There are a lot of wood carving sites on the Web. Below are those that I frequent or have found useful, along with some brief comments. This page is a work in progress. New items will be added at the top.
Last update: 2009/12/04
Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine message board – I discovered this board shortly after I began carving. Members of the forum are predominantly from the United States, but there are a members from Canada, Europe, Australia, and a few other countries. I’ve found the members to be quite helpful in answering questions of all types. They’re quick to offer advice and suggestions. There are tutorials for beginners to advanced, and lots of people post pictures of their current work so you can get ideas and see how others carve things. The magazine itself, too, has many very good articles with projects varying in skill from rank beginner to very advanced.
Little Shavers Wood carving Supply – Sells all manner of wood carving tools and supplies. I see this supplier recommended more often than any others by members of the Woodcarving Illustrated message board. I’ve been very happy with their prices and their customer service. Little Shavers also has some free carving patterns that are appropriate for beginners.
Gene Messer’s Flat Plane Carver blog has lots of pictures of Scandinavian flat plane style carving, and a few carving tips. Gene also has a YouTube channel where he’s posted videos of dozens of projects, most targeted at beginners. I’ve done several of his projects, and have learned a lot in the process. Gene’s flat plane caricatures are a pleasure to carve, and people who receive them are delighted.
Lynn Doughty at Out West Woodcarving has been posting pictorial tutorials for a few years. His unique style and techniques result in some quite striking carvings. He specializes in cowboy or Old West caricatures, and he’s quite liberal with showing how he creates them. Lynn has also recently begun making videos so you can get an even better view of how he creates his carvings. Lynn’s projects are more involved than the typical beginner project, but his step-by-step instructions are quite effective. I don’t think I’d recommend these as “first projects,” but with a little bit of experience you should be able to follow along and create something recognizable. For a beginner who wants to stretch a little bit, I would recommend the Cowboy Boots video series.
Tom and Thomp over at Beginners Carving Corner and Beyond post an eclectic mix of projects, mostly smaller carvings that are targeted at beginners and are designed to build one’s confidence quickly. The tutorials are supplied sometimes as a series of photographs, and sometimes as videos. There are lots of neat little projects here.
Arlene at carverswoodshop posts a lot of beginner carving projects on YouTube. I haven’t taken the opportunity to do many of her projects, but the few videos I’ve watched have been very well done. I have no qualms about recommending her videos to any beginner.
Not specifically carving related but quite useful is Andrew Loomis’ book, Fun With a Pencil. If you think you can’t learn to draw, you’re probably wrong. You might not be able to create masterpieces, but you can at least learn to sketch recognizable figures. All you need is a pencil, some paper, this ebook, and a little bit of practice. If you can learn to carve figures out of wood, you can learn how to sketch a simple figure. And the skill does come in quite handy if you see something that you think you’d like to carve. Whip out a sketch pad and with a few simple lines you can get the gist of it down so you can refine it when you get home.