Starting to carve wood calls for the exercise of both your manual and artistic knowledge. For most wood carvers, like me, starting wood carving was easy to learn with slower progression and cheap with only a pocket knife needed. However, is wood carving expensive for a new wood carver looking to start?
Is Wood Carving an Expensive Hobby?
Wood carving is one of the cheapest hobbies to start. For a beginner looking to start cheaply, a pocket knife is all you need to get started. As you grow your skills in wood carving, you can start investing in better knives and other wood carving tools, such as chisels and power tools.
There are different types of wood carving techniques you start. Wood carving can be divided into whittling, relief carving, chip carving, carving in the round, spoon carving, and chainsaw carving. For a beginner looking to start wood carving, I’d recommend you start whittling.
Whittling is cheaper, and it is what most of us pro wood carvers started with before advancing our skills and tools. You only require a good pocket knife and wood branches to learn different cuts and start carving.
The Different Types of Wood Carving
- Whittling – This is the easiest form of wood carving you can start on a budget. Whittling means gradually shaping wood by cutting or carving it to your desired shape or object. It is easy to start whittling; you’ll only need a pocket knife, sloyd, or bench knife. You can whittle anything from a stick to larger wood projects. See our whittling for beginner’s article.
- Chip Carving – Chip carving is a craft of decorating wood rather than carving, and it is also cheaper to start. In chip carving, you’ll need chip carving knives to remove chips from wood. Chp carving knives are often expensive, and you can get started with only one. See our in-depth article on chip carving.
- Relief Carving – Carving in relief means carving a design that stands out from the background. The difficulty of relief carving can range from easy to very complicated designs full of details. The tools used for relief carving can range from knives, chisels, gouges, and power tools. See our article on relief carving.
- Power Carving – Power carving is done using electric tools such as flexible shaft machines and micro motors. Although it’s a little expensive to start, power carving is easier for beginners once you learn how to use power carving tools. You can easily carve fine details or remove wood faster and more precisely. Check out our power carving for beginners guide.
- Spoon Carving – Spoon carving is easy and cheap to start. You’ll need a pocket knife or bench knife and a good hook knife to start spoon carving. You can easily get wood for carving spoons from branches or cut a log to get prepare some billets. An axe or power tool, such as an electric saw, can be handy for preparing billets faster. See our article to get started on spoon carving.
Wood Carving Tools to Start
If you’re looking to start wood carving, there are different tools you can check out. To start cheaply, a pocket knife is your perfect pick. However, there are other tools you’ll need as you grow in this hobby.
- Pocketknife – A pocket knife is the only tool you’ll need to start wood carving. It is cheap, and you’ll get two or more knives in one that you can better whittle or carve intricate details. See our best whittling pocket knives to see our top picks.
- Sloyd or Bench Knife – Apart from a pocket knife, you can also get a sloyd or bench knife to start wood carving. There are cheaper knives, such as the Morankiv 120, which you can check out. Also, check out our best whittling knives.
- Sharpening Products – You’ll need a sharpening product to keep your wood carving knives sharp. A leather strop or sandpaper and sharpening compound is basic and all you need to start. You can later upgrade to other sharpening products like whetstones and other sharpening stones.
Those are the basic tools and products you’ll need to start wood carving. To save while getting all these products check out wood carving or whittling kits. They are cheaper and will include the basic products needed to get started.
Cheap Ways to Obtain Wood for Carving
Wood is around us, most of which can make good wood for carving. Old barn timber, discarded telephone poles, old cedar lantern poles, and old furniture are among the sources that can yield a higher amount of seasoned wood.
For a wood carver, you’ll also have friends offering you wood. For example, a friend recently cut down some overgrown birch trees that had overgrown and presented me with some branches and a truck. When freshly cut, it made good wood for carving spoons and was very much appreciated.
You can also check with wood carving clubs in your area. Most clubs hold wood auctions where members can give their surplus wood to other wood carvers for the benefit of the club.