Whittling is a fun hobby that lots of people enjoy. Whittling is the use of a knife to carve figures and shapes out of wood. There are many woods that can be whittled and some are easier to use than others. Using a knife can be dangerous, so it’s important to know the basics of whittling before you get started. This guide will help you learn about whittling so you can make creations of you own.
Have a Sharp Knife
Having a sharp knife can make all the difference when you’re trying to whittle. Have you ever tried to ice skate using dull skates? It doesn’t work out so well. The blade won’t cut accurately or precisely. The figure you’re trying to carve won’t turn out the way you want it to if you have a dull knife. Despite popular belief, it’s more dangerous to whittle with a dull knife. This is because you have to apply more pressure to cut the wood, which can lead to more slipping. Pocketknives work the best for whittling. You can buy several different kinds of sharpeners for a pocketknife if it’s dull. There are also specialty carving knives once you get better at the basics of whittling.
Get a Good Wood
There are several woods that are great for whittling. Balsa, pine and basswood are all soft woods that are easy to carve. Some pine doesn’t hold detail very well, so once you start making more detail you might want to switch woods. Balsa is a great wood for beginners because it’s soft, and it’s really cheap to buy. You can buy a lot of balsa wood at craft stores like Hobby Lobby for a great price. You aren’t just bound by woods you can buy. There is wood all around you. Find a nice pine branch and start carving that. Find wood that doesn’t have a lot of knots to make the whittling easier.
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Since you’re using a knife, you can cut yourself when you’re trying to whittle. To prevent injury, take it slow. Especially when you’re learning, there’s no need to rush. Make each stroke of your knife deliberate and careful. Remember that you’re a beginner so your first carving doesn’t need to look perfect. Start off with an easy shape, instead of an advanced one.
Learn the Different Strokes
You’ve probably heard that you should always push the knife away from you when you whittle. This is a great piece of advice for beginners. Get used to the way the knife feels in your hand by practicing pushing the knife away from you on the wood. When you get more control of the knife you can do different strokes. The pear stroke has the knife coming toward you, like you’re cutting off a piece of a pear. Make sure you’re confident you won’t cut yourself before you start using this stroke.
Use gloves when you first start whittling. It’s hard to whittle with gloves on but it’ll keep you safe while you get the basics of whittling down. You can also make a thumb pad in case the knife slips onto your thumb. Use duct tape and tape several layers to your thumb. This should protect your thumb from any nicks.
Whittling is a fun hobby that allows you to be creative and exercise patience. Learning the basics of whittling will help you to make beautiful carvings with attention to detail, and to be as safe as you can.
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