Whittling and wood carving often go hand in hand and some carvers don’t even know the difference. It is completely normal – these two hobbies indeed are so close that it is not difficult to confuse the two.
So what’s the difference? Whittling is an easy hobby to take up which involves a carving knife only. So you won’t need much whittling tools to start. Carving, however, is a much more general term and is open to a wider assortment of instruments – gouges, chisels, hammer/mallet and so on.
It is quite easy to say that whittling might be a better place to start and grow from there to carving techniques. However, if you look at it from the point of view where people use only a straight-edge carving knife to create something beautiful and detailed – it may be much more impressive to go from carving to whittling. Of course, all of it depends on what you feel comfortable working with and how you want to improve your skills.
When you take up a hobby such as whittling or wood carving, you might not know what to pay attention to. It’s important to know that all of the parts of it – good wood, sharp tools, the idea to create – are equally needed to achieve the needed result and enjoy the process.
Good wood for carving and whittling
Softwood is usually the priority choice for a lot of carvers. It is easy to use and work with, first of all. You won’t have to work as hard as with the hardwood which is less likely to be fitting for beginners. Mostly hardwood is used for some experiments and a little exploring.
Basswood is the first thing that comes to mind when you are looking for wood as a beginner in wood carving. It is quite easy to find, not expensive and good for a lot of carving techniques to be tried out and experimented with.
It’s very important to remember about the quality of your tools and the sharpness of their blades. Never work with dull whittling tools – that’s quite risky, takes more effort than it has to and overall isn’t worth it.
Pay attention to the metal your tools are made of: pick the high-carbon steel ones. Those are the most reliable and strong. They are the easiest to sharpen too. And you should always keep your whittling tools sharp – hone them after purchasing and before every use, even if just a little to make sure they can do their job. That will guarantee your tools a long life.
The idea to create
You might have gotten interested in carving after seeing some pictures of wooden attributes on the Internet or at a friend’s house. You might have picked up your interest from someone’s advice or simply realised that’s the thing you haven’t tried before. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is to picture the idea that you want to materialise in your work and not let it go.
You can get a lot of inspiration anywhere around you. It is a good thing to feel excited about things. Enjoy sharing with the carvers’ community and get new ideas there, purchase some beginner sets with prepared patterns and tutorials.
Carving or whittling, no matter what you decide to do, is a very exciting hobby to take up. It’s colourful, creative and exciting. And you leave something after yourself which isn’t an unimportant fact to remember. Try it out – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.