10 Reasons Why Wood Carving is a Great Hobby

No one can deny that the last few years have been tense. You’re probably full of nervous tension right now, and if you don’t do something about it you feel as though you’re going to explode! Take a moment and take a couple of nice deep breaths. I think I’ve got something that can help calm you down: wood carving! 

I know you’re curious about it otherwise, you wouldn’t be here asking, “Is wood carving a good hobby for me?” So let’s take a few moments to talk about why wood carving isn’t just a good hobby but an amazing, possibly even a life-change hobby. That’s how I feel about it now, life-changing.

Easy and Cheap to Start

Two of the best things about wood carving are: 1) it almost doesn’t matter how old you are when you get started. 2) it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to get started.

Whether you’re 8 or 80, there are hundreds of different projects to work on that will suit everyone’s abilities, and one of the easiest ways to get started would be a branch and a sharp pocket knife. Yep, that’s how simple it is! 

If you want more of a setup, you can start buying a $15 pocket knife, a $15 sharpening stone, and a set of 4 balsa wood blocks for $18, for a very manageable cost of $48.

Wood Carving Style for Everyone

If you’re not excited about the idea of whittling a stick or small block of wood, that’s okay, because wood carving encompasses so much more than that. Besides whittling, wood carving also includes

  • Carving in the round
  • Chip carving
  • Flat-plane carving
  • Lovespoon carving
  • Power carving
  • Relief carving
  • Treen carving
  • Wood burning

Don’t worry about wood carving becoming easy or boring. As soon as you master one technique, there will always be another technique to learn and master along the way.

Wood Carving is Cathartic

The whole reason why we all look for a hobby is to have something to help us relax, right? All of the nervous energy, the anxiety, and the anger that has all been built up during the workday is carved away piece by piece as you release all of it into the wood as the knife slides or digs in. It’s not like you have to start and finish a project all at once. You can carve as much or as little as you want at any time. You can even bounce between different projects.

Use What You Make

There are plenty of hobbies that allow you to make beautiful things, but think about how much more rewarding is it to craft an object from your own hands with raw, unshaped materials that you can use on a regular basis. Better yet, you aren’t limited to crafting just one thing, there are a number of useful things you can carve. For example:

  • Utensils
  • A fishing lure
  • Bowls
  • Mugs
  • Your own carving knives

Sell What You Make

Besides being able to make useful things for yourself, other people find them useful, and enjoy the beauty of something handcrafted! The data supports this fact with the rise in average annual growth of 2.3% for the last 5 years. 

Right now, the wood carving industry is a $17 billion business which goes to show that people just like you, love the rustic natural, and earthy tools and decor. Not to mention it’s even more gratifying when others enjoy your work.

Carry on a Valued Tradition

The woodworking industry, in general, is one of the oldest in the world, and it’s not a coincidence that it’s stayed strong for centuries, despite various technological advances. 

For some, it can help them feel connected to their family roots. For others, it reminds them of their childhood, fondly remembering when their parent(s) or grandparent(s) taught them how to whittle for the first time. While for others, it helps them feel more grounded and connected to nature. What reason(s) do you have to carry on this beloved cherished tradition?

Spend Quality Time with Family

Speaking of family traditions, if wood carving isn’t a family tradition for your family, it can definitely become one! As previously mentioned, this hobby is great for almost all ages, so if you have a family of your own and you need some fresh ideas on how to spend time together, try carving. Here are a couple of ideas that can be a great place to start:

  • Whistles
  • Fishing spears
  • Figurines
  • Their very own Wand

A great way to start making memories could be to give your son or daughter their first pocket knife. Teaching them the proper way to hold the pocket knife and safety must come before all else. Once they see all the fun that you are having and the things you have made, they too can join you so they can start whittling their own cool projects!

Practice Patience

This might not be your top reason for starting a hobby or even something you thought about, learning to be patient. The beautiful part about learning to be patient is when you’re more patient with yourself, you also become more patient with others. The big things that bothered you before may become small things over time. The little things that bothered you before become less noticeable or may even cease to even exist over time. Wood carving forces you to slow down and think about what you’re doing. Over time you’re bound to become more patient.

Learn Problem-Solving

While wood carving can be relaxing to do, it still has plenty of challenges to keep it from getting boring. For instance, as you learn, you’ll start to get an understanding and appreciation for the different grains of each type of wood, whether they are:

  • Open-grained
  • Close-grained

You’ll find out which one is fine-grained and which is coarse-grained and how the grain affects your carving. Or knowing how different types of wood are softer and which are harder. Eventually, you’ll start to be able to distinguish which woods would work for your project and which are too difficult.

Wood Carving is an Environmentally Friendly Hobby

As a wood carver, your art medium is wood. Not only is this easily more biodegradable than plastic beads, painting canvas, or paint tubes, you can help clear the forest floor of flammable debris. 

So long as your pieces aren’t rotted, they can easily be used for your wood carving projects. This also means that your art medium is readily available for free! I can’t name another hobby that has a canvas almost everywhere you look.


Are you still asking yourself, “Is wood carving a good hobby and is it for me?” Well, if you are, just remember, this list was only the tip of the iceberg. You’ll find a number of reasons on your own why you love wood carving so much, as hundreds of men, women, and children have before you. Give it a try and see the beauty that waits for your imagination.

Brian Carver

A long time carving enthusiast that enjoys carving wood and stone. The main person behind the Carving is Fun website and YouTube channel. Always has way to many carving tools and is willing to try new and exciting carving projects!

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