Types of Carving

Wood carving can be an amazing hobby as woods are easier to get and carving on wood is much easier than other materials.

This hobby can help you to relieve stress as well as you will be able to create unique, wonderful crafts. Which can increase the beauty of your home or backyard, you can gift them to your friends and family and you can also earn money by selling them.

We, who are in woodcarving, know that there are various types of woodcarving and each type requires different types of tools and depending on tools, you need to consider different safety precautions.

So for woodcarving, it is necessary to know about different types of carving and used tools. So that you can choose the technique with which you are comfortable to work.

That’s why we are here with the detail of different types of carving to give you the basic idea to start with.

types of carving

What is Wood Carving

According to Wikipedia, wood carving is a form of woodworking with the help of a cutting tool like- knife and chisel or mallet, which results in a wonderful wooden figure or sculpture.

Making sculpture with wood is extremely used and practiced all over the world. But the problem is it survives less well than other materials like bronze or stone. Though it represents the history of many cultures. Like most of the important sculptures of China, Japan and Africa are in the wood.

Wood is the light- weight material for carving and perfect for carving any fine detail. Most importantly, carving on wood is easier than carving on stone or other material.

Types of Carving


As mentioned earlier, there are different types of wood carving which need different types of tools to do.

Here we’ve tried to share with you some basic things about these carving types to get a clear idea.


Whittling is the basic type of wood carving but it is not so easy to do. For whittling, you need a piece of softwood and cut it into small slices and make small objects with it, like- wooden spoon or any small figure. In today’s world, whittling is mostly considered as a hobby rather than a carving job. It doesn’t need any heavy tools or equipment to complete the design. Here are some important things you need to know for whittling-

Tools & Equipment for Whittling

As whittling is the basic carving, you don’t need so many heavy tools and equipment. You can complete your task with simple tools like-

Sharp Knife: You’ll find specially designed knives for whittling known as whittling knives. Many purists prefer to work with a pocket knife for this purpose as they come with multiple blades and their portability.

Soft Wood: For whittling, you need softwoods like- basswood, pine and balsa.

Safety Precautions

You must consider your safety while doing any type of carving. For whittling, make sure to cut away from your hand and must use a sharp knife which won’t get stuck in the wood and then suddenly loose towards your fingers.

Chip Carving

Like whittling, chip carving is also perfect for beginners as it is used to make designs rather than sculptures or figures. With this type of carving, you can make beautiful designs with some basic cuts. Things you should keep in mind for chip carving-

Tools & Equipment

Chip carving also needs a few tools for making a design. Like-

Cutting Knife: In chip carving, cutting knife is used to cut down & remove chips from wood.

Stab Knife: Stab knife is used for cutting down in the wood, it also helps to spread the fibers apart so that you can easily create a design.

Wood: You can use any kind of wood for chip carving, but woods like Linden tree wood is the mostly used wood for this purpose.

Safety Precautions

While chip carving, you need to be careful about-

  • Always keep your knife sharp.
  • If you’re a beginner wood carver, try to choose softwoods which are easy to cut.
  • Always cut the wood away from your hands & body.
  • Take time and go slow.
Types of Carving

Relief Carving

Relief carving is a slightly more advanced type of carving than previously mentioned whittling and chip carving. So it may be tough to complete properly for beginners. In this type of carving, you need to cut & carve away at the flat panel of your working piece. This method can be used to describe places, people, activities and animals. If you’re an expert carver you can make it like a painting.

Tools & Equipment

For getting a precise and unique design, you should use some specialized tools, such as-

Chisels: This tool is used for making straight or slightly angled cuts in your working piece.

Gouges: Gouges are used to make curved cuts.

Mallet: Mallet can be used to make deeper cuts in hardwoods.

Wood: For relief carving, you can use any type of wood, but as always, beginners can start with soft wood.

Safety Precautions

Like all other carvings, you need to be careful if you’re about to start relief carving. So,

  • Always keep your knife sharp.
  • If you’re a beginner wood carver, try to choose softwoods which are easy to cut.
  • Always cut the wood away from your hands & body.
  • Take time and go slow.


You may guess the process of carving from the name that it is the art of wood- burning. For carving with this method you need a good quality pyrography kit then burn your workpiece by following the design of words or pictures or anything you want and make a unique piece of craft.

Tools & Equipment

For pyrography, you need tools like-

Wood Burning Pen: This tool is specially designed to heat up to more than a hundred degrees when it is plugged into an electric outlet. With different tips, you can use them to create your burns.

Wet Towel: After using the pen it may have wood fiber on its tip. Use a wet towel to remove these fibers quickly from the tip. And using a wet towel will protect your hands from burning.

Wood: For pyrography, you can use any kind of wood. You only need to make sure to not burn any reclaimed or finished wood because chemicals from this wood may cause harm to your health.

Safety Precautions

As pyrography needs a different type of tool, you need to have some different types of safety precautions. Such as-

  • Keep the pen tip away from your skin to avoid any kind of burn.
  • Never try to burn plastics, reclaimed or finished wood as they release toxins during the burning process which is hazardous to your health.

Chainsaw Carving

Chainsaw carving is the most used and fastest growing type of carving in the world. In this method, you can combine modern technology with beautiful art and create an amazing masterpiece. With this type of carving you’ll be able to create any type of figures like- bear, eagle, etc. in any size.

Tools & Equipment

For chainsaw carving, you need some specific type of tools, like- Chainsaw: The first thing you need for this carving is a chainsaw with special blades.

Power Supply: While carving with the chainsaw, you need to keep ready the power supply according to the type of chainsaw, such as- gas, batteries or work near an electric power supply source for an electric chainsaw.

Grinder: For some designs, you may need to use a grinder to have a smooth finishing on your design.

Wood: As usual, like other types of carving, you must need a wooden piece to work with. You can use any kind of wood for chainsaw carving.

Safety Precautions

For chainsaw carving, you need to wear different types of safety gears to protect yourself.

  • Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from the sawdust.
  • Wear good quality earplugs to protect your ears from the noise produced from the saw.
  • Must wear gloves to avoid any unwanted cuts from the chainsaw.
  • Finally, don’t forget to wear your safety boots to protect your feet from sawdust or any falling objects.


You found 1/2 more types while researching different types of carving. But these are the most commonly used methods in the wood carving industry. First, two types of carvings are perfect for beginners. And others are for expert wood carvers.

You can choose any of them according to your expertise.

But whatever method you love to work with, don’t forget about your safety as carving includes a pretty much dangerous type of tool to work with.

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About Gavin Ford

Hi, I am Gavin Ford. I am a full-time power tools salesperson and a part-time mechanic. I help my friends and neighbors with their tools. Which one to buy, how to buy it, how to use it, methods to fix broken tools, and so on. In I will do the same for the rest of the world. You will get everything you need to know about tools for regular and professional use.

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