Best Wood for Carving

Wood is available in various species, and each specie has its unique characteristics. The texture and quality of each specie also vary, making some varieties of wood an excellent choice for carving. Wood carving is an ancient craft that is both functional and artistic. There are many considerations to make when it comes to choosing the best wood for carving.

A large variety of timber can be used for carving, giving us a wide range of options to choose from. It also depends on what you are carving. For example, if you are cutting kitchenware such as bowls or spoons, you need durable hardwood that will not break easily. It should also not absorb moisture.

High-quality carving without much effort can be done on woods such as basswood. White oak is also great for carving but more challenging to work with as it is denser and more complex.

Factors that Influence Wood Carving

Before embarking upon a carving project, you need to determine what you will carve. This will help you decide which wood option to choose. This will also help you determine what tools to use. Will you use a chisel or mallet to sculpt the wood or a carving knife to draw a detailed design?

There are two primary types of carving timbers available. These are softwood and hardwood. Between these options, hardwood is easier to obtain and more functional. Softwood is the more expensive option and is harder to find. Usually, hardwood is the more preferred category for carving compared to softwood. It had a dense grain that absorbs moisture quickly, thus making it a more accessible option to engrave.

The 5 Best Woods for Carving

Let’s consider some options for the best wood for carving below.


This whitewood is readily available throughout the Americas and Europe, a popular choice for beginners. It has extensively been used for woodworking and has almost no grain, making it an excellent option for carving.

It’s also a popular option for carving musical instruments such as guitars and electric basses. If you are a beginner and want to learn how to carve, basswood is a great wood to start on. Basswood also handles oil stains well and is used to carve decorative spoons and bowls.

Black Walnut

Black Walnut is mainly known for its intricate pattern and rich, dark color. This stunning wood is one of the best wood for carving, especially if you want to create luxury items. It’s great for details, especially if you’re going to display opulence in the project. If carving on black walnut, do remember to use power tools so you don’t strain your hands much.


Butternut is also a great wood option for beginners. This wood is your go-to option if you want to create a sculpture or relive carve. It also strains rather well. You can easily carve pieces of furniture, mantelpieces, and figurines from Butternut. A downside would be that Butternut is rather difficult to find.

American Cherry

American Cherry is an excellent timber for carving. It has a rich pinkish-red texture that makes it appealing to woodcarvers and furniture makers worldwide. This wood is a little hard to carve on, but you get a great final result if you put in some effort.


Aspen is also one of the best wood for carving. It has a naturally glossy appearance, and with oiling, it’s perfect for creating showpieces and furniture. The timber has a light brown texture despite the dark greenish hue of its bark. Aspen is readily available from timber suppliers and is a light yet durable wood.

Buying Wood for Carving

Extra Large Basswood Blocks

These extra-large blocks of basswood measure 6x3x3 inches each. This set of six blocks offers high value and contains more carving wood that is usable. The basswood blocks are professionally kiln dried and sanded to create a smooth and easy wood carving experience. These blocks don’t contain any knots and cracks and are suitable for beginners and advanced woodcarvers.

Thiecoc Basswood Blocks

The Thiecoc Basswood Blocks kit contains 12 100% American Linden Basswood blocks. The 12-set blocks are carved into three different models. These are eight blocks of 1x1x6 and two blocks of 1.4×1.4×6. The basswood is 100% pure with no additional chemical additives. The blocks are smooth and scratch-free. They are cut and dried professionally. They have a soft, even, and delicate texture and are pale in hue. A 100% money-back guarantee can be availed if the purchaser is unsatisfied with the products.

Basswood Carving Blocks

The Kingcraft 12 pack contains 12 pieces of premium quality solid basswood. The pieces are perfectly sized with an easy grip and handle if you have small hands. 6 peices are sized 6x1x1, four pieces are sized 4x1xq, and the remaining two pieces are sized 4x2x2. This kit is great for woodcarvers starting in the art. There is room for larger-sized designs and finer sanding. The basswood pieces and natural and unfinished, thus easy to work on. They are perfect for whittling beginnings and creative carving projects.

Our Final Thoughts

Wood carving is an ancient, complex art that you get better at the more practice you get. Your choice of wood also impacts how quickly you learn the craving craft. Choosing the best wood for carving can be challenging, but with the right wood choice, you will enjoy the task and get great results.

Workability is a major factor when choosing the right type of wood. Good timber needs to have close grain for finer carving. This stops the wood from splitting when it is being worked upon. Different kinds of wood can be used for delicate and intricate designs or for carving larger pieces of furniture.

If you want to create a luxurious item with fine detailing, you will use a different variety of wood. At the end of the day, choosing the right wood to carve out a piece of art will make you feel great about yourself and boost your confidence.

After all, there is nothing as satisfying and rewarding as creating your masterpiece!

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