How to Make Art Wood Carving Pictures


Woodcarving pictures are a labor of love. The cost of materials and availability of desirable wood in wide enough pieces is prohibitive unless you have access to a woodlot. It is possible to cut costs while making a top quality woodcarving picture, however.

Step 1

Decide what size picture you wish to make. Purchase enough 1-by-6-inch boards in your desired wood to butcher block them together into your canvas. Prepare the boards for joining by sanding and planing them if needed. Make sure all edges are smooth and clean of dirt and debris. Make sure the grain runs in the direction you desire and all the joints will come together evenly.

Step 2

Apply your adhesives to the edges of the boards before clamping them together in your table vise. Wipe away any excess and allow to dry overnight. Sand boards again when all have been joined to the size you need.

Step 3

Draw your intended design on your joined wood using a sharp-tipped pencil.

Step 4

Laminate smaller pieces of contrasting wood in place where your frame and any contrasting details will be used. For example, if there is to be a walnut mountain on an oak background, cut the profile on a scroll or band saw. Laminate it to the picture using carpenter's glue and wipe away the excess. Use weights to press the pieces together until dry.

Step 5

Begin carving the rough outline of your picture with a supply of various carbide burring bits and a high-speed, hand-held rotary tool. Remove only a little material at a time, stopping frequently to check your work. It is better to remove too little than too much, as you can always remove more.

Step 6

Use fine sanding drums and flappers on your rotary tool to smooth away any rough spots. Finish and seal with oil, lacquer or wax.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear wrap-around eye protection while using any hand or power carving or woodworking tools.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-inch-by-6-inch boards
  • Carpenter's glue or other adhesive
  • Table vise
  • Belt sander with coarse through extra fine belts
  • Jointer/planer
  • Sharp-tipped carpenter's pencil
  • Large, flat weights
  • Contrasting wood pieces
  • High-speed hand-held rotary tool
  • Burring bits
  • Sanding drums and flappers
  • Oil, lacquer or wax finish


  • Monte Burch: Wood Joining Made Simple
  • Joe Cummings: "Bighorns Close"
  • Ferhat Gul: Woodworking: The Process of Making Something Using Wood

Who Can Help

  • "Carving by Design" Woodcarving Pictures
  • Table Vise Example
Keywords: make art wood carving pictures, woodcarving, woodworking

About this Author

Jane Smith provided educational supports for 11 years, served people with multiple challenges for 26 years, rescued animals for five years, designed and repaired household items for 31 years and is currently an apprentice metalworker. Her e-book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in March 2008. She received her Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.

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