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How to whittle wood, complete starter guide to whittling

by Roman Law 28 Jan 2022 0 Comments

Wood is the material of the future. If used correctly, it can help people produce durable and attractive products. It has amazing properties; it is an environmentally friendly material, distinguished by aesthetic qualities and durability. It has long been used to create various structures, furniture, and wood crafts. To learn wood carving, to understand how to work with wood, and to feel it, you will have to become familiar with the properties of this material and the techniques used to process it.

Working with wood is a pleasure. Carving various figures from wood is a creative process that requires a lot of time and full dedication. Only then can you get a real masterpiece. You do not have to be a craftsman to carve wood. To have perseverance, patience, desire, and time, and to use a few practical tips will be just enough.

how to whittle wood

What You Need to Know to Learn Wood Carving Without Problems

Wood carving has been known to mankind since ancient times. It was actively used in decorating and furnishing homes, turning them into real art with its own peculiarities and subtleties.

A skilled woodcarver can create real masterpieces from ordinary logs, wooden blocks, and boards. The carver can not only carve spoons and traditional kuksa mugs from wood but many other useful and beautiful things: cutting boards with patterns, figurines, caricatures, furniture, and decorative elements.

Many amateurs who are just beginning whittling are shocked. They are amazed how a person with just a few chisels and whittling knife sets can create real masterpieces from pieces of wood or whittling wood blocks? The answer is simple. He truly loves his job, has been honing his skills for years, and can see future beauty in a simple piece of wood.

tools for wood carving
Wood carving for such people is more than a hobby – it is a calling. Wood carving can become an extremely pleasant and useful hobby. You could save money on buying gifts for relatives and friends. Such presents will be much more valuable than purchased ones because when working with something, a person puts a part of his soul into it, and the gift becomes a thousand times more valuable.

An experienced carver will be able to create a wide variety of gifts: caskets, figurines, bas-reliefs, dishes, as well as the thinnest lamp shades and even moving mechanisms.

As in every business, wood carving has its own secrets and nuances that allow you to reveal the beauty of wood in a wonderful ornament. It is necessary to pick special tools for whittling and stock up on the necessary blanks and sketches for wood carving.

To figure out how to whittle wood, you need to learn the secrets of how to carve the simplest figures from wood. Beginning with easy whittling projects, you will be able to move to a more complex level.

It is worth stocking up with patience and understanding that mastery is achieved over time. Moving gradually (from simple to complex), it will be possible to develop the necessary skills and learn how to create real masterpieces. The process of learning to carve wood requires dedication and perseverance. Patience and awareness also influence the result of beginner whittling projects.

wood carving tools
As you know, in a modern apartment, almost all the furniture is made of wood. Modern woodworking masters try to create household items not only functional but also beautiful, decorating them with carvings. Such a service as woodcarving to order is very popular now. So, by becoming an expert woodcarver, you will be able to fulfill the requests of even the most demanding customers and earn decent money by turning your hobby into a business.

If You Want to Understand How to Whittle... Step-by-Step Whittling Projects and Aspects to Consider

If you decide to master wood carving and become a person who deserves a whittling chip patch, first study the general tips for beginners. In other words, master the theoretical material and then move on to practice. Choose easy-to-implement whittle projects that both a beginner and even a child can master – spoons, cups, bowls, kuksas, or a caricature of a bear, cat, dog or beaver. There is no need to be shy about it! No one was ever born with the innate skills of a woodcarver. By learning this craft with dedication, you will see growth and discover those skills you never knew you had.

It is impossible to start whittle wood with nothing. Whittling and woodcarving require a specific arsenal of gadgets and tools. The process of preparing for mastering this type of creativity will not take you much time, effort, and money. The main thing is to follow simple recommendations and a step-by-step whittling guide. It will teach you how to master the basics of the craft, find unique whittling ideas, and build a strong foundation for the title of a real wood whittler.

Prepare everything you need, such as a good whittling knife, wooden bases, and blocks and choose easy-to-follow sketches, patterns, and designs for cutting. Do not buy the super-expensive exclusive wood whittling kit. Try doing basic carving techniques with a knife. It will allow you to understand how comfortably it fits in your hand, or if you want to replace it with a lighter and more ergonomic one.


By following these tips and unspoken rules, you will learn how to whittle a bear, beaver, dog, or hedgehog effortlessly:

  • It is significant to organize the process so that your hobby is not inconvenient to other family members. It is better to decide in advance on the place where you will learn a new type of activity, which is more like creativity. Also, stock up on related carving supplies.
  • Prepare a variety of sandpaper to sand and polish your work before starting a whittling project. It will give the wooden figure a finished look and the perfect smoothness of the surface. Find and prepare a piece of wood of the size required for carving your project. For beginners, it is best to take a blank made of softwood.
  • Choose the pattern you will carve out of the wood. Start cutting by carefully using the required size knives and cutters.
  • Sand your product after cutting out all the decorative elements. Cover the product with varnish. It will help it last longer and not succumb to external factors – the sun, moisture, etc.
  • Remember, it is okay if you don't succeed in learning wood carving the first time. Try to make every effort and patience to achieve the desired result and be satisfied with your whittling project.

A Brief Overview of the Best Knives for Whittling

If you seriously decide to master the art of wood carving, you will need not only a standard set of chisels. Having decided to create wood carving projects that deserve the best praise, you need to find the best whittling knife that will meet all your requirements and needs.

The manufacturer of whittling and woodcarving knives that is always ready to help is BeaverCraft. We have prepared a brief overview of knives that will help you understand what the best knives for whittling should look like:

Stylish and comfortable C2 Wood Carving Bench Knife

It is a prime example of the best woodworking knives for beginners. Its compactness, ease of use, and low price (only $18.00) make it the perfect knife for delicate wood cutting. High carbon steel blade, hardened and razor sharpened, suitable for all types of wood. No wonder it's the company's bestseller.

common bench knife

The second option we want to introduce you is the versatile C4 Whittling Sloyd Knife

Such a knife will perfectly cope with such tasks as woodcutting and roughing. Using it in your work, you can easily create scoops, spoons, walking sticks, slingshots for your kids, etc. Its price on the site is now the same as the first presented knife.

whittling knife

The BeaverCraft C15 Detail Wood Carving Knife is a real find

It is ideal for both an amateur who learns the basics of wood carving and an expert in this type of creativity. Its ashwood handle is so ergonomic and comfortable that you won't get tired even if you spend hours carving wood. This feature is perfect when you need to make a lot of narrow cuts, especially for details.

hair detailing

The exclusive C7 Small Detail Wood Carving Knife

Despite its small size, can perform numerous tasks. Using it in your projects, you can accurately perform whittling, detail wood carving, etc. Its strong blade is perfect for cutting woods such as oak or walnut with ease, creating shiny and smooth cuts.

another detailing knife

The BeaverCraft Deluxe C10 Geometric Carving Knife with Ashwood Handles

It's time to explore the beautiful knife model for geometric woodcarving. It's your indispensable assistant in carving various geometric patterns. If you are into relief wood carvings, this kind of knife is just right. No matter if you are right-handed or left-handed. This knife with a unique blade shape will allow you to cut wood not only towards you but in the opposite direction too.

geometric knife

Stylish and comfortable C17P Universal Detail Pro Knife with Palm Handle

What do you know about versatility? It's perfect for projects implementation of any complexity. You can use it right out of the box. It's a feature-packed and reliable tool that can go for both rough work and delicate finishing of your projects (especially good for hard-to-reach places). As in previous models, the blade of this knife is made of high-carbon steel, which allows it to work with both soft and hardwoods.

palm sloyd knife

What is Wood Carving without Whittling Wood Blocks?

As in any other handicraft, the success of your whittling projects significantly depends on the right material – wood. When your plans include creating elements that will be outdoors, it is better to use softwood. Thanks to the resin content, carved creations are protected from decay. And, for the household utensils, we recommend using hardwood, which has a fine-grained structure. This category includes basswood, ashwood, oak, and birch.

Note! When choosing a material, pay attention to the presence of knots. If the wood blocks are knotted, this makes them unsuitable for carving.To avoid disaster and fail your project, we recommend using a whittling set of wooden blocks from trusted suppliers in your work. Each of the BeaverCraft beginner whittling kits is of the highest quality and is suitable for carving various figures – bears, cats, gnomes, penguins, spoons, bowls, etc.

wood block for carving

Check out our Sets of Basswood Carving Blocks that will help you create durable and attractive carvings. Depending on the number of whittling projects, their sizes and figures you want to carve out of the wood, you can choose from these great BW10, BW16 or BW18 sets. The name of each set speaks for itself: the BW10 basswood carving blocks set consists of 10 pieces, BW16 consists of 16 blocks, and BW18 – 18 pieces, respectively.

All sets are of the same premium quality and carefully designed to start the wood carving process from the moment you take the wooden blocks out of the box. The wood of basswood is light, ranging in color from creamy white to pale brown. The structure is straight-fibered, with a fine, uniform texture.

FAQ about whittling

What is whittling?

Whittling is the art of carving or shaping wood with a small knife or similar cutting tool. It is a traditional craft that has been practiced for centuries, often as a hobby or pastime.

What tools do I need for whittling?

The basic tools for whittling include a sharp knife with a small blade, a carving glove to protect your hand, and a piece of wood to carve. Other useful tools may include a carving chisel, sandpaper or a file, and a sharpening stone.

What are some safety tips for whittling?

Always carve away from your body, and never towards your hands or fingers. Keep your fingers and other body parts clear of the blade at all times. Use a carving glove to protect your hand, and make sure your knife is sharp to prevent slips or accidental cuts.

What can I make with whittling?

The possibilities for whittling are endless! You can carve simple shapes like animals or flowers, or create more complex designs like figurines or jewelry. Some people also enjoy carving functional items like utensils, bowls, or walking sticks. The only limit is your creativity!




Roman Law

Wood carving guru

From a childhood enchanted by nature, my passion for wood carving guided me on a path of creativity. With a pocket knife, I uncovered the transformative power of my hands, breathing life into driftwood and forging a lifelong connection with the medium.
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Terms & Conditions

BeaverCraft Company guarantees that:

Each tool is tested and undergoes strict quality control. Our tools are professionally-sharpened and come razor-sharp ready to use right out of the box. Every instrument has a sturdy construction, and its blade is securely glued and firmly attached to the handle. The tool blade is made of hardenable carbon steel and hardened to 56+ HRC. Our tools will not break if appropriately used (only for wood carving jobs).

The warranty does not cover the following cases:

Normal wear and tear of the product. Each customer should independently maintain the sharpness of the purchased tool. Loss of sharpness during operation is not a reason for the repair or replacement of the tool manufactured by BeaverCraft. Misuse or abuse. BeaverCraft tools are designed for hand carving only. Lack of maintenance and cleaning (learn about tool care). Defects resulting from incorrect tool storage are not reasons for replacement. Self-repair, modification, disassembly, and other human behavior that causes damage. Tool loss.

Return/Replacement Policy

Please contact our customer service team if any BeaverCraft tool has failed due to manufacturing defects or doesn't match the listing description. Let us know what happened; attach a picture of the instrument that clearly shows the problem, and describe how you used the tool. We also require further information, such as your contact details which include the following: your name, phone number, address, and email address that you can send to We will replace the tool with a new one at our own expense and pay all the shipping costs.

Awareness Statement

The ten years guarantee applies only to wood carving tools from BeaverCraft. Always pay extreme attention when unpacking, using, or sharpening any of our tools. BeaverCraft tools are not designed as weapons and should never be used as such. Injuries occurring during the careless use or improper maintenance of BeaverCraft tools are a risk that our customers are aware of. You should never forget safety precautions and follow the correct procedure for using wood carving tools. Children should not use BeaverCraft tools without adult supervision.

this is just a warning
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