This instructable covers basic wood whittling technique. You will learn a little bit about tools, wood, technique, and safety. Hopefully it will be enough to get you interested in learning!

Wood carving is not something you pick up over night; it requires a lot of patience and practice. What you will find, however, is that as you practice you will develop intuition that will allow you to tackle increasingly difficult problems on your own. It's an enjoyable and relaxing activity that I would recommend to anyone interested in learning a new skill.

Step 1: Tools

Let's start with tools;

You're going to need a knife. While you could conceivably use any kind of sharp knife, I highly recommend investing in something nice... I use the chip carving knife pictured here. High quality tools are going to be hand-made with tempered steel that will cut better and last longer than the low quality stuff. There are chip carving knives with different shapes that will make difficult cuts a little easier, although they aren't necessary for the beginner.

Sharpening Supplies

You'll be putting your knife/knives through a lot of stress and thus you will need to sharpen them. You can buy sharpening stones or you can use a combination of 600+ grit sandpaper and water or oil. Any piece of leather will work as a strop. I won't get into sharpening in this instructable, however there are plenty of resources out there for you to learn.

<p>Hey great article. Lots of information. If anyone is looking for more info on the topic you can check out this website dedicated to whittling http://www.whittlewise.com/</p>
that is cool i don't have the patients for wood but it looks like you do good job<br />
It doesn't make sense that you would have patients for wood. Unless you were a doctor for trees or something of that sort. Have a good day, be well.
<p>This is great woodworking project. I will to try it</p><p>My woodworking project</p><p><a href="http://tedswoodworkingprojectplans.blogspot.com/" rel="nofollow">http://tedswoodworkingprojectplans.blogspot.com/</a></p>
<p>haha I think he meant he is not patient enough to carve in wood, not that e doesn t have patiens for wood</p>
<p>Nice tutorial, is that your TRex? It be nice to have some videos demonstrating the techniques. I found some here: <a href="http://www.beginnerwoodcarving.com" rel="nofollow">www.beginnerwoodcarving.com</a></p>
<p>Certainly you can use a pocket knife, they're my standard tools, curved blades of various sizes are the most useful.</p><p> Flexcut &amp; Pheil are a good brands of knife if you prefer a fixed blade type of knife.</p>
<p>could you give me a specific brand or type of knife used? I tried searching for what was suggested and couldn't find it. I'm interested in picking it up as a hobby and the information was super helpful!</p>
<p>Get a knife from flexcut. I love them.</p>
<p>could you use a pocket knife?</p>
<p> I've been whittling for 30 odd years &amp; I would differ from the author in his choice of a straight edge blade. I have found that a curved edge allows many more types of cuts to be made &amp; more easily with less force. This allows for much more sophisticated whittlings to be made, using gouge like hollow cutting making convex &amp; concave surfaces. The image below is 4&quot; tall &amp; carved with a curved bladed knife alone.</p>
<p>if you made more you could play a really big dinosaur chess game</p>
That's a pretty nice kangaroo you carved, but you forgot that Kangaroos also have ears. Unless this piece was meant to not have ears then you nailed it. Good work, be well.
its a dinosaur :|
Could you possibly use a x acto knife. And what tpe com wood would be the easiest Tony work for beginers. Thanx for any answrs d:
<p>Cedar is a good soft wood and you can find it at a hardware store.</p><p>Also it smells good :)</p>
Im having a harder time understanding the &quot;Grain&quot;. Im new and would like to try whittling as a new Hobby. I have many because i like to keep occupied and to try things new. Do you have any more tips for a beginner? -Tyler
Grain, you see the lines in the wood. Always try to carve with the grain. When you must cut across it, go slow and make little cuts. As for what direction the tree grew, it makes a difference when you carve. If your knife or chisel starts to bite into the wood deeper than you want, turn the piece of wood 180 degrees and try it from that side. I've saved <br>many carvings from this tip.
Hand carving tray a must have for all whittlers and wood carvers. <br> <br>Check it out! <br>http://www.instructables.com/id/Carvers-Whittlers-Lap-Tray/
&quot;It's cheap and you should be able to find it locally&quot;.<br /> <br /> You know this internet thing is global, right? Could you possibly explain what properties of basswood make it good for carving and suggest alternatives?<br /> <br />
don't know about basswood but when I was into carving Lime was the wood to have. Very even and fine grain and also relatively soft to cut, but hard enough to wear well. Guy in our joinery had an epic eagle he'd carved from an old lump of lime. This is wittling (whitling? sp?) though so it may be different. We carved with fine chisels and gouges.<br /> <br /> As for dry wood is best, I know wet wood will warp and crack as it dries but wood is just sooo easy to work when its green off the tree. Totally different though, I agree.<br />
Lime is the same as linden and basswood, so you are talking about the same wood, although the exact species might be different. All three are names for various trees of the Tilia genus. Check out Tilia on Wikipedia if you want to know more.
&nbsp;Now I'm curious. I'm no expert but I've done some carving and some projects, especially those that call for carving initially with an axe (my favorite part) call for using green wood.<br /> <br /> Maybe it's just to make the initial rough work easier?<br />
When he says find it locally he means at a nearby hardware store, not youre backyard<br />
Hi Everybody and especially Schroeder8!<br /> <br /> Basswood is a light colored,straight. even grained wood that is exceptionally easy to carve. In many parts of the world, it is called Linden. It is recommended as a beginning wood for most carvers. The grain is not pronounced and it will not conflict with the design of the carving. The structure of the wood is very consistent and that means that the cuts made find uniform resistance when the blade cuts through the wood. To understand the importance of this, think of pine. Pine has noticeable lines of harder, resinous wood that alternate with softer wood in between. When carving pine, the blade glides through the softer wood and has to be urged harder to go through the harder bits. Linden, or basswood, often has lengths that are free of knots which are another obstacle in the beginners carving experience.<br /> <br /> As it was explained to me some time ago, any wood can be carved but some lend themselves to the process better than others. Basswood, pine, and butternut, all carve fairly easily and well. Butternut has a very noticeable grain [dark and light sections that look like lines] and so will compete with the overall lines of the design. This means that the carver must choose his or her project carefully.&nbsp; Mahogany carves easily but along the grain and tends to leave a powdery deposit along with any chips. It is a sturdy wood but resists fine detail.<br /> <br /> Hard woods, like walnut, hold details well but are harder to carve and darker so that the design often is harder to see. For woods like walnut or oak, gouges and chisels are often necessary to achieve what the artist is aiming at.<br /> <br /> One interesting bit of information that seems to be counter intuitive is that your blade or tool must be sharper to carve soft woods than it needs to be to carve hard woods. Softer woods must be sliced through the grain and, if the tool is too dull, the grain simply gets crushed and detail is lost. Hard woods resist the cutting action of the tool and thus the tool slices through them more cleanly.<br /> <br /> I do hope that this helps!<br /> <br /> J.F.Kendall<br />
Hey Rey From RI You like to carve yourself? that might hurt!
Good Information regarding the Basswood. I found it locally and it's a pleasure to work with
ruffly how tall is this figure?<br>
I like to carve myself I use a different set up in the form of a carving knife... However I am more interested in what you have carved. What kind of critter/creature are you carving?<br>Very cool!<br>
wow! thanks man i really neede those pointers you are really good at explaining to 5 stars young man
it looks preagnint
You should DEFINATELY make an instructable for the dinosaur!
You should enter <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Enter-the-Dinosaur-Contest/" rel="nofollow">the dinosaur contest</a>! <br />
!!!<br /> <br /> i didn't even know about it! i most certainly will, thanks<br />
what wood did you use to make the dinosaur???
Com: of. Tony: Tony.
&nbsp;Excellent t Job! Sounds to me like that dinosaur would be a great wingman. Just go to bars with him, &quot;Hey ladies, have you met my wooden dinosaur?&quot;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> I can see no downsides to that at all!<br />
If there was an award for the funniest comment, this would be in the top five
&nbsp;LOL!&nbsp;<br /> Me Neither.
You should post an instructable specifically for the Dinosaur<br />
I agree
wisdom from my dad on how to carve a fish form wood &quot;you take a block of wood and cut everything off that doesn't look lie a fish&quot;
Hehe, love that one.
Wow you are good at this!!!!!!<br /> <br /> Nice Instructable, you explained it very well considering how hard of a subject it is to explain on paper.
Is it okay is i us a pocket knife/hunting knife.&nbsp; Or will it be to complicated.&nbsp; My blade is about 8cm long? <br />
if you sharpen it regularly it will probably work just fine.<br />
I&nbsp;am interested in starting up this hobby. &nbsp; The knife you use in the pictures has a straight blade and curved back.&nbsp; I&nbsp;have been looking around for knives and have noticed a very wide variety in knives.&nbsp; There are plenty with straight blades and some with curved blades. There are more blade lengths and shapes than I can count.<br /> <br /> please give me some pointers on choosing a good knife or two for beginners.<br /> Thanks.<br />
All you need to get started is a straight blade. I&nbsp;honestly only have experience with straight blade knives; I would select a straight blade knife that is made of tempered steel, and one that looks like it will be comfortable in your hands. There is no 'right knife', and you can adapt to the tools you have.<br /> <br /> As far as curved blades go, I really don't know how different the cut is. I would imagine they enable you to cut through more complicated grain patterns (an inward curving blade, for example, might allow more extreme angles when dealing with a change in orientation).<br /> <br /> I really wouldn't worry too much about getting a specific knife; get a straight blade knife, and if you decide to take whittling seriously and push your skill, buy a different type of knife and experiment.<br />

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