Types of wood carving techniques

If you probably want to satisfy your hunger for knowing different types of wood carving techniques, this article will help you understand the different tools used to practice this craft.

Wood carving is a very ancient form of craft and once you hack it, you will have the freedom to create the art around you, and also gives you the power to express your imagination through it.

If you enjoy gifting your loved ones, I’m sure you will create a lot of smiles once you learn carving. These types of wood carving techniques give a wide selection of choices and this does not limit you to one technique.

These woodcarving techniques differ in the tools used and the types of wood used and they include; whittling, Chip carving, relief carving, Chainsaw carving, treen carving, Scandinavian flat-plane, and love spoon carving.


Whittling is one of the most preferred types of wood carving techniques by carvers who love making little trinkets. If you are thinking of creating kitchen utensils and personalized clothespins, whittling is yours go-to craft.

Whittling is considered one of the simplest forms and it has been used for centuries as one of the ways you can express yourself as an artist. When whittling, I advise you to buy a kit that has;

  • specialized whittling knives that are awesome to use because they offer you a fixed single blade to use.
  • leather thimble and cut-resistant gloves will protect your hands from injuries and successfully get you through the process with no blisters.

Chip carving

Chip carving is also among the types of wood carving techniques that are economical to start with and this process soothes your body and soul when you are practicing it.

This technique utilizes a single flat piece of wood you will use different knives and chisels to chip away the wood and finally you will be left with a finished chip carving.

You can use this technique to create eccentric projects and furniture and the tools you need are;

  • Pencil and Ruler– this will help you to create a pattern you want to cut out.
  • Chip carving knife– This will help you to cut out the patterns and can also remove the chips of wood when carving with this technique, make sure your knife is at a 45-degree angle.
  • Chisel- This tool is mainly used to remove small chips on the wood you are carving

Relief Carving

When discussing the types of wood carving techniques, relief carving is also included. This technique of carving uses a flat piece of wood and it is normally described as carving pictures into the wood.

Example of relief carving done by carved by Ramsey for a medical center

With your carving tools, you will remove the pieces of wood to create a picture that looks like it is rising out of the wood carving.

In this technique, you will need ;

  • Mallet- to drive the different gouges and chisel into your wood.
  • Gouges- typically following the design pattern, you will need U-shaped, V-shaped, spoon, and fishtail gouges.
  • Chisels- Chisels will also help in the creation and it is used to remove chips on wood.

Relief carving is the only method in the list of types of wood carving techniques that has different styles to use which are;

  • High relief carving- This style of carving is similar to low relief and mostly they are grouped, and in that, they are sculptures protruding from the foreground.
  • The difference between high and low relief is that the figures protrude much further from the background, creating stark shadows and outlines to frame the figures.
  • Bas or low relief- This style of carving the figures in the foreground will protrude slightly from the background, with no undercutting of outlines.
  • Deep carving- This style of carving is deeper than high relief and bas relief carving but it doesn’t go through the wood. It is one of the most difficult and intricate. The depth of this style can reach more than 2 inches which demonstrates levels of shadowing and several layers of the design.
  • Pierced relief- This style of carving can have areas that go straight through the wood.

Chainsaw Carving

Differentiating chainsaw carving from other types of wood techniques, I would say that this technique is a modern method of carving.

It is very recent but it has quickly gained popularity because of the breathtaking experience.

In this technique, you carve large projects using a chainsaw and different areas of your wood will require a different chainsaw.

When you are using a chainsaw unsupervised make sure that you know what you are doing otherwise, if you are trying it out the first time, make sure you have a supervisor to avoid accidents.

Make sure that the chainsaw is sharp because it is more dangerous when blunt.

Treen Carving

Treen carving on the list of types of wood carving techniques is more of a grouping than a technique. By this I mean, the treen carving is carving something that won’t be for display but will help you to do something else.

Plates, toolboxes, and washing tabs are some of the examples of treen wood carving and they were basic in the past before the modern age, this day after silver was introduced, the treen carving is mostly done for decoration purposes as a touch of traditional antiques to your home.

Scandinavian Flat-Plane

Scandinavian flat-plane carving technique is based on figure carving, and very little to no sanding is done and this leaves the curving with uneven edges.

You can relate this method with whittling but less sanding.

Carving done by Harley Refsal

This technique originated from Scandinavian culture as the name suggests, to be more specific Sweden. The nature of these carvings seems odd at first glance, but when you give it a deeper look, you will start appreciating the technique.

The tools that are needed in this technique are;

  • A Carving knife– is the only cutting tool you will need.
  • Cut-resistance gloves– to protect your hands from injuries.

Love spoon carving

Love spoon carving is also one of the types of wood carving technique and it symbolizes love and affection. This method was traditionally done to represent a romantic gift to your loved ones.

Your creativity is not limited and you can do complicated designs like hearts and ornaments that are carved out from wood which is hard to carve but the aesthetic appearance is amazing.


Understanding different types of wood carving techniques will give you a wide range of carving your piece and you won’t be limited to one. Check all about basic knife cuts.

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