Tips and Techniques

If wood is hard to carve soak the wood in denatured alcohol (available in home improvement stores) or spray it on the wood. The denatured alcohol will not bother the grain and will soften the wood to allow you to carve more easily.

Buy quality carving tools from the start. You will never regret it and it will save you money in the long run. Keep your tools in a good tool box. Protect your tools from moisture.

Wash your carving before painting with soap and water. This will cause the wood to swell and close up any small gaps in the wood. You can paint it before the wood dries.

A veiner is a gouge - not a v-tool! It is shaped like a"U" that has been squeezed. 
Don't use boiled linseed oil on outdoor carvings. It dries too slowly and promotes fungus. Better to use a marine type finish with UV blocking. All wood has a tendency to check. A change in the carving's environment can cause checking.

When power carving pine knots or high resin wood, spray paint thinner on the wood to help keep burs clean of the resin.
Create a Santa study stick
Purpose of this document: it is in the hopes the effort of making this tutorial on carving a Santa study stick, or practice stick, that those with basic to intermediate carving skills can accomplish the task of making the project for themselves, then have one to copy from in their hand and continue carving others as practice. Although Not suggested for a true beginner, Who still needs to learn carving safety, how to sharpen, hone and maintain cutting edges, in addition to general carving experience in the basic skills.....Click Here


 Wood Butter?  What?  You’ve heard of regular butter, peanut butter, almond butter, apple butter, but wood butter?  Sounds tasty, eh?  Well, you probably don’t want to eat this stuff.  Have you ever eaten dutch oven mutton?  Actually , it is one of my favorite meats but it has to be almost burned to a crisp.  It’s pretty tasty but you need one of those rubber spatulas your wife uses in the kitchen to scrap the grease off the top of your mouth.  Hey, I didn’t say it was healthy, just good!  I’m sure wood butter wouldn’t be as tasty and you would definitely have to use the spatula after eating it.
All kidding aside, wood butter is used to keep those wooden spoons and bowls in your kitchen treated so they sparkle and shine and don’t dry up and crack.  I’m sure some of you have built a cutting board and used mineral oil on it.  Well, wood butter is an even better treatment.  My daughter brought the recipe to my attention and pinned it on Pinterest.  Click here for the recipe!  This is a great treatment for woodworkers who want to put a shine and preservative on those turned bowls, cutting boards, or other woodworking projects.
Please note:  Housewives, I assume no liability for your husbands making and bottling this in your fruit jars in your kitchen.  You might want to help him out.  Source: CLICK HERE   
Wood Butter Recipe : Click Here

  • 8 ounces pure beeswax - measured dry. One package of the pellets that I purchased weighed 16 ounces and I used half a package at a time.
  • 32 ounces of mineral oil - typically packaged with 16 liquid ounces per container so I used 2 containers.
  1. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a gentle boil.
  2. Place your beeswax inside a 2 quart glass measuring cup or a 1 quart glass jar; set the glass into the gently boiling water.
  3. Place the container(s) of mineral oil inside another medium saucepan filled with water and heat to low.The mineral oil just needs to be warmed to mix with the beeswax; no need for a rolling boil.
  4. Once all the wax has melted, turn off the stove and carefully add the warmed mineral oil to the beeswax;stirring with a spoon to combine.
  5. Using a towel around the handle of the measuring cup, carefully pour the liquid into each jar fit with the canning funnel;filling them almost to the top.
  6. Finish filling all jars and wait for to cool and firm up before using.

I can see clearly now
Woodcarving Illustrated Issue #4 Page 20

Tip submitted by John Mignone, a frequent contributor to Wood Carving Illustrated. To view all Wood Carving Illustrated issues John has contributed to CLICK HERE.

In any dust-producing environment, dust sticking to eye glasses is a problem. To solve this, purchase anti-static sheets that you normally throw into your clothes dryer. Rub the lenses with a sheet. It will leave a greasy looking coating. Then rub the lenses with a tissue until clear. Your eyes will stay dust-free for hours.

Another problem with eye glasses comes with fogging. This is especially common when moving between areas of contrasting temperatures and when wearing a dust mask. Anti-fog creams are hard to come by and greatly overpriced. Simply put a drop of any liquid hand soap on each lens and smear it around. Rub with a tissue until clear. This will give you hours of fog-free vision.

Helpful Hints,  by  Michael Keller - White Eagle Studios -
When working with wood that is either too hard or to soft, to achieve good detail, I apply a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water to the area. Once the mixture is absorbed into the wood, I find that it cuts much more easily. 
Wearing a carving glove when holding a piece being worked on is a good idea; such as with whittling. Place the glove on the hand holding the piece itself. It could save you from a needless injury.
I hone my tools approximately once each hour of use. Doing so keeps a fine razor edge on the tool.
I don't try to catch a dropped knife or chisel. It is easier to sharpen a dropped tool than it is to repair a finger or toe.
A small sliver can often be removed by placing a piece of tape over it and pulling it gently off.
Good carving comes from practice and experience. And a lot of that comes from bad judgment along the way.
It's never too late to start carving. Many artists have taken up carving after retirement. 
Albeit, I do not believe in sanding, careful tooling and clean cuts save you hours of sanding.
Clean cuts provide a highly finished professional look. When I use hand tools (versus mallet work) on cross grain, I use a slicing cut for much greater ease. 
I find that clamping my work so both hands are free is always worth the effort - not to mention the added safety. 
When doing lettering and fine line detail, I use a hooked, razor sharp knife.  Doing so helps prevent my knife from coming loose from my cut and slipping or streaking across the wood.  If you have not experienced a hooked knife, I suggest you do.  The advantages are endless
When using palm gouges, it is easy to bang the knuckles or fingers of the pushing hand on the piece being carved.  Once you have banged yourself a few times, wrap the banged spot in vet wrap or elastic bandage material to soften future banging.  Banging yourself a few times will make it abundantly clear where to apply the vet wrap. 
Using a template can offer many advantages in applying your carving project on wood. A template can be:
1 moved around on your wood ensuing a good fit
2 enlarged or reduced on a copy machine to better fit your wood
3 used over and over again in cases where you are doing multiple pieces
4 can help you identify waste wood allowing you to band saw or chisel it off prior to getting into the meat of things .
Remember to make a top and side view template that can be aligned with each other on the wood.  Use carbon paper or a pattern makers wheel to transfer your work to the wood if you cannot use a pencil around the edges of your pattern. 

by Michael Keller - White Eagle Studios -
Carving Magazine Carving Hint ...... 10 Tips For Carving Eyes!

Here are ten quick tips for carving eyes that have graced the pages of Carving Magazine: 1. the centers of the eyes should line up with the corners of the mouth ... 2. the lower lid is an "S" shape instead of a straight line  .... 3. iris covers about 1/3 of the eye and never fully visible ... 4. having eyes looking off to one side is normally a more pleasing design ... 5. quilting pins make great eyes for animals ... 6. the human eye is the size of a ping-pong ball ... 7. there is a distance of 1 eye width between the eyes ... 8. the eyes are in the center of the head for adults and teens ... 9. oldsters faces often elongate putting their eyes above center ... 10. inside and outside corners of the eyes should be the same depth! --- This and other carving tips, projects, profiles and more are available in Carving Magazine ... -
Beginning Carving Tips
Wood carving is, for many people, an interesting combination of hobby and art. Just like with pottery making or other types of similar art, a wood carver is deeply involved in the creation process. The finished wood carvings are much more than a pretty piece of ornament – they have a symbolic value or the creator that is often hard to express in money or material things. Here are a few tips that will help beginning wood carvers learn how to master this rewarding hobby:

     Tip1: Ask questions! There is absolutely no shame in wanting to learn something, and experienced wood carvers will always have a useful tip or instruction for you. Before you can develop your personal carving style you need to learn the basics, so joining some classes or having a tutor may just be one of the best approaches.

     Tip 2: Don't rush. There is no point in finishing a carving quickly. You should work without any time pressure and without attempting to produce something beautiful very quickly. Communicate with the wood while you are carving and create a comfortable pace for your work – this is the only way in which you can produce harmonious results. When it comes to wood carving, patience is a virtue!

     Tip 3: Safety is essential. You are working with a wood carving knife and accidents are always a potential danger. Make sure to get used to holding the knife firmly and learn how to handle the wood itself. Always keep your other hand out of the way of the carving knife and wear a thumb guard on the carving hand. Thumb guards might take a while to get accustomed to, but they offer excellent protection against knife cuts.

     Tip 4: Analyze your work. Compare your wood carvings with those of others, both professional and amateur. Do not do this in a competitive fashion – instead, try to adopt ideas and perspectives noticed in other wood carvings and adapt them to your own style. 

     Tip 5: Work smart. Don't work on the carving for more than 30 – 45 minutes at a time. Your hands will get cramps from the work unless you are trained to do this. Don't turn wood carving into an unpleasant and demanding experience. Valuable results are achieved in time, not in one afternoon!

     If you would like to receive updated information on wood carving techniques, please visit our website at: Chainsaw carving

About The Author:

Jason Bibb makes it easy for you to learn and understand the basic steps and tips in wood carving ,such as in chainsaw carving.  Please visit for more information on wood carving tips.

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Carving a Golf Ball? Removing the Outer Casing 

by Melissa Barclay

Carving golf balls can be fun. My first one was difficult because I didn't have instructions. Using a coarse blade on my coping saw was my first mistake. When I changed the saw blade, it was 100% easier. Maybe this will help you!

Tools: coping saw (fine blade), marking pen, steel or leather glove, chisel and golf ball.

Each golf ball has a center seam. Cutting along the seam will give your finished carving a nice look.

Using a mesh steel glove to hold the ball is a good idea. The saw has a tendency to slide on the ball which will result in injury. Carefully saw around the ball until you can see rubber ball inside.

Gently push the casing off by working the corner of the chisel under the casing all the way around the golf ball. It usually takes going around the ball twice to remove it.

Apply a little pressure and half of the casing should come right off. The ball is ready for carving.