Beginning carving thoughts and suggestions

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by ChrisBabayco posted 02-12-2008 08:53 AM 1600 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ChrisBabayco's profile


67 posts in 4442 days

02-12-2008 08:53 AM

Topic tags/keywords: carving question tip shaping chisel

I am hoping to start learning to do some relief carving and I thought that if there was a group that might have good ideas about how to start it would be this one. My goal is to do some decorative carving for some small pieces to give away as gifts, and also to start doing something that I can do at night and improve my hand tools / chisel skills. I was hoping that you all would have ideas about techniques, books, tools, woods that I should start with, and any other questions and answers that I can’t thing of yet. I appreciate all your comments and thoughts. Thank you!

6 replies so far

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 4402 days

#1 posted 02-12-2008 02:52 PM


When I started carving I bumped into this website:

They have a couple of good tutorials. They provide a step by step walkthrough to carving. One of the most important things is to resist the temptations to buy a big carving kit/set. You really do not need that many tools when you start. The tutorial at tells you what tools you need for each project as well.


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View davidtheboxmaker's profile


373 posts in 4319 days

#2 posted 02-12-2008 03:04 PM

I started carving in May 2007. I joined a group that meet once a week.
I received masses of advice and assistance.
I strongly suggest you find a group near you and go along to meet them.
There’s lots of good stuff on the internet, but you cannot beat person to person contact.
Alin’s advice about the tools is good – buy what you need as you develop.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4493 days

#3 posted 02-15-2008 04:06 PM

Hi Chris,

Other than get a piece of wood, and some carving tools, (I guess that’s obvious huh), whenever I start a new procedure, I do some research, the amount of which is based on how much interest I have in the subject, or if it’s something I need to know for a client’s project.

The web is a great place to find all the information you could possibly use.

But the real learning comes when the tools are in your hands. I would suggest after spending some time reading, get some wood and start carving, but without trying to produce anything.

Tools will teach you, if you listen. By that I mean try spending a hour here and there just making chips. Carve with a mallet and free hand, as both are techniques needed to do any real carving. (excluding chip carving maybe).

Take a picture of the business end of the carving tools, so when they become dull, you’ll know what they’re supposed to look like when your done sharpening them.

What you learn here will be something that you master, not something that you read.

If you try to carve something prior to having a feel for the tools and the various woods you intend to use, you are likely to be disappointed.

I promise you will learn more, and quicker just by making those chips.


It’s hard to drive to the emergency room with a carving tool sticking out of your belly. (the handle keeps hitting the steering wheel when you try to turn)

Have fun;


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View ChrisBabayco's profile


67 posts in 4442 days

#4 posted 02-19-2008 08:56 PM

Thank you guys- I am very excited to get started and appreciate your thoughts.


View pfconrey's profile


15 posts in 4284 days

#5 posted 02-22-2008 11:35 PM

Also, don’t buy cheap tools. They’ll only frustrate you in the long run. Get a good brand like Pfiel or Ashley Isles.

-- Being nice gets you stuff!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4813 days

#6 posted 02-23-2008 01:05 AM

You have the advantage that I never had.

The internet has an unlimited amount of info you can learn from.

Like Lee sad, Learn to use your tools, & make sure you know how to sharpen them properly.

I had been carving for quite awhile before I found out I was carving with dull chisels.

The way I discovered it, was I bought A couple of Pfeil chisels, they came already honed,

& that’s when I learned what a sharp chisel was like.

If you know someone who carves, talk to them, for some tips. I learned my carving with no help at all,

except from a few books, & magazine articles.

Woodcarving Illustrated

runs some good beginner articles. You may find it at your local library.

I ran a search on Fine Woodworking, & found these articles for you.

I just checked the site that Alin recommended, it looks like an excellent choice.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics