoother and more refined looking.
To do this, first, make small movements with your gouge by trying to push away wood from the object you’re working on.
Keep at it until it starts to look like what you want it to be. Remember to take breaks from time to time so you don’t get too tired before refining things with sandpaper, which we’ll cover next.
Step 3: Smooth out your finished product
A steady hand will only bring you so far. This is because even though we’re using gouges to work our trinkets, they can still leave rough edges and uneven surfaces if you’re not careful.
To fix this, bring out the sandpaper and a piece of cloth that won’t get ruined easily by the power sander. When using this tool, you have to be very careful because it’s extremely easy for your hand or forearm to slip while operating it and cause injury. Gently pass over your object until no jagged lines or coarse surfaces are left; just a smooth finish.
Ok, so even with all these tips, I may not be able to carve my initials into any fancy woodwork like those geese chess pieces in such intricate detail, but with practice, you’ll get better! And who knows, maybe you could take up carving as a hobby!
Is wood carving hard?
It can be challenging, yes. But that’s what makes it fun: you’re working on a difficult task; fulfilling the challenge gives you great satisfaction when accomplished.
Though it may seem to take up too much time and energy at first glance, realize that once you get past the initial challenges, everything becomes simpler. There will always be challenges that lie ahead of you; it’s how you overcome them that defines your success.
Frequently asked questions on wood carving
How long does it take to do a wood carving?
It depends on the difficulty, size, and type of wood carving. Most wood carvings take around 3 days to 2 weeks to complete (so you can get a relatively quick turnaround time) and are carved using hand tools like gouges, chisels, scrapers, knives, etc. When I used to carve I would take around 5-6 weeks to carve, that’s because most of my carvings were more detailed than traditional carvings.
Is wood carving an expensive hobby?
Not at all! You may be surprised to learn that you can turn your hobby into a profitable business. But before discussing how you can make money from wood carving, it is important that you first understand the basics of this hobby and why people get attracted to wood carving in the first place.
If you’re looking to buy a good carving set we recommend you check our article on the Best whittling kit for beginners
Is wood carving difficult to learn?
Wood carving is not as difficult as it may seem at first sight. In fact, wood carving for beginners can be fairly simple to master, with the right intentions and tools.
Since wood carving is a craft used by many different cultures across several millennia, it cannot be all that sophisticated or hard to learn!
Try carving a spoon using our Beginner’s Carving guide