How to wood carve with scouts for beginners

Wood carving is not a startling fact to scouts. If you visit any of their camps, you will find a good number of scouts toiling hard on wood carves. Also, the scouts with the highest skill are rewarded with merit badges as well.  You may want to make sure you have a good air compressor as well which you can click here to learn more.

So, as a beginner, you need to understand the basics of wood carving. Some useful knowledge about types of wood, carving safety, basic cuts, and many more. Scouts waiting to start their journey in carving wood also need to earn a Totin chip. Totin chip is a kind of certification that grants scouts to carry sharp tools like axes, knives, and a few others.

Wood selection

First things, first! Before you start, you must have a clear idea about the best wood types for carving. As a newbie, you should start your journey with softer wood. Once you are skilled enough, then you may jump to harder woods. So, what are the best softwood to develop your skills? The best options include pine, basswood, Poplar, and butternut. Here is a little more info about them.


Pinewood has a bit coarser grain. Yet, it is soft enough to develop your carving skills. Pine is quite durable and resembles a lot with basswood.


This is another soft variant for beginners to work with. You can find them in most craft stores. Interestingly, this wood fits in all whittling projects.


Poplar is unique for its texture. This wood is soft and comes with medium straight grains. It is just perfect for beginners who want to get skilled in carving.


This is more challenging to carve than others. But, as you will upgrade to harder woods, this could be the intermediate stage for you. On another note, butternut is also known as white walnut.

What is Whittling?

Whittling is the art of carving shapes from raw woods. Whittling projects require tools, tips, resources to give the best possible shape to raw wood. It is typically performed with the pocket knife and thumb guard. Some people also use iron gloves for added safety.

Once you have the wood and the tools for whittling, now it’s time to grain the wood. This means applying some proper measurements and drawings on your wood. Hold the wood safely and run the knife in the best possible motion. Technique counts big in wood carving, and it becomes better with practice. Do not forget to wear a thumb guard of an iron glove. That is because beginners often cut fingers due to a lack of skills.

Sharp your Knife

A sharp knife is the first prerequisite of best wood carving. So, how can I keep my knife sharp? Well, you can use a sharpening stone or electric sharpener for that. An electric sharpener requires long cord and power sources. So, on that note, a sharpening stone can be your best friend.

Basic cuts for wood carving

It is never easy to run knives and bring a shape over a raw piece of wood. As a beginner, you must know a few basic cuts that work well on carving. Indeed, different cuts provide different outcomes in whittling. Let’s dive deep to find more about these cuts.

I. Push cut

In this action, hold the sharp end of the knife away from your body. Then try to make some small cuts through the push of your thumb.

II. Paring cut

This is opposite to push cut. In this action, place the sharp end of the knife facing your body. Then make small cuts with the rotation of the wrists.

III. Trace line

This is nothing but making some detail lining with the tip of your knife. It is a kind of measurement to give your wood a rough shape.

IV. Stop cut

Finally, push your knife into the trace line. This is your stop cut. This is the cut to bring a shape in reality.

Build Project Ideas

The project ideas depend entirely on your skill level. As a beginner, most scouts try wizard, dolphins, or canoe, the best straightforward project to get started with. What is more critical in carving is your patience. People often lose patience in the middle of their journey. So, the output gets dull after hours of hard work.

For any successful project, you need patience and hours for hard work. The first time may not get you the best result. So, don’t lose hope. As a newbie, you can always ask experts or your friends who have better experience. They can help to build your project in successfully.

Count Safety measures

Safety is all-important in scouting experiences. Other than earning a Totin chip, scouts must look forward to adding more protection in line. Let’s find a few more safety measures for beginners.

I. Use a sharp knife

Sharp knife is the first and foremost safety measure in whittling. Sharp blades cut it fast without much effort. So, you have to put less pressure on whittling. Also, a smooth cut provides the wood with a far better shape. As a beginner, it is vital to choose the correct type of knife for carving.

II. Use gloves or medical tapes

It is not unusual to cut fingers while you cut through the woods. So, you should try iron gloves or medical tapes as safety measures. Once you are skilled, you may choose to work without these.

III. Take your time

This has been a significant problem among scouts to rush in their carving. That is often a reason for unwanted injuries. As a beginner, you must take adequate time to gain skills. It is never possible to earn skills overnight. So, patience counts big in woodworking.

IV. Take advice

Almost all beginners are in the dark at the very beginning of their learning. So, it would be better for a newbie to take expert advice. Furthermore, you can take help from your friends who are good at these. Sometimes a good friend works well as a proper guideline.

Wood carving was never rocket science. Some patience and hard work can surely get you to the goal. Get to know what exactly you are doing, and success will knock on your door.