Woodcarving rewards perseverance, especially in the beginning. Like so many hobbies, when you struggle to master the basics, the frustration can persuade you to stop (and you’ll lose out on some highly useful skills). To get you started in the right way, we’ve listed 5 woodcarving cuts for beginners designed to develop your knowledge of the craft.
#1 The Running Cut
This low-angle grip delivers a long stroke into the wood, and is particularly useful if you want to practice swapping hands right from the start.
You use one hand to to propel the tool, while the other (wrapped around the woodcarving blade) resists your movement. This allows you to have full control of the cut, to reverse direction when needed and to create parallel or equal lines at various depths.
#2 The High Angle Grip
This woodcarving cut is a difficult one for beginners, but mastering it will allow you to add a number of clever details - including lettering! Your middle finger controls the blade, while the ring and little finger support it.
To master the high angle grip, you don’t need to swap hands, but it does take time. The more you’re able to develop the muscle between your index finger and thumb that allows you to grip, the more adept you’ll be at this woodcarving cut.
#3 Sweep Cut
Delivered in a slicing motion, this technique eases the tool through the wood and produces a much cleaner cut. The movement is also called a rocking cut, sometimes called “rocking the tool through its cut.”
You can make a sweep cut with either low or high-angle grip, rotating to the left or the right. A medium gouge should be sufficient to perform this cut.
#4 Stop Cut
The Stop Cut gets its name from the fact that, once performed, is replaced by the cuts that follow. This differs it to some of the previous cuts, which are meant to remain on the surface for aesthetic or practical effect.
#5 Push-Away (Levering) Cut
Sometimes, you need to send your blade to an area that your thumb simply can’t reach. The push away cut was devised for these exact instances - it pushes the blade away from you to reach those tucked away areas.
The stop cut will help you to establish the different layers of work, help you create a wider cut, and deliver crisp division lines between the different areas of your carving.