WOOD CARVING TIPS & TRICKS
LEARN TO SHARPEN.
Even if you plan to power carve, you should at least strop your reciprocating tool gouges, chisels, and V-tools. Even disposable blades, such as X-Acto or Warren blades, cut better if they've been stropped.
KNOW THE LOCATION OF THE SHARP EDGE.
Know the location of the sharp edge (or spinning bit) and where it could go. Not only do you not want any of your (or anyone else's) body parts near them, this knowledge will improve your carving. If you're always aware of the location of the cutting edge of the tool, especially the tip, you'll make more deliberate cuts, and your carving will turn out better.
TAKE AWAY WOOD.
Woodcarving is a take-away medium; it's difficult to take too much off. As you go in deeper, you can change the shape of the piece even more. It looks better and better until you run out of wood.
LEARN PROPORTIONS.
Your face is a right angle. If you center the tip of your nose in the inside corner of a square, the arms of the square will rest on your cheekbones.
MAKE THE LARGEST CHIP CUT FIRST.
When chip carving, in general, carve the largest chips first. Make the first cut on a new chip away from the last one made (on the previous chip).
HOLD A POWER CARVING TOOL PROPERLY.
Hold small projects in your hand when power carving. Normal breathing causes the hands to independently move uncontrollably. Hold the power carver the same as a pencil and extend a finger from one hand to touch the other. Now, when one hand moves, the other moves with it for coordinated control.