Every wood carver has thought about carving an animal out of wood. Carving an animal out of wood is fun and challenging and serves as great practice whether you are a beginner, intermediate or experienced carver. It also requires patience, skill and practice, we can guarantee that you will enjoy the whole process and most importantly love the end result.
In this article, you’ll learn the basic theory behind carving any animal, and we’ll review 9 of our favorite animal carving projects and give you everything you need to know about each one. Without further ado, let’s dive into everything you need to know about carving wooden animals.
How to carve any animal out of wood
Print out the image of the animal you want to carve and attach it to a block of wood
Trace all the necessary parts of the animal with graphite and transfer them to the wood. Be sure to print out as many views of the animal.
Remove excess wood and shape the animal into a blank.
Use carving knives, U and V gouges to make the animal look natural.
Using a detailing knife, add the finishing touches and round out the body. If possible, add hair, eyes, tail and whiskers to make the animal look very real.
Basic requirements for carving an animal from wood
Once you know what is required before you start carving, your carving will be easy. You don’t have to worry about making terrible mistakes that can lead to wasting the log.
Requirement One – Determine the level of difficulty, the size of the animal and the cost
Determine the difficulty level of the animal you want to carve. As we’ve said before, some animals are relatively easy to cut out of wood, while others prove more difficult.
After determining the level of difficulty, the size of the carving, and the size of the final product, determine some of the tools you will need to complete the work. The final product size also plays a crucial role in the size of lumber you need.
Also, the size and difficulty will most likely affect the cost of the materials you’re going to buy. It is commonly said that the larger the carving, the more expensive it will be, and difficulty also plays a role in price.
Requirement Two – Identify the appropriate type of wood for your carving
This is a big question to ask yourself when trying to carve animals out of wood. Beginners are advised to choose soft and easy to carve wood. Woods we would recommend include butternut, basswood, and black walnut. We have a complete list of the softest woods that every beginner should try for their animal carving project.
With the exception of Black Walnut, beginning carvers will love how easy it is to use the other two.
Black walnut is only recommended for professionals as it is a fairly hard hardwood (many hardwoods are on the soft side). It has its advantages, some of which include the fact that it requires minimal post-processing. With the right tools, the results are great.
Requirement Three – Required tools
The carving knife is an indispensable tool for carving and carving animals in the round. Some of the two tools you will need are
A band saw
A carving tool
If you are planning to buy tools, you can support us by buying them on Amazon through our partner’s link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but contributes significantly to the growth of woodcarving.
The tools you would use are not limited to those listed above and you can also use power tools. However, we will not focus on power carving animals with power tools.
After choosing the necessary tools, decide on the size of the carving. The size of the animal being carved determines the size of the carving blocks you receive from Amazon. If you’re more of an outdoor person, you can cut the raw log to your desired size yourself.
Don’t forget that you need to factor in an additional 20% carved from the wood to more accurately estimate the size of your carving.
Requirement 4: Brush up on your wood carving skills
It’s important to brush up on your wood carving skills, especially if you don’t use a carving knife for carving on a regular basis. Carving animals are great for all 7 cuts of the hol
zcarving as they are very realistic and may require a lot of detail to perfection.
Another important step before you start carving animals out of wood is constant practice. Practice using the right tools and the specific wood you will be using for this project. This will make you more efficient when using these tools. You can also imagine the nature of the wood.