What is the easiest wood to carve

What is the easiest wood to carve

When beginners start their carving journey, they prefer finding wood that is easy for them to carve. When wood is easy to carve, learning becomes a fast and enjoyable process and it also gives the psych to carve more projects. I would recommend beginners to choose wood that is easy to carve because it will fasten the process of learning.

The wood that is fairly easy to carve and gives fine details is Basswood. This type of wood has less wood grain count than other species of timber, which makes it easy to whittle, making it ideal for beginners.

What Makes a Wood Easy To Carve?

When we talk about easy wood to carve, we are not necessarily talking about softwoods only because e hardwoods for example Basswood are relatively easy to carve.

Hardwoods are the best medium for carving as opposed to softwood. The dense grain structure of the hardwood timber allows it to absorb more moisture than softwood, making it easy to carve.

When the grain has a denser structure, the ability to absorb more moisture is high making it easy to carve like basswood.

List Of The Easiest Woods To Carve


What Makes a Wood Easy To Carve?

Basswood is one of the most popular woods in carving; most beginners start with it. It grows throughout Europe and America. This type of wood has been used for centuries by woodcarvers because of how easy it is. Basswood has almost no grain and it is very soft, making it the best choice for beginners.

The grain pattern on the wood is almost non-existence which makes it extremely easy to carve regardless of being slightly denser than some of the softwoods.

If you want your kids to start carving, this will be the best recommendation for it’s easy to carve.

It is fairly durable, and perfect for you regardless of whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or veteran. Also has a beautiful color and takes vanish very well.


Aspen is a white wood that is popular for woodcarvers. It is stronger than basswood but still retains the softness making it fairly easy to use for carving. Despite Aspen having a dark greenish bark, the timber itself has a light brown texture. The wood is light and durable and it is easily attainable from timber suppliers.

Some carvers prefer using Aspen wood out of all the wood species of its fine-grained texture and soft quality.

It offers the least interference to carvers when working from a solid block of wood to a reduced artistic form or shape. It has a very fine straight grain with pores that are thinly spread and can only be seen with a magnifying lens.

The texture quality is already given, but the main advantage of using this wood for carving is its availability. When there is a huge supply of materials, the cost tends to be low.


This softwood is a rare timber that is actually among the list of best woods for beginners to use when carving. It is browner than basswood or aspen and has a nicer grain and can be carved easier.

Warm holes love attacking this wood so before using it, you should treat it to avoid the holes. It is easy to carve using a knife only, and anyone carving using this wood will have a great experience carving.

This wood has more character than basswood but it is still easy to carve, and very good at carving spoons.

Butternut wood is thick and because of this, you will get a very good polished and smooth surface in it.

Low compression is also a good feature for butternut. When wood dries, the level of compression is very low.

Balsa Wood

Balsa wood Is also one of the easiest wood to carve and it is one of the lightest and softest woods available. Balsa is indigenously grown in central and south America, and it is readily available to consumers in North America.

Because of its pliability, you can carve smaller objects with Balsawood such as birds and mice. Make sure before you start carving, your tools are sharp.

A consideration to keep in mind when carving balsa wood is that it can easily deform by being so soft. With that said, avoid adding intricate details on Balsa.

American Cherry

American Cherry is another good wood that is easy to carve on. The heartwood texture varies from light pink to a rich red-brown texture making it also one of the most used by woodcarvers for its different colors. It has a cream sapwood color and the grains are straight.  Although being one of the easiest woods to carve, it is harder to work with than the above-mentioned woods.

White Pine

White Pine is popular among beginners and experienced woodcarvers. White Pine is a softwood and very easy to carve, however, its soft straight-grained texture is not suited for chip carving.

The Eastern White Pine is the softest pinewood than Western White Pine on the market, and is native to Eastern North America.

It is cheap and it would be great for beginners because they will need more wood to practice.

You should know that only White pine is great and easy to carve and other species of pine can be very hard to carve.


Choosing an easy wood to start your carving experience will put you at an advantage level of mastering the art faster and I would recommend beginners to start with the above-listed woods. Happy carving.

6 thoughts on “What is the easiest wood to carve

      1. Thanks for your comment, Richard! We’re glad to hear that you enjoy carving cottonwood bark. Finding the right size of bark for your projects can definitely be a challenge. One option is to look for suppliers online who specialize in selling bark specifically for carving purposes. You may also want to check with local craft stores or woodworking shops to see if they carry it or can order it for you. Good luck with your carving projects!

  1. Your list of carving woods and reasons and uses needs some work.
    Experience tell a bit different story.

  2. Question; those log of wood use for firewood sold at 7-11,are they good for carving??? Curious, I would like to try carving on the cheap,to start,to see if I really like it.

    1. Hi Carlos,

      The logs of wood sold at 7-11 for firewood may not be the best choice for carving. These logs are usually cut and dried specifically for burning, so they may be too dry or brittle for carving. Additionally, they may contain knots or other imperfections that make carving difficult.

      If you’re looking to start carving on a budget, I recommend looking for smaller pieces of wood at a local lumberyard or home improvement store. Look for softwoods such as pine or basswood, which are easier to carve than hardwoods like oak or maple. You can also search for woodcarving blanks online, which are pre-cut pieces of wood specifically designed for carving.

      Remember, carving takes practice and patience, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t turn out exactly as you imagined. Good luck and happy carving!

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