When was the last time you carved a piece of wood? Many adults have done this at some point in their childhood, and it’s a very satisfying past-time. Even if you don’t plan to carve anything specific, whittling is a peaceful and calming activity for people of all ages.
Best of all, you only need a stick, some wood and a knife. A basic pocket knife will do, or an old, small kitchen knife with a short solid blade – the most important thing is that it is sharp. A sharper blade is, surprisingly, safer as you need less force to make cuts, so you are less likely to slip. You can purchase wood carving knivesthat are designed to be robust and easy to handle, and make excellent gifts.
Whittling is a “here-and-now” activity: you really have to focus on what you are doing, learn to work with the grain of the wood, and use your imagination to shape your own creation. This is a very mindful and relaxing process which combines physical activity and mental focus.
If you are just looking to whittle without creating any particulars shapes, then any fallen branch or stick would be suitable. If you are looking for wood to carve, the fallen branches from silver birch, willow or sycamore are good choices. Spruce, pine or fir are also good for beginners, but dry, seasoned wood is best as it won’t leak sap.
If you enjoy the activity and are seeking to move onto something a bit more complex, why not have a go at carving an owl, a shark or some chess pieces!
Remember to stay safe, cut away from your body, and supervise any children.
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