Listed here are tips and links to tips and patterns found throughout the web. Unless stated, the Idaho Woodcarvers Guild only lists them as an added resource.
NUMBER 1 PRIORITY when carving:
1) Safety first! When carving, always
wear protection. It turns out that
advice from your parents also applies
when woodcarving. You should
always wear a carving glove on
the hand holding the carving, as well
as protection for the thumb on the
carving hand. Some carvers also
cover other fingers that may come in
contact with sharp blades or to protect
the forefinger that pushes on the back
of the carving blade.
2) Always carve with sharp tools.
More people get seriously hurt when
using dull tools than with sharp tools.
A dull tool has a nasty tendency to
catch or slip, and can severely cause a
cut. Strop often when carving, on the
average of about every 50 strokes, or
every 30 minutes. But that is only a
general rule. If your tool is not making
a clean cut, STROP!
3) Always know where your knife or
tool tip is. Do not place anything in
the way of the blade that you do not
intend to cut with that tool.
4) Carve often, carve much, and
carve well. Good carvers become
better carvers when they practice.
Master carvers recommend at least
30 minutes a day, or several hours a
week. This helps you practice how to
use your tools, how to follow
directions, and how to correct
your mistakes. And let's face it, all of
us make mistakes. A master carver
once told me that the difference
between a good carver and a
beginner is the good carver knows
how to fix any mistake they make.
5) Buy quality tools, wood and
supplies. No one likes spending
money on inferior quality items. So to
prevent throwing inferior tools in the
bottom of your toolbox, buy the best
you can afford. You will never regret it.