With time and experience, one gains knowledge.

Here are a few things I wish I knew when I started carving and I would like to share them with you:

Must haves

  • Safety should always be your first consideration. Buy a cut proof glove and thumb guard. You can make a thumb guard using the thumb of an old work glove.
  • Buy the best knife you can afford and start small.  Good equipment is important to success. Many beginners start with inferior equipment and wood and give up when things fail. Once you have experience with general carving you can decide on specialty knives such as those used for chip carving or different shaped blades.
  • Learn to keep your knife sharp.  A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one.
  • There are few basic knife cuts to learn, push cut, paring cut, stop cut, and variations of those such as v-cut. There are lots of videos available on the web. Adding a slicing motion to your cuts prevents crushing the wood.
  • Practice on scraps of wood cutting with and across the grain in different directions until you have learned what to expect from your knife and the quality of the cut.
  • Pick an easy project that is not too large, and let the knife do the work making small cuts.
  • Start with an easy species of wood to carve such as basswood.
  • Learn from your mistakes an don’t get discouraged. Keep at it.
  • Once you are happy with your efforts move up to more complicated pieces and on to chisels .