Hobbies are essential to have in your life. Why? Well, they keep you sane and are a way of removing yourself from stressor such as school, work, family troubles, literally anything, etc. For grad students, and this also pertains to everyone else too, having a hobby is an easy way to remove yourself from your work. I know first hand how work can suck you in and keep you in a weird area where you are tired but “should do more work”. There will always be work, take some time off to enjoy your life.
I have quite a few hobbies that I actively do. These include fishing, blogging, scootering (woohoo), and wood carving. I have written about how wood carving has helped me with my mental state (link here). In fact, I was using it as a coping mechanism during quarantine. It was an excellent way to reduce anxiety.
A few individuals have reached out to me because they wanted to start wood carving. I wanted to share with you some things that I used at the very beginning to help me get started.
I wrote about this is the last blog but go search Doug Linker (link to his YouTube). He creates amazing content that was super helpful when I first started out. I highly suggest following his page and learning basic carvings. Carverswoodshop is also an amazing channel that goes over basic techniques that you can learn. She makes awesome Christmas carvings. Here is a link to her page.
Here are some videos from both channels that give you an idea of the type of content they provide .
I’ll share links to the tools that I used and still use to this day. These tools are extremely simple, just make sure to keep them sharp. The last thing you want are dull knives.
So above is the 9 piece wood carving tool set. This is a beginners set and you can learn how to carve a spoon with this one. It comes with gloves which are essential. Let me emphasize the “getting gloves!!!!!!” part. These tools are extremely sharp and you can and will cut yourself if not careful. I suggest this tool set for beginners because making spoons is a great way of starting to carve. Here is a link to this product on Amazon (link).
This is the BeaverCraft Whittling set. This was what I first bought and I still use these knives to this day. All of the carvings, minus the chainsaw carving, were made with this set of knives. If you don’t want to make spoons and want to carve other things, I suggest this set. Make sure to get gloves as well. Here is a link to these knives as well as a link to gloves (link) and gloves (link).
Now if you are getting a bit more into carving and want to start adding texture to your carvings, I highly suggest this chisel set sold by Waycom. It literally has everything that you need. I have this exact set, and it makes a huge difference. Also, there are many carves that I can’t really do well with knives, so I resort to chisels. Here’s a link to this product (link).
If you are starting out, basswood is the way to go. First, it is super soft and easy to cut. Second, it will not dull your knives as quickly, which is a plus. Lastly, it’s fairly cheap. Wood prices are skyrocketing, but basswood is still fairly cheap. Stay away from hardwoods or you’ll be breaking or sharpening your knives every 3 cuts.
Bass wood gives a nice waxy look after cutting too, which makes your carvings look way better. I suggest basswood to start with so you can practice all the different cuts and master those before just grabbing a random stick and carving. Here is a link to some basswood on Amazon. (link).
The overall goal of wood carving is to express your artistic side and have fun. This is an easy hobby to take up and really cheap too. Many hobbies require a ton of money to do but this just requires a little start up funds and then some wood. Of course, when you get ambitious and start carving with a chainsaw, then it can get expensive lol.
Let me know in the comments if you are interested in carving or if you are interested in more information. I would love to help you start a cool and mindful hobby that has a ton of benefits.