Hi! I am so glad you are interested in the craft wood carving. Over the past few days I have learned these skills myself and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite only being an apprentice I believe I know all the necessary steps to teach others so this is an account of what I have learned so far!
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Step 1: Gather All the Tools You Will Need
The first thing you will need to do is gather all of the tools you will need to be participating in this craft. For me personally I chose to use: a variety of chisels, a mallet, a pencil, a ruler and of course a slab of wood, however, if you feel you need anything else please grab it.
Step 2: Choose the Piece of Wood
Now you will need to find the perfect slab of wood. Some wood types people love to carve on are Oak, Butternut, Black Walnut or Basswood but it is all about preference. I would recommend a smooth piece where the grain flows pretty fluidly.
Step 3: Draw!
This is when you get to choose the design you would like to carve out. I find it easiest to just draw straigh on the wood with a pencil as that way I can erase and change aspects of it or even fix it after I make one of my many mistakes but some prefer to draw on a piece of tracing paper and transfer it onto the wood I am not a master at sketching so I choose to keep my pieces as simple as possible but you could truly do anything; let your inspiration guide you . :)
Step 4: Choose the Best Chisel for Your Piece
Depending on the chisel you use you can get extremely different patterns. Some may be good for cutting out long straight and wide paths and others may be better at making deep curves or even patterns such as leaves. My best advice for narrowing your chisels down to a few for your piece would be to try them all out on a scrap piece of wood and look at the way it carves the wood. Ask yourself if this is this the look you want for the part of your piece and go from there.
Step 5: Begin to Carve
Go for it!! Let yourself truly dive into the art but before you do make sure you are safe and doing it correctly.
The first rule is to always carve away from yourself so your never carve into your skin. Another rule you will want to follow is to always carve with the grain and not against it- this will help the wood from flaking in places you do not want it to flake.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Once you have finished carving out your piece there a few optional things you can do to enhance your art work; you may sand your piece down so it is smoother and more friendly to the touch or you may also choose to add a wood stain for your design to pop.
Step 7: Final Words
At the end of the day, this is your art piece and you should let your inner artist shine. Every decision you have is for you to make and there is not always a right or wrong way of doing something so just go for it and have fun!!