Why Wood carving?
One of the means to create tactile texture
It is a process where patterns are cut out of
wood using different tools
Basic Woodcarving Toolset
the carving knife: a specialized knife used to pare, cut, and
the gouge: a tool with a curved cutting edge used in a variety
of forms and sizes for carving hollows, rounds and sweeping
the coping saw, a small saw that is used to cut off chunks of
wood at once.
the chisel, large and small, whose straight cutting edge is
used for lines and cleaning up flat surfaces.
the V-tool used for parting, and in certain classes of flat work
for emphasizing lines.
the veiner: a specialized deep gouge with a U shaped cutting
sharpening equipment, such as various stones and a strop,
necessary for maintaining edges.
Woodcarving ToolsA selection of woodcarving hand tools: 3 fishtail gouges, a v-parting tool, 4 straight gouges, 3 spoon gouges, and a carvers mallet
How to get started?
Select wood that is appropriate size and
For bigger art pieces more than one piece of
wood can be used
Softer wood is easier to carve, but will also
Once the sculptor has selected their wood, he
or she begins a general shaping process using
gouges of various sizes.
The gouge is a curved blade that can remove
large portions of wood smoothly.
For harder woods, the sculptor may use a chisel
and mallet, similar to a stone carver. Smaller
sculptures may require the wood carver to use a
knife, and larger pieces might require the use of a
No matter what wood is selected or tool used, the
wood sculptor must always carve either across or
with the grain of the wood, never against the
Once the general shape is made, the carver may
use a variety of chisels for creating details. For
example, a “veiner” or 'fluter' can be used to make
deep gouges into the surface, or a “v-tool” for
making fine lines or decorative cuts.
Once the finer details have been added, the
wood carver finishes the surface. The method
chosen depends on the required quality of
The texture left by shallow gouges gives 'life'
to the carving's surface and many carvers
prefere this 'tooled' finish.
If a completely smooth surface is required
general smoothing can be done with tools
such as “rasps,” which are flat-bladed tools
with a surface of pointed teeth.
“Rifflers” are similar to rasps, but smaller,
usually double ended, and of various shapes
for working in folds or crevasses.
The finer polishing is done with abrasive
paper. Large grained paper with a rougher
surface is used first, with the sculptor then
using finer grained paper that can make the
surface of the sculpture slick to the touch.
After the carving and finishing is completed, the artist
may seal & color the wood with a variety of natural
oils, such as walnut or linseed oil which protects the
wood from dirt and moisture.
Oil also imparts a sheen to the wood which, by
reflecting light, helps the observer 'read' the form.
Carvers seldom use gloss varnish as it creates too
shiny a surface, which reflects so much light it can
confuse the form; carvers refer to this as 'the toffee
apple effect'. Objects made of wood are frequently
finished with a layer of wax, which protects the wood
and gives a soft lustrous sheen. A wax finish is
comparatively fragile though and only suitable for
Videos and games
Now what will you do?
Design and carve a monogram using a variety
of tools to create interesting textures (visual
What is a monogram?
A monogram is a motif made by overlapping
or combining two or more letters or other
graphemes to form one symbol. Monograms
are often made by combining the initials of an
individual or a company, used as recognizable
symbols or logos.
Design Phase-Hints and tips
Start by playing around with your initials to see
what fun designs you can come up with.
Make sure that one can still see your initials in
Ask the teacher for help and guidance.
Work neat. A mark will be rewarded for
Once your design is completed you can move
onto the making phase.
The making phase- How to
Bring a variety of materials to class that can
be used as tools to add in texture. Things like
the back of a nail, your compass etc. (Ask
your Dad he will have great ideas!)
Draw your monogram design onto the piece of
Start carving and pressing in the texture using
the different tools.
Once all the texture has been carved in call
The making phase- Finishing
Decide on how you want to finish you
Black paint so that the carved bits stand out
Colour on the lettering
Let you imagination guide you!