Blue Proboscidean

About wood carving

Wood carving is an ancient craft that has been accompanying mankind since the beginning of its existence. Wood is a natural and readily available material. Because our culture is filled with new technologies and materials, many people are returning to natural techniques and skills. Through direct contact with wood all our senses get enriched.

What you will learn about wood as a basic material?

In our courses you will learn to distinguish different kinds of wood, what kinds are suitable for wood carving, how they differ in their processing, what kind to choose for a particular product, etc. We will show you different constructions and hardnesses of wood and how the same type of wood can differ because of where it grew, for example in humid or dry conditions. You'll also learn where to get carving wood, how to treat and store fresh wood, when to start using it and how to avoid rot and insects.

You will get to know the best wood for carvers: linden wood (also known as Lime). It is soft but firm wood that's easy to work with and it rarely splits or warps during the process. Its growth rings are almost imperceptible, therefore the wood is solid and suitable even for detailed carvings. We will most often work with this light-colored wood and even beginners will soon be able to distinguish it from other woods.

Treatment of freshly cut trunks, halving and coating Cross-section of weathered trunk Poplar - protuberances attaching bark

The other kinds of wood we use are: walnut, cherry, alder, beech, ash, maple and pine.

It is important to collect wood in winter when it contains the least sap, and to process it as quickly as possible.

Wood-destroying bark beetle Wood-worm Walnut wood Fine hard wood Light-coloured wood

In the courses we use high quality wood that has been dried for at least 3 years. Raw wood is easier to work with but has unstable structure. It means that as it dries it can shrink and crack. Wood is hygroscopic and dry wood may start cracking after being moved indoors. Therefore it is necessary to gradually acclimatize the wood before working with it.

Lots more on wood processing and protection can be learned on our courses or in professional literature.


What will you learn about chisels and other wood carving equipment?

We work mainly with Swiss brand chisels Pfeil, the best chisels on the market. You will learn about other available chisels and their characteristics. Beginners will be shown how to handle chisels and how to use different profiles and sizes. You will eventually be able to recognize properly tempered chisels from low quality ones (unfortunately, there are many of these on the market).

We will learn about the differences between joinery and wood carving chisels.

You will see how to sharpen chisels and what sharpening stones and other equipment may be needed. If you want to, you can yourself learn the sharpening process. It can be quite a difficult yet rewarding skill to acquire. Chisels are razor-sharp, therefore they need to be handled carefully to prevent injuries and to protect them from blunting.

Chisels in cupboard Chisels sharpening Wood carving mallets

Small carving workbench Workbench screw

If you are new to wood carving and think about buying a basic set of chisels from internet catalogue or in an art supplies store, it may be tricky; usually you cannot try out the tool in advance and see if it's just what you need. If you don't plan to invest in large set of chisels (since they can be very expensive) we highly recommended you to get 5 or 6 good quality basic chisels and gradually purchase additional tools later. A good quality chisel doesn't have to be sharpened as often as a cheap and poor quality chisel.