Carving

Carving & Whittling... a Peaceful Pastime!

Carving – Chip Carving, Relief Carving and Power Carving or simply whittling is a satisfying pastime that anyone from a beginner to an expert can enjoy!  There are a variety of carving methods as well as woods to choose from and knowing which ones to use depends on the project at hand.  Power carving is primarily used for removing large chunks of wood and for those individuals that do not have the strength in their hands to use traditional tools. Chip and Relief carving refer to the style used to remove wood. Chip carving removes small chips in one stroke while relief carving removes wood in a more delicate manner with design in mind.  Whittling differs from carving in that no chisels, gouges or power tools are used.  Using nothing but a knife and a piece of wood, you can create a project in a matter of minutes, giving instant gratification to even a beginner.

Western or Japanese style chisels?

Understanding how chisels are constructed and their specific purposes will help you decide which chisel will best suit your woodworking needs. 

These chisel basics will show you the differences between Western style and Japanese chisels, and what might be best for your project. 

Carving Videos

From musician to Disney Imagineer artist, see how Ray Kinman got started in carving with no woodworking knowledge and see his shop where his creations are made. 

Eric Gorges, host of A Craftsman's Legacy has been carving wood for a little while. Relief carving, however, is a different monster. So, he headed to his local Woodcraft Store to pick up the tools and knowledge he would need to get started.  


LEARN PARTS OF A CARVING TOOL

Author Chris Pye, writing in Woodcarving Tools, Materials & Equipment, describes the parts of a typical carving tool in the following way:

The steel blade of a woodcarving tool is fitted to a wooden handle by its tang. It is normally quite straight forward to separate them. Sometimes the word blade refers to all the tool except the handle, sometimes to the immediate part with the cutting edge, depending on context. 

The handle itself may have a metal ferrule at the tang end. Another, heavier, ferrule is sometimes fitted to the other end limiting damage to the handle when it is struck with a mallet. 

Between the blade proper and the tang may be a shaped lump of metal: the shoulder or bolster. This prevents the tang being forced into the wooden handle and splitting it. 

Blades are either flat (chisels) or curved in cross-section (gouges). A flat chisel has two bevels and each side looks the same, but a gouge will have a concave surface and a convex one. The concave side is known as the inside, face, hollow, channel or mouth of the gouge. The other, convex, surface is the outside, reverse, or back. 

The terms 'in cannel' and 'out cannel' refer to the inner and outer faces of any carving tool which has them; without specifying an actual tool. Cannel comes through 'cannelure', from the French for a channel, and is used in architectural contexts to mean a flute. It is also related to the word 'channel', and 'canal', the watercourse. The root of all these words is the Latin canalis, a pipe or duct. Although useful words, they are more often used by toolmakers than carvers. 

From the shoulder is the shank: which leads into the various shapes of blades.

At the working end of the tool, a bevel diminishes the thickness of the steel into the cutting edge. There may also be a bevel on the inside of the gouge; in other words there may be an inner bevel and an outer bevel. The corner where the bevel meets the full thickness of the blade is known as the heel. 

Whittling differs from carving in that no chisels, gouges or power tools are used.  Using nothing but a knife and a piece of wood, you can create a project in a matter of minutes, giving instant gratification to even a beginner.



Carving Articles

Woodworking project checkerboard game build

From our Fall 2021 Woodcraft Catalog, we featured a short scoop on a Checkerboard build with one of our interns, Nikhil Narwani. Although his only woodworking experience was in the novice category of woodturning pens, he wanted to take this opportunity to learn more. No better time and place to add to his resume with this experience, than with Woodcraft and its staff of experienced woodworkers both at the Parkersburg Woodcraft store and from our corporate office. You can have fun being the “King” of the workshop with this enjoyable project build and in playing the game; it’s a win-win for everyone!

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Mulebench blog

We join Fred Esker at his woodshop to capture and enjoy building a Spoon Mule. Fred teaches his hand carved spoon making skill set using a simple spoon mule which is created with primarily hand tools intermixed with some power tools. He is a member of the Geppetto's Carving Club at our Woodcraft store in Parkersburg, WV.

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Anne of all trades video kids woodworking education learning projects600

Anne Briggs, a.k.a. Anne of All Trades, shares this video showcasing an easy, fun workshop project for kids–carving a whistle!

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Watch More Tutorial Videos

Mulebench blog

We join Fred Esker at his woodshop to capture and enjoy building a Spoon Mule. Fred teaches his hand carved spoon making skill set using a simple spoon mule which is created with primarily hand tools intermixed with some power tools. He is a member of the Geppetto's Carving Club at our Woodcraft store in Parkersburg, WV.

Read More >
Anne of all trades video kids woodworking education learning projects600

Anne Briggs, a.k.a. Anne of All Trades, shares this video showcasing an easy, fun workshop project for kids–carving a whistle!

Read More >
Wr bench chisel yt thumb

The WoodRiver 6 Piece Bench Chisel Set offers high quality chisels in the most useful sizes and comes with a nice storage box for safe keeping. 

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