Got old 2x4 scraps lying around? Don't throw them away. The soft and uniform grain of 2x4's are perfect for woodcarving, especially for beginners. Create unique, hand carved works of art out of them! From a treasure display to curtain rods, each 2x4 is just waiting to become a mini sculpture, all you need is a pocket knife and a little patience.
Step 1: How to Hand Carve Wood With Minimal Tools
First off, I use terms that I came up with on my own since the only instruction I have ever received in woodcarving was a summary of the "be safe with knives" lecture my brother got at scout camp (which, by the way- be safe with knives), so there may be other names for these techniques or they may be techniques that nobody really uses, and there may be a far better way to do this but it works for me so here it is.
I use 4 techniques utilizing 3 parts of the blade.
The blade parts are: 1 the point, 2 the curve, and 3 the flat (see picture 2)
the techniques are 1 line cut, 2 edge cut, 3 round cut, and 4 hole cut (see the rest of the pictures)
The line cut uses the point of the knife and you do it by more or less holding the knife like a pencil and drawing a line of varying depths depending on the pressure you use. I use this cut begin most projects and it can be used with other cuts for a number of effects.
The edge cut uses the curve of the knife and is done by basically digging into the wood, the angle at which you dig in will determine the depth of the cut. this one is good for removing a lot of wood and is also used with other cuts for specific effects.
The round cut uses the flat of the blade and is used mostly to round corners, you can use the curve of the blade to do this in tight spaces but the flat gives you better control. This cut is also good for removing a lot of wood.
The hole cut is the least used for most projects and is basically only used for making holes. it uses the point and you simply stab the point into the wood and twist it around until you have the hole depth and width you want.
Using a pocket knife for the first time is awkward, which is one reason working with scrap 2x4's is so nice, it's soft and often free. It may take some practice but being good with a pocket knife is an under valued skill and is worth putting in the effort.