What Exactly is Chip Carving?


wood chip carving
Chip Carving

Chip Carving is representative of the Chipping Away style; it has a history of use in decorating various wood household objects including furniture, and in creating wholly creative pieces. Although the finished chip carved pieces often display an intricacy and beauty one may think is attainable only by a long-lived master carver, chip carving can be surprisingly easy to learn. In the United States it is typically used with pine, basswood, butternut, or mahogany. Chip carving tools are often used for whittling, cabinetry, or general workbench functions.

Definition of Chip Carving

Chip carving is a style of wood carving in which chip carving tools or wood carving tools are used to remove selected ‘chips’ of wood from the project in a single piece.  In theory chip carvings have just two levels, or planes: the wood surface and the point beneath the surface where the cuts meet.

Patterns can be of a free form style or based on simple geometric figures, such as triangles, circles, simple lines and curves. The reasons underlying such ‘rules’ is worthy of greater emphasis than the rules themselves. This is because there are times when ‘rules’ must be broken, and a good understanding of chip carving will help you know when.

If we accept this definition of chip carving we find that almost every society throughout history has experimented with it, which makes the precise origins of chip carving debatable. This simple definition of chip carving allows us to consider that it originated in various societies without the necessity of influence from other groups. There are variations in the tools and designs favored by chip carvers of various cultural backgrounds.  The notion that chip carving has a rich and long history for all of us, enhances the feeling deep in our common cultural identities.

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What is Chip Carving




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