Types of Wood Carving

Wood carving has been used for centuries as a means of creating sculptures from a plain block of wood. Manual or power cutting tools chip away pieces of wood until only the desired image remains. These can take the form of a raised image, figurine, or even a simple shape carved with just a pocketknife.

Chip Carving

Chip carving uses knives to chip away pieces of wood from the block. The best types of wood for chip carving are mahogany, pine, butternut, or basswood.

Relief Carving

In relief carving, an image is cut into a flat piece of wood so that it appears to be a raised photograph. Relief carving is usually done with chisels and gouges that are driven into the wood panel with a mallet.


Whittling is a type of wood carving that is done with only a simple knife. This is often a single blade pocketknife, but there are also specially designed whittling knives with a thicker grip that makes them easier to control.

Scandinavian Flat Plane

Scandinavian flat plane is a rougher type of carving wood figures. A carving knife is used to create figures in large, flat planes. The figures are not rounded or sanded, allowing the carver's tool marks to show in the finished product.

Love Spoons

Love spoons are intricately designed spoons carved from a single piece of wood to show appreciation for a loved one. While they originally were used in Wales as a gift for one's lover, these carved wooden spoons are now given as birthday or holiday gifts for friends and family.