Wood Carving And Whittling

Wood carving and whittling are two sides of the same coin. The similarities between the two ranges from the tools to the technique to everything else, however there is also a lot of difference between wood carving and whittling. Understanding the similarities and differences between these two craft forms will enable you to choose your path and head down the road that appeals to you more!

Technique in Wood Carving & Whittling

The thing about wood carving technique is that you can find your own technique that works for you. Depending on the tools you are using, the size of your sculpture and your experience, you can hold and wield your techniques in your own custom way. The only thing you need to remember is to work along the grain of the wood, which is similar to whittling. However, in whittling the technique is a lot slower and more precise. You use the knife slowly, along the grain, but using the force of just one thumb to push the knife along. The process is slower and more precise because the final sculpture is usually smaller.

Wood for Wood Carving & Whittling

The most interesting thing about wood carving is that you can use any and every kind of wood available in stores. Hard and soft woods, both, are ideal for the hobby because the tools are more versatile and capable of doing a lot more with a lot of different kinds of woods. Every wood has its own grain-pattern and this is important for getting the right kind of cuts on your wood. Beginners tend to start out with softer wood to ease into the hobby but once you are there, there is no limit to what you can get and what you can do with it.

For Whittling, the wood is always soft mainly because the kind of technique and tools being used are designed for slower and surer cuts. Most hobby stores carry soft wood and although you can head onto harder wood, soft wood works out best for a really long time. Basswood and Pine are the most common and popular forms of wood used in whittling while balsa, which is also used a lot in model airplanes, is also a good choice. Finally, if you cannot get hold of any of these things, you can pick up random twigs and branches to work with.

Tools for Wood Carving & Whittling

The entire list of wood carving tools is quite long with chisels, gouges, V-tools and more coming in a variety of sizes and shapes. You have concave backs, sharp tools; blunt ones (mallets), and so much more. Using them is also quite personal and although there is always a right technique, you can fine-tune it to your own style and create the best thing for you to work with.

As for whittling, there is just one thing that you can use, which is a whittling knife. If you don't have a whittling knife, then you can get a regular knife, any sharp knife, and it will do the job. Since the wood you use, in whittling, is mostly soft wood and this makes things quite easy to work with. You may need some sand paper to finish off your work although whittling is all about the different planes and evening them out isn't really recommended. The finishing paint is also common to both wood carving and whittling so there's not much else, in terms of tools, where the two forms are different.

The Cuts for Wood Carving & Whittling

There aren't too many similarities when it comes down to the kind of cuts you make in wood carving and whittling. The kind of cuts in wood carving range from regular straight cuts to chipping wood off to gouging out holes in the piece of wood you are holding. The kind of tools you are using, their size and their shape, will determine how the final cuts look. In terms of force, you can use your hands to simply make cuts into the wood or use a mallet to drive a chisel through in a particular pattern.

In whittling, the cuts are smaller and more deliberate. They are short sharp cuts made into the wood using your thumb to push the knife through the wood, slowly. While wood carving is about making a lot of cuts quickly, whittling is about being gentle and smooth. That said, both wood carving and whittling is about taking your time, being patient and spending a lot of time practicing the hobby. That's the only way to make sure that you get to taste the best of both worlds and come to the right choice between wood carving and whittling.

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