Wood carving seems like an interesting hobby. It is certainly not what you might call mainstream and only a select few can hone their skills to the level that grants them and us some magnificent statues. Sometimes it’s a statement while other times it is a combination of art and competition. There are many types and tools that one can use, but here are a few tips to get you started.

Types of Carving


You don’t need a chainsaw or even a chisel if you are planning to get into wood carving. All you need is a pocket knife and a lot of patience. Whittling is arguably the oldest form of carving and the one that makes the least amount of mess and waste. So, before you start acquiring logs and expensive tools, you may want to consider a few blocks of wood and a trusty knife. Make sure you select a good knife for this and maintain it properly. Otherwise, you risk serious injury.

Relief Carving

Relief carving differs from other styles in that figures are carved in a panel of wood, rather than making a statue or figurine. This type of carving also does not leave a lot of room for improvisation, as you need to sketch out what you want to carve and place that pattern on the carving panel. The more you work on the background, the more the objects in the front stand out.


Carving-in-the-round is, perhaps, the most popular style of wood carving. People use this style to express themselves in a myriad of ways. These creations can be of any size and either painted or left in their natural form.

Chip Carving

This is something you will not find many hobbyists do. Those that dedicate themselves to this type of carving, however, are really masters of their craft. Chip carving relies on taking out chips of wood from panels and objects, like furniture. The object is to create a certain pattern that can be intricate and/or easy on the eyes. It requires the most skill and patience.


Aside from whittling, carving requires some tools. There are, basically, three sizes of tools: palm-size, mid-size and full-size. This, of course, does not include some very creative people who use wood axes, chainsaws, and home-made battle axes. Palm-size tools are one-handed tools with the intention to hold the object in your other hand. Mid-size and full-size tools are, naturally, for bigger carvings.

Regarding the types of tools, there are chisels with a flat end, gouges with a concavo-convex cross-section, and countless specialized tools that are there for unique carving and hard to reach places. However, as I’ve said before, start with a carving knife and work your way up.