How to Rough out the Wood with Carving Chisels

What You'll Need
Safety goggles
Sharp knife

Most wood designs are created using a wood carving chisel. There are numerous types of wood carving techniques that creates special and unique pieces both for art and furniture designs. The type of woods used depends on the person and the piece that will be created. There are many techniques that carvers use to create a piece and that includes the chip carving, which uses a knife to remove the bits of wood from the project. Another technique that carvers use is called the relief carving, which uses a flat wood as the base of the project and to where pictures or any design ideas are being carved. Below is a step-by-step guide to a basic wood carving technique using a chisel.

Step: 1 – Pick out a Wood

First thing to do is to pick out the right wood block for your project. Make sure that it is high quality and the right size.

Step: 2- Draw an Outline

Make a pattern of the design that you would like to do using a pencil. This helps eliminate mistakes.

Step: 3 – Make Shallow Cuts

Start making cuts on the outline using a chisel.

Step: 4 – Start the Project

Start carving it with a chisel. Go with your instinct without carving deeply; most serious damages are caused by going too deep. Slowly carve the wood until you reached the desired depth.

Step: 5 – Furnish

Use a small cut with the chisel to reveal the outline you want. For fine details, carve by putting pressure on the grip with the palm of your hand. Use a fine chisel. Blow on the carved area regularly to remove the excess wood chips.

Step 6: – Finishing

Sand the wood to smooth the surfaces for a cleaner piece. Use stains relief or lacquer for finishing. Some people like to use olive oil for a more natural looking piece.


The tools used in this wood technique are mostly the chisel and mallet. Make sure that you use a sharp chisel. However, for a more detailed design carvers use a carving knife, which is a specially designed knife use for paring, cutting and smoothing of the wood. A gouge is also another tool for carving, with a curved edge that is especially designed for making hollow, round and sweeping cuts.

The wood used in a carving project may be hard, which is more durable and lasts longer, although it is tougher to carve. The soft type of wood is easier to work with but is less resistant in breakage. Every kind of wood can be carved, but the quality varies with the characteristics.

The secret in carving woods is patience. Without this, you will never get a project done. This wood technique has been used in the ancient times until now because of the uniqueness and hard work exerted in every piece created.