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How to Carve Names into Wood

How to Carve Names into Wood

Everyone has come across a set of initials carved into the side of a tree or the base of a bench at some point in their lives, and probably wondered who they belong to, who put them there, and why. It’s a well-recognised romantic gesture and makes for a great way to personalise a wooden gift for a loved one – particularly if you’d like to give them a heartfelt gift on Valentine’s Day! If you’d like to give hand-carving a go and create a unique keepsake for yourself or someone special, read on to discover the dos and don’ts of hand-carving wood, and what you need to do to get started!

You Will Need

  • Piece of wood
  • Chip carving knife or gouge
  • Clamp or vice
  • Printed text you wish to carve
  • Spray adhesive
  • Fine sandpaper

METHOD: Carving Lovers’ Names into Wood for Valentine’s Day

  1. Ensure you invest in good quality tools, and that you keep them sharp. In order to get to grips with the feel of the tools and how to use them, practise carving simple lines, shapes and basic letters on a piece of scrap lumber, until you become familiar with the correct angle and depth. For carving letters, you should achieve great results with a chip carving knife or a gouge.
  2. When you feel confident, use your computer to select the font of your choice, and print out the word or words you wish to carve. You can then use spray adhesive to attach these to the surface of the piece of wood you want to carve. Close-grained, soft woods are easier to carve, so choose something like basswood or white pine for your early attempts at carving.
  3. Secure the piece of wood that you’re working with using a vice or clamp, so that it cannot shift out of place whilst you’re carving.
  4. Using the printed letter or letters as your guide, begin to carve within its outline, pulling your carving knife towards you. Be careful to keep the angle of your knife consistent (about 65 degrees is ideal) to achieve an even depth. Try not to carve too deep or else it’ll become too difficult.
  5. Once you’ve fully carved out each letter of your text, remove the printed piece of paper and sand down the surface of the wood with fine-grained sandpaper.
How To