The Best Wood Carving Books

The Best Wood Carving Books: A Review of 6 Products

Every expert today started as a beginner once upon a time. You may have just developed a real love for wood carving, maybe even as a hobby, and want to achieve those smooth finishes you have always admired.

The truth is that Rome was not built in a day. You have to start somewhere. To set you on course for this amazing choice of hobby, there are detailed but easy-to-understand wood carving books out there. All of these books were written by well-known woodworkers that have spent almost all their lives wood carving, not as a hobby, but as a vocation.

You will be thrilled to know that these books contain step-by-step procedures with diagrams that illustrate what to do and how you can sharpen your skills. Eventually, you will understand that wood carving is an incredible craft to learn.

Our Top Picks for the Best Wood Carving Books

Are you already thinking of buying one of these books? We understand that there are many of them available, with some that are not as detailed as others. To help you choose the best, we have come up with a list of recommended wood carving books that will help you improve your newfound hobby.

1. Relief Carving Projects & Techniques

This wood carving book features 37 tried and tested projects and patterns that you can follow when approaching various woodworking jobs. You will find detailed, step-by-step instructions with diagrams you can refer to when you feel things are getting clumsy.

The models in this carving book are easy to understand, including comments and opinions by the experts, and the instructions are crystal clear.

The opening chapters of the book delve into the measuring techniques you can follow when working on various wooden models. The other chapters explain in clear, simple terms how to make home decor and other designs.

All this and more is packed into the 144 pages, making this book a great choice for beginners.

Specifications

  • Product dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Item weight: 1.23 pounds
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Customer reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Pros

Pros
  • Contains step-by-step instructions
  • Well-illustrated diagrams to consult
  • Contains experts’ opinions

Cons

Cons
  • May not contain all modern patterns

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2. Chip Carving: Expert Techniques and 50 All-Time Favorite Projects

If you want a carving book that will take this art from its origins to what we have today, look no further. With notable contributions from well-known artisans like Tom Douglas and Roger Nancoz, you will find great patterns, techniques, and insightful tips, all as well as some of their most famous designs.

Beautiful illustrations are there to open your imagination and belief in what you can create if you follow the instructions in the book. You will also find the best chip carving projects that are meant for both beginners and professionals alike.

With this book, you get an exclusive front row seat to various methods and innovative approaches that you can mimic, from measurement standards to different finishes to enhance your projects.

Specifications

  • Product dimensions: 8.5 x 0.32 x 11.06 inches
  • Item weight: 1.19 pounds
  • Paperback: 127 pages
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Customer reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Pros

Pros
  • Colorful diagrams are there to drive home vital points
  • Experts’ opinions to help you through your beginners’ course

Cons

Cons
  • Available only in the English language

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3. Handcarved Christmas: 36 Beloved Ornaments, Decorations, and Gifts

This carving book presents 36 Christmas-themed carving projects. Each of the 36 projects contains step-by-step instructions with full-colored diagrams and patterns to help you follow along.

You will also find workable techniques like how to add texture, how to weigh your carvings, and so on. When these techniques are implemented, you will find that you can handle any project, from measuring to the actual carving, down to the luxurious finishing touches.

The book follows a normal gradual increase from simple to complex techniques, and it’s wise to learn the basics first before moving on to more complex designs. You will need to remember this if you are just starting out with the hobby.

This book is also a good gift idea for family and friends who love to experiment with wood carving and love the holiday season.

Specifications

  • Product dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 10.9 inches
  • Item weight: 1.34 pounds
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Customer reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Pros

Pros
  • Easy to understand instructions
  • Basic skills are discussed before complex designs
  • Good choice for beginners
  • Beautiful Christmas-themed designs

Cons

Cons
  • Available only in the English language

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4. Carving Faces Workbook & 4-Piece Wood Carving Tool Set

This is a two-in-one package containing a wood carving book and a 4 wood carving tools. The wood carving book contains detailed instructions from professional woodcarvers like Harold Enlow. He shares tips and techniques that have made him a standout name in the trade all over America.

Going through the book will help you become skilled in different projects. Along with the set of professional techniques are colored diagrams clearly depicting all the written instructions.

The second part of this package is the wood carving tools. Each of the blades is made from heat-treated steel that is durable and reliable for making good cuts. The wooden handles, made from high-quality wood, are all ergonomically-designed and feel comfortable to hold.

If you want good value for your money, and you want to learn more about wood carving at the same time, you can trust this recommendation.

Specifications

  • Product dimensions: 8.82 x 4.8 x 1.69 inches
  • Item weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Manufacturer: Ramelson
  • Customer reviews: 4.0 out of 5 stars

Pros

Pros
  • Set of tools included with the book
  • Great diagrams for easy comprehension
  • Tools blades are sharpened for making easy cuts

Cons

Cons
  • Fewer patterns are explained in the book

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5. Easy Woodcarving: Simple Techniques for Carving and Painting Wood

If you want to learn everything there is to know about wood carving without any pressure, this book is what you need. The introductory section gives you a warm welcome on how to get started with this craft. It highlights the types of tools you need, how to ensure maximum safety in the workplace, how to make and wear an apron, and an explanation on how to make a tool roll.

The next section goes over various techniques on making cuts, painting, and finishing your wooden projects. In this section, you will find several detailed instructions with diagrams to help you understand the explanations presented.

You are also given around 10 exercises to practice your skills with, as well as 6 different projects to test your understanding about what you’re learning.

The book also goes over what you need to do when maintaining each of the tools you use. The clear instructions and diagrams make this book another great choice for a beginning woodcarver.

Specifications

  • Product dimensions: 8.52 x 0.41 x 11 inches
  • Item weight: 12 ounces
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing
  • Customer reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Pros

Pros
  • 6 projects to complete
  • 10 exercises to practice
  • High-quality photos of patterns

Cons

Cons
  • Experts may not find this book as detailed

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6. The Beginner’s Handbook of Woodcarving

This book provides detailed, yet easy to understand instructions on wood carving. With more than 200 photos and line drawings featured, as well as over 60 patterns and practical ideas included, this is a great choice for woodcarvers of various skill sets.

The book offers you a feel for various carving techniques, as well as going into the background of each of the models common among woodcarvers today.

It is the only book on this list that extensively explains chiseling, and also highlights how to use several other tools and how to properly maintain them. Overall, this book is a contender for one of the best wood carving books out there.

Specifications

  • Product dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11.25 inches
  • Item weight: 1.17 pounds
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Language: English
  • Publishers: Dover Publications
  • Customer reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Pros

Pros
  • Contains lots of illustrations
  • The instructions match the provided diagrams perfectly
  • Over 60 patterns to choose from
  • Various techniques covered

Cons

Cons
  • Beginners may find some of the instructions difficult to follow

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Wood Carving Tips

While wood carving is an intricate activity, it shouldn’t feel tedious – we want you to enjoy every minute of it! In order to make the craft more satisfying and less frustrating, we have a list of carving tips that can make your projects more fruitful and productive.

It is especially important to follow these tips if you are a beginner.

Learn to handle a knife properly

You might think everyone can handle a knife. While that might be true in general, it is a completely different thing to handle a knife for carving wood. You want the finished project to be smooth, detailed, and stylish, not full of nicks. Since you’ll probably be working on your projects for a while, the way you handle a knife can either add to your comfort or your strain.

Choose a knife with a handle that will limit the level of fatigue your hands will feel. The best knives are usually the ones that are ergonomically-designed and comfortable to hold.

Never forget your gloves

Many beginners make the mistake of not wearing gloves while carving. Others claim that not wearing gloves offers more control over the knife, but it’s wise to think of work hazards. Wood carving is an activity that requires you to work with and work around sharp objects.

Just one simple miscalculation and you could end up cutting yourself. It’s imperative to always wear gloves to reduce any risk of injury during your projects. Especially if you’re just starting out with wood carving, do not forget to put on a pair before picking up your knife.

Importance of sketching

While many might think that this is a time-wasting step, remember that you are a beginner and that wood carving is an art. Pick up a pen and some plain paper, and sketch what you would like your finished project to be like. Once you’re done sketching, start carving your material and try to stay as close as you can to the rough sketch you have on your paper.

This way, you can achieve the same precision professionals always target. If you find that you’re not much of a sketcher, don’t worry. You can always look up a pattern in one of your wood carving books!

Follow the grain

The easiest way to carve wood is to carve following the wood grain. This is especially so when working with hardwood like oak and mahogany. When carving softwood, you should more easily be able to carve in a direction that may not follow the wood grain, but it’s a good rule of thumb nonetheless.

Conclusion

Are you already feeling like a pro? Well, that’s to be expected after going through this guide and reading all about the best wood carving books out there! Any one of them would make an excellent addition to your library.

Before you master your new hobby, understand that you will make some mistakes. But the more mistakes you make, the better you will get. Practice makes perfect!

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