My Introduction to Wood Carving

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Last month I started feeling a desire to escape the digital world and create something with my hands. Looking around on the internet for some hands-on hobbies, I found myself drawn to woodworking. Unfortunately, I realized pretty quickly that I neither had the requisite tools to get started or the money to buy them this summer. So I searched for something a little less costly that might give me the same kind of satisfaction. One day later, I had picked up the age-old craft of woodcarving. So far I’ve carved three pieces out of small blocks of basswood, and I’m currently working on my fourth.

Woodcarving is an interesting craft. When I first started I was using a small, three-blade pocket knife, and it took me a few hours to hack off just a couple of inches of wood. But there was something so satisfying about using only my hands and a blade to shape the wood into something other than a boring rectangle block – even if it was a slow process.

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I started off with the intention of carving my first block of wood into a simple egg, but soon found that my knife and the stubborn grain of the wood had other plans for my untrained hands. My first piece ended up looking somewhat like a spade, and even though I didn’t plan it, I’m quite happy with it.

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My second and third pieces – a fish and a sword, respectively – were a lot more intentional. I started off with a basic idea of what I wanted to create and was able to get pretty close to it. By the time I started the sword I had bought my first pair of actual wood carving knives (and gloves for protection), and boy did they make the process easier. Compared to my cheap pocket knife, the wood carving blades cut through the wood like butter.

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While I can’t say wood carving will be an all consuming passion for me, it’s definitely a hobby I want to dive into more deeply. I really love the idea of creating something beautiful and possibly useful with my own two hands. It gives a kind of satisfaction that I haven’t felt with other creative endeavors like writing or even photography.