Choosing the best type of wood for carving isn’t an easy process. There’s just so many to choose from!
Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just choose any type of wood and expect a similar type of results. But since you’re here, I’m sure you’re already aware of that and want to start off right by choosing the right type of wood.
And you’re in the right spot. In this segment, we’ll be going over all there is to know about what type of wood you should get for carving and why!
What’s the Best Type of Wood for carving?
Basswood is the best type of wood when it comes to carving, without a doubt. This is because of a handful of features that come together to make a block that is both soft and stern.
Not only does basswood allow complete control over the cuts, but it’s also soft enough to be shaped and cut in a manner you want with absolute control. This makes it a pretty suitable starting point, especially if you’re a beginner!
Comparison Table of Best Wood for Carving
|JulArt Basswood Blocks|
|6 x 2 x 2||Basswood||Check Price|
|Starling Edge Blocks|
5 x 2 x 2
|Walnut Hollow Block|
4 x 3.5 x 10
3 x 3 x 8
|Sumind Carving Blocks|
2 x 2 x 4
|5ARTH store Blocks||6x 2x 2||Basswood||Check Price|
|Planet1 Carving Wood||6x2x2||Basswood||Check Price|
|BeaverCraft BW10 Blocks|
8.5 x 6.3 x 2.1
|Kingcraft Store blocks|
|IOKUKI Carving Blocks|
2 x 2 x 4
|J.K. Adams Carving Board||20 x 14 x 1.25|
Our 11 Picks of best wood for carving
I have now briefly reviewed all the models that I have mentioned in the comparison table above. To help make your decision easier, I’ve also mentioned a few pros, cons, followed by a bottom-line to give you my final verdict on the model.
Without further ado, here are the top 11 picks of the best wood for carving in 2020!
1. 8 Pack Large JulArt Basswood Blocks
Let’s get things started!
My first choice for the best carving wood of 2020 is the 8 Pack Large JulArt Basswood Blocks.
Coming in a pack of 8, this basswood based model is arguably one of the easiest wood to carve, which is why it’s rightly at the top.
I think what’s really noteworthy with this model is that it fits easily into the palm. Plus, since it’s in a pack of 8, I can really model this block into whatever I like, and so can you.
Keeping that in mind, I think the8 Pack Large JulArt Basswood Blocks is a pretty neat starting point if you’re new to the world of wood carving. It cuts pretty easily and responds well to light pressure, which is why carving and whittling almost come naturally to this model.
Moving on to the structural integrity, you’ll find the 8 Pack Large JulArt Basswood Blocks to have tight and straight grains that are free of knots.
I think this is super important because it ensures that there aren’t any inconsistent cuts, and you’ll be able to get carving and detailing work done quite easily and conveniently.
As far as downsides or any minor inconveniences are concerned, I don’t think there is anything notable that you should really watch out for.
Sure, if you’re already an expert or want to upgrade your skills, then this perhaps might not be the best place to resume your skill. But other than that, this model works great for beginners, and if you’re the latter, go for it!
- Provide consistent cutting work
- Fit perfectly in the palm when cut
- Easy to handle and get the hang of
- Has a lightweight frame
- Not for heavy-duty work
The 8 Pack Large JulArt Basswood Blocks is the best wood for beginner wood carving, and I would recommend it highly if you’re getting started!
2. Basswood Blocks for Carving by Starling Edge
Next up, we have the Basswood Blocks for Carving by Starling Edge.
The Basswood Blocks for Carving by Starling Edge comes in a pack of 8 large blocks that you can get creative with. Here’s what you should look forward to!
What really stands out is that the Starling edge almost had no grains or any dark spots. This singlehandedly makes sure that you’re heading the right way, and I’m sure that’s what you want as well.
So as far as application was concerned, the Basswood Blocks for Carving by Starling Edge are arguably one of the good wood for carving out there.
Another good thing about that is I noticed that this model is kiln-dried basswood. What this gives is minimal moisture that makes cutting easy, helpful, and intuitive. So overall, it’s a win-win if you’re going down this road.
All that said, the Basswood Blocks for Carving by Starling Edge never really moved, cracked, or wrapped in any way when you work with.
So all things considered, this makes this model a pretty good choice if you want something reliable.
The only downside is that the Basswood Blocks for Carving by Starling Edge doesn’t really come in a variety of sizes, so you might need to break the bigger pieces down if you want to do some creative work.
- Has a very durable frame
- Finely tuned for whittling work
- Easy to work and deal with
- Has minimal grains
- Doesn’t have any dimension variety
If you want consistently sized wood, then the Basswood Blocks for Carving by Starling Edge is an excellent choice to go with. If not, keep reading!
3. Walnut Hollow Basswood Carving Block
If you’re almost done with your project and need to add the final touches, you’ll need just one or two blocks of basswood for the job. And for that, the Walnut Hollow Basswood Carving Block will suffice.
Coming as a lone piece, the Walnut Hollow Basswood Carving Block is a pretty reliable choice if you want lightweight wood.
What I really like about this model is that along with being easy on the weight, it’s also very low-maintenance when it comes to setting it up against other pieces of wood.
Furthermore, the Walnut Hollow Basswood Carving Block allows for good gluing and responds quite well to adhesives, so if you want a piece of wood that you can use as a supplementary tool, I think this model will suffice pretty well.
On top of that, the Walnut Hollow Basswood Carving Block is also a very good choice for solo projects and is one of the softest wood for carving. That’s another stream you can flow on and make the most use out of.
There aren’t really any downsides to this model, but I’d like to add that the display picture that the Walnut Hollow Basswood Carving Block is branded with can be quite misleading.
The packaging makes it seems like there are two pieces. In truth, there’s only one singular piece, so keep that in mind before making the final call!
- Allows for easy carving and detail work
- Has a very lightweight frame
- Perfect dimensions for small structures
- Responds very well to glue and adhesives
- The picture is a little misleading – only one piece included
I recommend the Walnut Hollow Basswood Carving Block to users who want a basic piece for sculpting related work!
Read Also: Top 10 Wood for Salad Bowls Review
4. Basswood Carving Blocks by Barrington Hardwoods
The Basswood Carving Blocks by Barrington Hardwoods is an excellent choice if you need something that’s reliably thick and well-suited for carving or sculpting work.
For some hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts, this model is the best wood for sculpting. This is because of its frame and dimensions and it’s over susceptibility to carving tools.
The best thing about the Basswood Carving Blocks by Barrington Hardwoods is that it is perfectly kiln-dried.
This preparatory process makes sure that you’ll have a piece of wood with minimal grains that will make cutting a breeze. Gone are the days when you have to worry about these things, especially if you’re working on a time-limit.
Hence, as far as performance goes, I think the Basswood Carving Blocks by Barrington Hardwoods has all bases covered, so you really don’t have anything to worry about.
There are no downsides or anything whatsoever to this model. I think the Basswood Carving Blocks by Barrington Hardwoods holds up well under its own weight and is an excellent choice if you need something for carving or sculpting work.
- Dried well before shipping
- Very easy to carve through
- Makes whittling easy for beginners
I recommend the Basswood Carving Blocks by Barrington Hardwoods to all types of users out there who want something reliable and worth it, which is well-suited for the long run!
5. Sumind 12 Pieces Unfinished Balsa Wood Mini Carving Blocks
My next pick for you is the Sumind 12 Pieces Unfinished Balsa Wood Mini Carving Blocks. A personal favorite, here’s what I like about it!
The defining thing about this model is that it comes with 12 pieces, and they’re in different sizes as well. This makes it easier to virtually tackle any type of assignment or job I have in mind.
On top of that, the wood quality makes it very susceptible to easy cutting and handling. This is why I think it’s a must-have, especially if you’re looking to do precision or assembly based work. Plus, it’s easy to carve, so it’s practically getting two birds with one stone.
This makes the Sumind 12 Pieces Unfinished Balsa Wood Mini Carving Blocks a pretty good choice for a beginner and is also something a professional can benefit from as well.
On top of that, you’ll also notice that this model doesn’t have any visible grains or underlying issues that might reduce the structural integrity of the smaller parts.
For this reason, it’s fair to say that the Sumind is really dedicated to their craft and try to ensure quality products, no matter how small they are. No wonder they’re quite famous among serious users!
All in all, there aren’t really any downsides to the Sumind 12 Pieces Unfinished Balsa Wood Mini Carving Blocks as far as performance or anything of the like is concerned. Hence, I would like to recommend this to all types of users out there who want something that is reliable, user-friendly, and fun to work with!
- Suitable for beginners
- Makes versatile use easy
- Has a very soft touch easy to sculpt
- Very precise and accurate dimensions
The Sumind 12 Pieces Unfinished Balsa Wood Mini Carving Blocks is a very reliable product that I would highly advocate for, and you should definitely give it a shot!
Read Also: Best wood for making carving bowl review
6. Basswood Carving Blocks by 5ARTH store
Like the model mentioned above, the Basswood Carving Blocks by 5ARTH store is also another addition that is adored by DIY enthusiasts and woodworkers!
The best thing about this kit is that it’s suitable from beginner level to expert, and you can definitely get a good bang for your buck out of it.
Because just like the model above, the Basswood Carving Blocks by 5ARTH store also comes in 10 pieces and is grouped into different sizes.
The major benefit that this presents is that it makes it easier to handle complex jobs. It will also save you the time to extract small pieces from the bigger one, which will save you so much time.
As far as quality is concerned, the Basswood Carving Blocks by 5ARTH store is easily unparalleled and provides a soft and fine texture that makes it easy to cut through.
Furthermore, you can also get creative with this kit and use all sorts of accessories and equipment to get the best out of it. This includes painting pieces together, using other creative outlooks, and similar things!
I would personally recommend the Basswood Carving Blocks by 5ARTH store to all types of users out there, based on my review above.
I think anyone and everyone can put this piece to good use. There aren’t any noticeable downsides to it, so you’re getting a good deal out of it.
- Has even grains for easier cutting
- Includes small pieces to help with precise work
- Reduces the need for excessive shaving
- Easy to cut for sculpture based work
- Includes only two big pieces
The Basswood Carving Blocks by 5ARTH store is arguably one of the complete kits there are out there, other than the fact that it only has two big pieces. This is a great starter kit, and I would highly recommend this if you’re just starting out!
Read Also: Top 10 woods for cutting board review
7. Basswood Carving Wood by Planet1
I would now like to introduce the Basswood Carving Wood by Planet1.
Featuring a fine-polished surface of excellent quality, the Basswood Carving Wood by Planet1 is a great model if you’re looking for a kit that comes with fairly the same type of pieces.
They’re a little different dimension wise, but as far as quality is concerned, they’re all on par.
The best thing about this model that I like is that it’s fairly easy to paint, which is why I would recommend this model if you’re looking for decorative work.
However, this model does have one minor downside. I think it’s important to keep this in mind before you make your final decision.
Given the dimensions, you won’t really find this model to be thick enough if you intend to do a lot of sculpting or expand your horizons. For that reason, the Basswood Carving Wood by Planet1 might not give you the versatility you’re after.
Other than that, the Basswood Carving Wood by Planet1 is a pretty good model if the specifications are what you’re about.
- Color sticks to the frame easily
- Don’t require too much effort to carve
- A great choice for consistent practice
- Completely environmentally friendly
- Doesn’t include smaller pieces
If you want a 12 piece kit that is ideal for carving and coloring, then the Basswood Carving Wood by Planet1 should definitely be on your list.
8. BeaverCraft BW10 Basswood Carving Blocks Set
The BeaverCraft BW10 Basswood Carving Blocks Set is reputed for its quality and consistent performance, and there’s good reason to back it up.
With a set of 10, this model will give you evenly cut out basswood that is optimal for carving.
Since the blocks are quite small, this is a great kit to start off with if you need a model that you can sculpt and then later color. For this reason, I believe this will make a great choice if you’re planning on getting your kids started with woodwork.
Another great thing about this model is that along being environmentally friendly; they’re also odorless.
So if you want something to gift to someone, I would highly recommend the BeaverCraft BW10 Basswood Carving Blocks Set to you. Or, if not, you can keep it for yourself just as well!
- Has a very nice presentation
- Wood pieces are odorless
- Has a durable consistency
- Doesn’t include many thick pieces
The BeaverCraft BW10 Basswood Carving Blocks Set is a great choice if you want relatively thin wood pieces that you can color and glue together with ease!
Read Also: Wood for carving spoons.
9. 5 Pack Extra Large Basswood by Kingcraft Store
The 5 Pack Extra Large Basswood by Kingcraft Store is geared towards creative sculptures and a must-have if you want something extra-large.
The main feature of the 5 Pack Extra Large Basswood by Kingcraft Store is that it includes wood pieces that are bigger than the usual, which will really allow you to get your creative hats on and make things happen!
On top of that, they’re pretty well-made and treated, so you won’t have to worry about grain sizing or anything of the sort.
However, the good thing about this model is that the bigger block can also be a little hard to deal with, especially as a beginner. This also limits the type of work you can do with it.
Other than that, the 5 Pack Extra Large Basswood by Kingcraft Store is a pretty consistently reliable choice that I think would make a good starter pack for you!
- Paints easily
- Allows for simple and precise whittling
- Has an odorless frame
- Allows for finer sanding
- The bigger block isn’t that versatile
The 5 Pack Extra Large Basswood by Kingcraft Store is a good choice if you want thicker pieces of basswood that you can work on or learn on. It’s a must-have!
Read Also: Top 10 dremel carving wood review
10. Basswood Carving Blocks Kit by IOKUKI
The Basswood Carving Blocks Kit by IOKUKI is yet another model that you can really put to good use.
Coming in a versatile kit with various sizes, this is a good choice that makes it easier to carve and sculpt at will.
What’s even better is that the wood is exceptionally simple to carve, so you’ll definitely have fun with the process.
However, there are a few minor downsides to the Basswood Carving Blocks Kit by IOKUKI as well.
With all the good things aside, I noticed that some pieces are a little flaky from the corners. This isn’t a big issue, but you might need to be careful when working. On top of that, the Basswood Carving Blocks Kit by IOKUKI is also a little expensive.
But hey, if you’re really looking for something good to keep the hobby going, then why stop here?
- Comes in a variety of different size
- The wood is very easy to carve
- Cuts cleanly and precisely
- Some sides are a little flaky
- Not too budget-friendly
The Basswood Carving Blocks Kit by IOKUKI is a versatile kit that is easy to cut and easy to paint. You should give it a try if you don’t mind the minor cons!
11. J.K. Adams Carving Board
Last but not least, it’s high time to introduce the only carving board on this list, the J.K. Adams Carving Board.
The J.K. Adams Carving Board is a highly resilient and strong model that you can use for all types of works.
The best thing about this model, apart from its aesthetics, is that it’s pretty easy to clean and take care of. Sure, you’ll need to put in extra work for the maintenance, but it will most certainly be worth it.
This is because the J.K. Adams Carving Board is crafted from heavy-duty maple wood that can hold its own under pressure, making it a must-have if you really want to hone your skills of woodworking!
Hence, I’d highly recommend this model to all of you, and it’s a great supplementary tool that will help you quite a lot down the road.
- The frame is hand-crafted
- Allows for hand washing
- Dries very easily
- Superior wooding material
- Not versatile
- Requires maintenance
At the end of the day, you’ll most definitely need a carving board. And this is the definite one to go. Just make sure to get the right feel for it so that you can make the most out of it!
What to look for when buying the best wood for carving
There are several things that you’ll need to keep in mind and consider when choosing a model for yourself. Here are the top contenders!
The first thing that you should consider is the type of wood.
There are several types that you can use and utilize. But if you’re a beginner, basswood is a great place to start.
Furthermore, basswood also allows for easier carving and detail work, so it’s a must-have, regardless of your experience level.
When choosing a bundle, it’s a good idea to also go over what’s included in the package. Overall, it’s a good idea to go over this.
This is because the quantity will give you a rough idea of the amount of work you can get done with one whole package.
Plus, this will also mean that you might get wood pieces with different dimensions for more versatility.
I would also recommend that you pay extra attention to the dimensions of the wood included and if it sits well with the type of work you intend to do.
This will save you the trouble of preparing the wood yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most frequented questions on the internet related to wood carving. They might address some of your concerns as well!
1. What is the easiest wood to carve?
The easiest wood to carve is Basswood and is highly recommended for beginners. This is because it is fairly soft and east on the tools and will onto wood stains well. Plus, it helps with whittling or for intricate dealing quite well.
2. Can you carve hardwood?
Yes, you can carve hardwood. This is because not all hardwood has high density; some are easier to work with. However, if you’re just starting out, this isn’t really recommended.
3. Should I carve green wood or dry wood?
This is entirely up to you. As a beginner, it’s a good idea to have greenwood because detailing comes naturally, and you won’t have to be too harsh with the wood.
4. Does soaking wood make it easier to carve?
Soaking wood definitely makes it easier to carve. This is because the fiber grains contained in the wood become increasingly flexible due to the influx of water, which results in softer wood.
5. How long should wood dry before carving?
As a minimum, it is advised that you should dry wood for at least six weeks. However, if this time coincides with winter, then this frame doesn’t work because you don’t want the frozen moisture shut in the wood.
6. Is pine easy to carve?
Yes, pine is relatively easy to carve. It is pretty ideal if you have a simple knife and need a subject for whittling. However, it’s not good for chip carving and the like.
7. Can you carve deadwood?
Yes, you can. But the process is very hard and requires a certain level of finesse that isn’t easily achievable, especially if you’re just starting out.
8. Why are my wood slices cracking?
The shrinking of wood is what causes it to crack. What happens is that as time goes by, the moisture contained in the wood evaporates, which results in the wood shrinking.
9. How do you keep wood from cracking when drying?
The easiest way to go about this is to make sure that your wood is kept away from excess heat or dryness. This is arguably the easiest way to go about it.
10. How do you keep wood from rotting?
The simplest way to prevent the wood from rotting is by ensuring that you utilize decay-resistant/pressure-treated lumber and always ensure that you never lean anything against the siding.
Starting out with the right type of wood is step one in making sure you get what you want. Plus, it’s super important to know what you’re working with as well, so I hope you find something here that’s worth the while. If you have any feedback or suggestions about the products above or have any general suggestions or feedbacks, do share in the comment section below!