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Getting Started Answered

I'm looking to get started at wood-carving, and am wondering what I need to get to get started.

What tools? and where to get them?
What are good woods?
What are good first-time projects?




8 years ago

Small, ornaments or decorations. Not relief work (carved into a flat plate) but the more 3D variety (can't think of the name)


Reply 7 years ago

I'd go the opposite way from CaitlinsDad, skipping knives and chisels and files. Go strait for the rotary tools. They're cheaper than a full set of hand tools and are more versatile. Plus, the sets go on sale all the time, especially this time of year.

Stick with a name brand like Foredom or Dremel, corded versions only, and you should be happy, long-term. There are cheaper versions but generally not cheap enough to make them worthwhile, in my opinion. Check local hardware stores for a set with a good variety of burs, discs, sanding drums.
Then all you'd need is some finishing sand paper to complete a project.

If you want to go with hand tools, I like Flexcut knives. Their folding knives are great for carving/whittling away from home. There are cheaper options though. You'll also want a coping or fret saw...if not a bandsaw, to rough out the shape. They'll save you lots of time and energy, especially on sharpening!

Styrofoam and balsa really don't behave like wood, even though balsa is wood. Basswood is popular with beginners and experienced carvers. Butternut is similar but harder to find. Pine 2x4's are actually really good, cheap, easy to find. Get the clear beams, unless you like the knots. Anything with strait grains will work well.

Santa, reindeer or elf heads carved in wooden eggs are great first projects. All kinds of Xmas ornament projects can be found online that would work. Abstract shapes, heads, compact animals I.E. Sitting cat, wings folded down bird, etc...are all good to start, let's you learn the tools and wood without much danger.


8 years ago

You might want to oogle these woodworking supply catalogs:


There are also other various woodworking magazines/sites devoted to this.  Practice carving a chunk of styrofoam or balsa wood to see what you want to make to get a feel for things.  You can start out with things simple as a utility knife, x-acto knife, chisel and hammer, rasps, surform tools, various saws(japanese hand saws are excellent),sandpaper and work your way up to power tools. Good luck.


8 years ago

Depends on the type of carving you want to do. Figures, furniture, small, large, chainsaw...etc.