This is all new to me, glad I found this forum

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Forum topic by knifemaker posted 03-27-2015 05:06 PM 1694 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2126 days

03-27-2015 05:06 PM

I am not sure I am posting this in the right place. I have not finished with my profile but I will do so.
I am very glad I found this place, and I hope I can learn as much as possible. I am looking for some advice. I
hope I’m capable of learning what I wish to learn.
I am a knifemaker, I do it mostly just as a hobby now and would really love to learn wood carving. Years ago when I started trying to make knives. I had no one to show me anything and not having a computer, I messed up lots of steel before I was able to make a usable knife. I now make a quality product that I am proud of.

I love working with wood, as far as building small home projects. I have been trying a few carving projects but as with the steel from years ago, I am just messing up wood and feel like I just don’t have the talent to do this. I am in the process of recovering from back surgery that I had 2 surgeries a week and a half ago and have spent many hours on the web trying to learn all I can. After looking at the beautiful work, I kinda feel intimidated , I guess my question would be, Can a man without any real artistic ability learn to do, relief carving pic of scenery and such as that?
I guess I will call it a night, med has started working and I have to get to bed. I will be back tomorrow trying to learn all I can.

God bless

10 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2455 days

#1 posted 03-27-2015 05:12 PM

It’s all practice. A carver I know takes carving classes online. Maybe that’s an option.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View ClaudeF's profile


1209 posts in 2676 days

#2 posted 04-19-2015 06:14 PM

Hello from Ponchatoula! Best way to learn carving would be to go to your local carving club.



View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 2145 days

#3 posted 04-19-2015 06:45 PM

Welcome to LumberJocks!

As with anything else practice, practice, and more practice. It helps if you can find someone in your area that carves and spend some time with them. Do you have any woodworking or carving clubs in your area? You could talk to any local woodworking stores to see if they know of a club or a customer you could connect with. If worst comes to worst try posting an add on craigslist you will get a lot of garbage responses but might find the correct person.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View BurlyBob's profile


8259 posts in 3234 days

#4 posted 04-19-2015 07:13 PM

Welcome to LumberJocks as well. Like you my carving is rudimentary at best. I’ve watched Mary May on you tube and a few others. Guess my carving is going to be self taught. Good luck!

View EPJartisan's profile


1123 posts in 4094 days

#5 posted 04-19-2015 10:35 PM

Welcome.. wood carving is one of those things that one tends to get better the more one attempts. Since you know knives, you know carving is mostly about sharp tools… second is understanding wood grain and how to cut into it… after that it is all about having “vision”.. seeing into the wood to carve out what want to achieve. The last is the artistic stuff … the stuff you seem worried about.. well that can only be known if you try. Imitate people.. that’s what I do.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View thedude50's profile


3613 posts in 3447 days

#6 posted 04-19-2015 10:49 PM

Mary May has some great DVD’s on carving and has a class on her website . The answer is yes you can learn I have been learning for about a year and if you practice in about a thousand hours of practice you will be OK ten thousand and you will be pretty good. I have about 500 hours in I still struggle but I am getting much better and like all woodworking the hard part is learning to do the craft with either hand. Mary teaches you how and why. I have spent a great deal of time trying to master sharpening the tools they are much more difficult to sharpen right than a plane iron and the tools to sharpen correctly are spendy and vital. I like carving its very fun ps the tools are dangerous when picking them up so use Mary’s method of storage. she also offers a class on carving I am hoping to attend next year. Good Luck


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View Planeman40's profile


1532 posts in 3730 days

#7 posted 04-20-2015 05:02 PM

Wood carving demands razor sharp tools and as a knife maker I suppose you know how this is done. Here is the best wood carving source I know and the prices are good. Characterture carving is done mostly with knives if that is what you want to try. Rough cut-outs with drawings are available online if you don’t have saws. Good luck!


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View runswithscissors's profile


3124 posts in 2994 days

#8 posted 04-22-2015 04:09 AM

The approach to wood sculpture that I like is to envision what shape you want to achieve, and then carve away all the parts that don’t look like that.

Seriously, you already have the knives, but the right choice of wood can have a bearing on how much frustration you run into. Extremely soft woods, such as cedar and pine, can be difficult because the knife tends to crush the wood fibers rather than slice them (not so much an issue with your super sharp knives, though). I like alder as a carving wood. It doesn’t splinter, delicate parts don’t break off, and it’s got just the right amount of hardness.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View EPJartisan's profile


1123 posts in 4094 days

#9 posted 04-22-2015 02:11 PM

I totally agree… the wood is most important to me… some woodworkers love the tools or the things they produce.. I enjoy the wood itself. Carving is like having a conversation… it goes well, sometimes you are on the same page.. other times you have no idea what the wood is saying. The action of carving is incredibly quiet compared to the powertools.. and the focus required is very intimate. By the end of the work… a carver KNOWS that piece of wood. You remember where it splintered for no reason, you see your own tiniest mistakes when you just could not get that shape with your current tools.. It makes you wonder why cutting walnut wood is glossy when cut on direction and matte when cut the opposite way. You learn pretty quick why checking inside the wood is obnoxious, and so you learn to see inside the wood by it’s color and texture. You learn the difference between a dense but brittle tropical wood compares to a tight grained fruit wood that can hold a sharp edge itself. You learn that a piece of wood can have a huge blade damaging crystal grown inside it. Learning each wood and even it’s tree… how it grows to how you can use it best… is enlightening. To me there is nothing that compares to carving.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View torpidihummer's profile


65 posts in 2822 days

#10 posted 05-22-2015 03:34 PM

Wood Carving is one of the best Crafts to do for anyone recovering from sources of
rehabitation and injuries or surgery such as yours. I’m a Korean War Veteran that spent
the last two years of my enlistment in a Naval Hospital. I couldn’t get around without
a wheelchair. I was sent to occupational therapy where I learned how to carve leather
of which I did very well. A few years back I decided to try Wood Carving, since there
weren’t anyone around that could teach me how carve wood, I decided to purchase every
book available about wood carving, by the way both have the same principles, removing
leather by compressing it and wood carving is removing wood. The last three years I got
hooked on carving Birds of Prey and as soon as I learn how to post some of work I will do
so. Remember Where There is Will There is a Way!

-- Torpidhummer

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