If you are new to woodworking, one of the best ways to get your feet wet in this craft is by taking up whittling as a hobby.
Just one tool, (and a bit of spare time), is all you need to begin making crafts such as owls, cats, and dogs.
But before you dive into these 9 whittling projects, there are a few things you need to know before you get started. So keep reading to find out more…
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What’s The Difference Between Whittling And Carving?
There are many schools of thought regarding this question, but in my opinion, the main difference comes down to the tools used to shape the wood.
Carving uses tools such as chisels, mallets, and lathes in order to reshape wood. Whittling, on the other hand, only requires the use of a single simple cutting tool.
Is Whittling Easy?
Out of all of the different wood carving styles, whittling is by far one of the easiest to start.
It is low-cost and requires very little workspace. So anyone can take up this hobby and begin in as little as an afternoon. And with just a bit of time, you can have your first whittling craft made within a weekend.
Is Whittling A Good Hobby For Beginners?
Whittling is one of the best hobbies for people looking for a creative outlet. You can make everything from small gift items to garden ornaments.
And you can even turn this hobby into a profitable side-gig by selling your crafts online via places such as Etsy and Amazon Handmade.
What Wood Should I Whittle With (As A Beginner)?
As a general rule of thumb, softwoods are great for whittling. This is because softwoods tend to have lower density than hardwood lumber.
Still, it is worth noting that not all hardwoods should be avoided when it comes to whittling. For example, Balsa wood is a surprisingly light low-density hardwood.
However, if you wanted to pick a hardwood type for whittling, then Basswood would win hands down.
It’s lightweight, affordable, and soft enough to cut into with almost any carving tool.
Which Whittling Tool Is The Best?
The main characteristic of any great whittling tool boils down to making sure that it has a straight sharp cutting edge.
There are some great brands in this market, such as Opinel and Flexcut.
However, if you decide to go out and buy a Morakniv, you’ll get a tool that is as affordable as it is sharp.
A quality Morakniv tool has 2.4 inches of hardened laminated steel edge that allow it to make precise cuts.
How Can I Safely Whittle?
The best safety tip you can learn as a whittling beginner is to ‘go slow’. Slow and steady wins the race here (and saves your fingertips too!).
The second best safety tip, however, is to go and buy some whittling gloves.
Whittling gloves provide cut-resistant protection and will shield your hands from slips and sharp edges.
So get and grab yourself a pair of NoCry Cut-Resistant gloves like the ones pictured below;
Both gloves in a NoCry pair are ambidextrous. And you’ll only need one glove when whittling — to protect the hand actually holding the piece of wood. So, if you lose one of the gloves, you can easily replace it with the other.
What Can I Whittle From A Stick? Learning The Basic Cuts
There are four basic whittling cuts that you will need to learn if you want to make beautiful wood crafts. These four techniques are the foundation for making most whittling projects;
A Sweeping Cut is when you carefully whittle pieces of the wood off the edge of a wood block in a slow controlled sweeping motion.
This technique is used to whittle the overall structure of a wooden craft, reducing the block of wood down to shape.
A Stop Cut is when you cut straight down into the wood and then you make a second cut – cutting into the wood at an angle – right up to the point that it meets the first cut.
This technique is used to carve the more general features of a whittling craft.
A Vee Cut is when you whittle into the wood at a 45 degree angle. You then make the same cut, but from the opposite direction. And where the two cuts meet, causes them to form a V shape.
This technique is used to typically carve mouths and eyes into a whittled item.
A Pyramid Cut is when you cut triangular shapes straight down into the wood. This requires a delicate touch (you don’t want to take big chunks out of the wood with this cutting style).
This technique is used to whittle the more intricate and defining features of a craft.
For a really helpful visual guide to all four cuts, check out SharonMyART’s video below to get a quick primer on all four basic techniques;
9 Whittling Crafts Projects For Complete Beginners
So, now that you are ready and set, its time to Go! Here are those 9 projects you can start today:
1. Carving A Bear
By Doug Linker
If you can get your hands on a solid block of Basswood, then this little bear project is right up your alley.
2. Wood Spirit
By Dave’s Outdoorsy Stuff
The mythology of wood spirits is the inspiration behind the design of these popular tree branch crafts.
3. Simple Mushroom
By Nima Kian
You can use Basswood for whittling one of these funky forest fungi.
4. Wooden Spoon
By Treeline USA
This is a whittling favorite, and is usually one of the first crafts you’ll want to make once you get started in on this hobby.
Not only is it one of the quickest whittling pieces you can make, it has a practical use too. Simply use a food-grade oil such as mineral oil, to seal it. And you’ll now have a handy kitchen utensil on your hands.
5. Wood Beaver
By Beaver Craft
This fun looking beaver is just the ticket if you want to really start practicing all four whittling cuts to their full and precise effect.
6. Whittle A Cute Dog
By Brian At Carving Is Fun
You can make these adorable basswood buddies in as little as 20 minutes.
7. An Eagle Head
By Home Wood Spirit
This clever concept for a bottle lid is going to really challenge and raise your whittling game to a whole new level.
8. Whittle A Cat
By Carving Is Fun
If you want to make the perfect wood art present for cat lovers, then these tiny cat crafts could make for an ideal gift.
9. Whittling Squirrel
By Home Wood Spirit
This simple woodland creature is a great project choice for more nimble-fingered whittlers.