How to Whittle a Chain

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Carving wood (such as pine or balsa)
  • Thin whittling knife and small chisel
  • Sand paper
Woodcarving is a labor of love.

Chain links are some of the most visually appealing creations that a woodcarver can produce. Although carved wooden chains may look complicated, they are rather easy to whittle with the method described below. If you want, you can practice the technique with a bar of soap before you carve the chain out of wood.

Select a piece of wood that is long enough to make as many chain links as desired. Wooden blocks with a square cross-section work well for carved chains.

Proceed by cutting out corner strips from the wooden block; make sure that the cross-section has a symmetric, cross shape. Whittle the ridges so that they are as equal as possible -- this will help make your chain links look more uniform.

Chisel notches into each ridge to start defining the links. The notches should be staggered with respect to the vertical and horizontal ridges. Do not start carving into the center of the center of the wood block yet.

Widen the notches.

Carve away the half-link pieces on the ends of your wooden chain.

Whittle away arc-shaped sections from the links, using a chisel, in order to define the holes of the wooden chain; on the end links, carve away a fuller arc.

Go back to the notches you carved in Steps 3 and 4 and whittle them all the way through. Chip away the bridges that connect the insides of the links, so that they are finally separated.

Round off the edges of the chain and smooth out the insides of the links; alternatively, take a circular section of wood and carve a closed wooden chain, or cut heart-shape links or even double links -- you can also add a pendant to the carved chain.

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