Is Wood Carving An Expensive Hobby

If you are looking to get into wood carving or start taking things more seriously you may be interested in how much wood costs or how much are tools for wood carving.

Wood carving is not an expensive hobby when done with traditional non-electric tools. The most expensive part of wood carving is the wood you carve from and the tools, most of which are a one-time purchase.

If you actively carve wood every day of the week you will most likely spend as much as you would spend on petrol in the same amount of time. However, as most of you likely carve 2-3 times/week, your wood carving expense will be half your petrol bill.

How Much Is It To Start Wood Carving

The entry cost can be as low as 10$ if you just buy a wood carving set from your local wholesale store. However, this will not get you far in learning wood carving as a hobby.

Therefore, you must buy all the necessary tools and equipment to start wood carving by yourself. Below is the list of items that you must have if you want to make wood carving your hobby, and their price range:

  • Wood carving knife
  • Protective equipment
  • Sharpening tools
  • Wood

It’s good to first start with a smaller collection of tools when you are starting out for two reasons. First, is that you spread out the cost of the collection and the second, is that if in the first few months you will not enjoy carving as much as you think you would, it will save you some unnecessary spending.

Wood Caring Knife – 20$

Just like with most of the items on the list, the cost is approximate and will vary on your choice. You can find some “super cool prime carving knives” for hundreds of dollars, but a simple 20$ knife will do just as.

As a recommendation for what a first wood carving knife should be, you can try out the Marakniv Wood Carving Knife that is simply found on Amazon and shipped to your door.

Protective equipment $8-$12

Since you are a beginner it is important that you protect your fingers from cuts that you will end up getting if you work without protection.

There are multiple different ways you can protect yourself from the blade that are discussed in our articles: how to hold a wood carving knife and safety tips. If you’d like to know more be sure to check it out.

Sharpening Tool $30-$40

Rule number one of wood carving is that you should always work with a sharp knife! It is crucial that you have something you sharpen your knife with at all times.

There are multiple ways that you can do that. A simple whetstone can cost as little as $25 but depend on your choice or if you will buy more than one the price can also get a little higher than that.

Wood 35$

Wood is wood, and it does not have a price cap as there is always a more expensive wood you can buy. Luckily for you softwood such as basswood is pretty cheap and perfect for beginner woodcarvers.

You can buy a pack of carving basswood from Amazon for under $20, you probably need at least 2 packs to last you long enough to get a feel for wood carving.

If you are uncertain what kind of wood you should get, check our article Best Wood For Beginners In Wood Carving which covers all the different kinds of wood you should consider trying out.

This list is the bare minimum of the items that you will need. Most likely in the first few months, this will be enough, but over time you will want to buy more tools than just that.

In conclusion, we can safely say that if you have nothing related to wood carving at home and you want to buy everything to start wood carving, then this will cost you around $100 to do.

How Much Is It To Advance In Wood Carving

After a few months of carving, you will end up wanting to expand your collection of tools to learn new techniques and tackle more complex projects.

This has a little bit of a wider range depending on what you are going to pursue in wood carving. As you know, there are many different types of wood carving styles that you can learn. We have an extensive article that discusses about different types of woodcarving and their implementation.

Below are some examples of different expenses you may choose to have depending on the interest you find:

  • If you want to try out chip carving, you will need a new chip carving knife – $20
  • If you want to try carve hardwood or carve in relief, you will need a set of chisels – $50 (Find a better deal on Amazon with the MARKETTY chisels)
  • If you want to try hardwood you will also have a higher expense of buying the wood pieces to carve from – $20+
  • If you want to enrich your collection of wood carving knives to add variety to your work – $130+

In other words, you will probably end up spending some more on improving your workshop. This will probably be around the $250 worth of purchases over a few months.

The next step that many carvers don’t take because it branches out from the traditional wood carving and whittling approach. This is getting power carving tools.

Is Power Carving Expensive?

No, power carving is not expensive, buying a motor-powered tool with rotational burrs and riffler files should cost you under $200. Power carving is however slightly more expensive than whittling.

Unlike traditional whittling and other forms of wood carving, power carving requires a set of a few different skills which may take some time to learn. Take a few minutes to look at our complete beginners’ guide on power carving if you are interested!

With that also comes a pretty wide range of new projects that you could tackle as well as overall your wood carving projects will increase in speed when you use electric tools.

Wood carving lesson cost

You may consider getting wood carving lessons either in the beginning to get a quicker start or at any point throughout your learning process to further enhance your skills.

There are a couple of different types of wood carving lessons that you can find. Take a look at the list below for some approximate prices in wood carving lesson.

Private wood carving lessons$75+/hour
Group wood carving lessons$25-35/hour
Online wood carving courses$30/month
Wood Carving Books$20/per book
Wood is Wood GuidesFree

Now we will discuss how helpful is each type of these ways of learning wood carving.

Prices may be different depending on your region. However, this is the “more expensive” side that you can expect from wood carving lessons.


Private wood carving lessons

Private wood carving lessons are by far the most effective way of learning the hobby. With that said, group lessons have a much better price for the value you receive.

One-to-one lessons from a professional in the art of wood carving will not give you the knowledge that books and online tutorials can’t really transfer to you. It is very beneficial to get some wood carving lessons from an experienced woodcarver.

While private wood carving lessons may cut your learning process a few hours short, they are usually twice as expensive when compared to group lessons, therefore, unless you don’t mind paying the difference, group lessons will do just as.

Group wood carving lessons

Group wood carving is the most optimal way of learning how to carve. It is a very fun way of spending time as well as it is very useful to spend some time in the same room with someone who has been carving for a few decades.

Things that you can learn from a human always surpass the quality of the knowledge that you can read from books or watch on youtube. Whether it is a better value for your investment is subjective.

Learning from a person is never a bad idea and is most likely a must-try at some point if you are taking wood carving seriously.

Online Wood Carving Courses

There are many subscriptions that you may find online that will offer you a pretty nice deal and a whole lot of useful information.

Overall, this is a very good way of learning. Don’t let the digital world scare you, it is different but it is still very helpful in learning how to carve wood.

Answering the question if it’s any better than getting a wood carving teacher in real life, it is not. While you will learn new techniques nobody will correct your wrong hand position or answer your questions that are too beginner to cover in such courses.

A pretty big advantage of online courses is that they are usually pretty cheap, which makes sense. Whether you want to get an online course or not to improve in wood carving is completely up to you, we have a neutral position on this matter.

Wood carving books

There are tons of grea wood carving books that you can find online or order to your doorstep.

All of them are very useful to a certain level. Once you switch from a beginner to an intermediate you will often have your own opinion on some matters and disagree with some statements that may arise.

If there is a wood carving book that we could recommend for beginners to read, then it is the book you see below:

Be sure to click on it if you’d like to make a purchase from Amazon. This book is also less pricy than the average good book about wood carving.

Wood is wood guides

On this website, you will find a lot of useful information that is targeted at specific situations when you are wood carving. If you ever have a question, you can also always contact us and we may post an article about your query.

Enjoy Carving Wood

As we have concluded in this article, wood carving is a very affordable hobby. Therefore there is nothing stopping you from trying it out for yourself. We hope you found this article useful and that you will find carving wood very enjoyable.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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