Craft and Hobby

Wood Carving for Beginners



SKILL LEVEL beginner

Beginner Intermediate Advanced
Itching to get creative in the workshop? Whether you're making small home repairs, a wooden spoon or a spaceship, carving wood is all about patience, tools and timing. From choosing the right wood, to picking the right Dremel accessories, this guide to woodcarving for beginners should help you get started.

by Dremel ®


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Supplies Needed For This Project


4300 High Performance Variable Speed Rotary Tool

Model # 4300


Dremel 114 Carving Bit

Model # 114


134 Carving Bit

Model # 134


9905 Tungsten Carbide Carving Bit

Model # 9905


Dremel 107 Engraving Bit

Model # 107


  • 1

  • 1

    Sharpening stone
  • 1

    Carving knife
  • 1

    Dremel Flex Shaft
  • 1

    EZ SpeedClic: Finishing Abrasive Buffs
  • 1

    EZ SpeedClic Mandrel
  • 1

    Detailer's Grip attachment

Let's Get Started

To reduce the risk of injury user must read instruction manuals for all tools used in this project. Wear eye and respiratory protection. Use clamps to support work piece whenever practical.


Choose your basic woodcarving tools

There’s really not a lot to it. Here's what you'll need if you're just starting out: A Carving Knife: Purpose-built knives intended for whittling tend to have fixed blades and longer handles. Invest in a good knife – it will be worth it. An Ax: Here’s your chance to be a lumberjack, because an ax is an essential tool. Get a small ax that you can grip easily. A Sharpening Stone: Carving wood will eventually dull any blade, so a good ceramic sharpening stone is essential. Angle the blade between 10-20 degrees and swipe it back and forth across the sharpening stone.


Choose your Dremel tools for carving wood

Raring to go? All Dremel® Multi-Tools can be used for carving. It’s best to use the Flexible Shaft with the bigger Dremel tools, as this will make maneuvering much easier. The Dremel accessories you can use for carving are: · High Speed Cutter 7.8 mm (114) · High Speed Cutter 7.2 mm (134) · High Speed Cutter 4.8 mm (192) · Engraving Cutter 2.4 mm (107) · Tungsten Carbide Cutter ball tip 3.2 mm (9905)


Choose your Dremel tools for smoothing

For smoothing you can use EZ SpeedClic: Finishing Abrasive Buffs with different grits. A range between 180-280 should be good for small projects. To hold and use the wheels, you’ll also need a mandrel. Specifically, the EZ SpeedClic Mandrel (SC402) for the sanding buffs and the 401 Mandrel for the polishing wheels. TIP: The Detailer’s Grip Attachment is also great for extra comfort during your hobby and DIY projects.


Know the best woods for woodcarving

If you're just starting out with woodcarving, it's better to choose a softwood like birch, lime wood, pine, willow or horse chestnut. These are easier to carve. Soon, when you’re more experienced, you can use birch burl, cherry wood, maple, apple, pear, olive or walnut. All of these contain beautiful patterns and colors, and will add new elements to your designs.


Choose the cleanest wood possible

If you're getting your wood from a craft store, chances are you won't find many growth rings or knots in it. If you're getting it from a lumberyard, however, these might be more of an issue. Remember, if you're a woodcarving beginner it can be difficult to carve around these natural formations. Get the cleanest wood possible and come back to the tricky stuff later. Practice makes perfect.


Practice drawing your design first

Your woodcarving piece might change as you continue, but at the start it’s important to stick to perfecting its basic shape. Before you start whittling away, trace out your design lightly with a pencil. Staying within the lines of your drawing will help keep you on track when the ax and carving knife come out.


Set aside some time just for woodcarving

There will be times during your woodcarving projects that you'll wish you could speed things up; especially the drying process. However, take things slowly and try to enjoy each step of the process. Carving wood is not a hobby you can rush, and when you hold your finished piece, you'll be glad you took your time. By now, you're probably excited to start your first woodcarving project.

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