Best Wood for Carving

best wood for carving woodworking

There is a wide range of wood species available, and it is essential to identify each wood's unique characteristics. Different woods have different qualities and texture that determine how suitable it is for wood carving. 

This is quite a rewarding hobby, and it might turn out to be a gratifying career. It is among the most ancient crafts in the universe and is practical and artistically appealing. Almost all wood species can be utilized for carving, offering you a wide array to choose from, and sometimes this can be overpowering. 

To help you out, we've compiled a list of the best wood for carving. Here they are;

Basswood for Wood Carving 

Our top pick is basswood, which is probably the most common option for wood carving. It has a smooth texture, making it easy to work with. Basswood is excellent for crafting wood art, like artistically beautiful spoons, bowls, and plates. 

Moreover, it has a mild scent and works well with oil stains. It can be carved across and along the grain and is most frequently utilized for kitchenware. It's safe enough for food, that's why it's suitable for making plates, bowls, and spoons. 

Lastly, it is allergenic-free and has a mild odor. 

lime wood for wood carving

European lime wood 

European lime wood is the perfect choice for beginner woodcarvers. It features a cream shade, and the delicate growth rings render it a common option for woodcarvers. With the proper tools, you can craft some complex carving designs on European Lime timber. 


The next choice on our list of best wood for carving is this classic choice. Most oak tree species handle carving tools quite impressively. The grain is rather coarse than European lime wood, making it more apt for bigger furniture pieces than extremely complex projects. 

Nevertheless, with robustness, durability, and decent workability, oak wood is a great option for workpieces on the large size side, including indoor and outdoor furniture. For this reason, if you're searching for a flexible, attractive hardwood for crafting your designs, oak is a perfect choice. 

White pine 

Pine is normally considered a tricky wood for carving, though white pine is smoother and somewhat effortless to carve. Pine is well-known as a good timber option for furniture making and construction. 

On the other hand, white pine is a softer variety of pine, making it ideal for carving since it maintains its shape quite well. Besides, it is a prevalent option for chainsaw carving. But, for best results, this timber has to be rather green when being carved; also, it would be best if it's wet.


If you're searching for a more robust and denser option, walnut is an excellent choice for carving. It sports a dark shade and conventional wood grains, and thanks to its rougher texture, it is best to cut with a mallet. 

It features a clean and natural finish that is straightforward to attain. Art made of this lumber is long-lasting and endures moisture decently. Nonetheless, the odor is a bit perceptible. 


Maple is a decent choice if you like a challenge. Regardless of its more complex structure, most woodcarvers select this lumber for its unique properties. Maple sports a coarse and uneven grain, and it needs vigilant planning before beginning. 

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It is perfectly carved on the grain. It is most suitable for indoor wood art and should be kept far from moisture since it alters its structure upon drying. Also, some individuals can have slight allergic reactions when utilizing maple objects. 


Mahogany has average hardness and is ideal for various carving methods. Despite the technique you utilize, this lumber always produces reasonable results. Typically, it is utilized as a base material, and its reddish color offers it a visually appealing finish. Plus, it's not that hard to work with. 


Here is yet another softwood option for carving; aspen, which is quite impressive. This is a softer wood than basswood. Aspen features a horizontal and subtle grain that will not split effortlessly. 

Remember to be careful with your blade when carving this timber, as it normally fuzzes if you utilize blunt blades. What's more, it has a bright shade; thus, if you prefer working with darker wood, then you might want to go for walnut or mahogany. 


Cherry is quite a balanced choice, and it lies somewhere between hardwood and softwood, though it is most suitable for professional woodcarvers. It can alter its form once dry, but it later becomes durable, stable lumber that will last for years. 

Oftentimes cherry is utilized to produce commercial, artistic items, and it has a mild odor. Also, it is stain-resistant. This wood is also versatile, and it can be worked on across and along the grain with the proper tools and high-level skills. It is a decent option if you plan to sell your workpieces. 

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Last on our list is tupelo wood, a finely grained lumber that does not pose any issues to carvers thanks to its toughness. It might not be the first choice for many woodcarvers because it requires power tools for shaping it. 

However, the best thing about this wood is that it does not burn easily when using power tools. Plus, it is rather affordable if you purchase it in bulk. 


As you can see, there is a wide range of carving wood to choose from. Besides, they all come in different colors and textures. Whether you utilize it to build furniture or for building mostly depends on the features the wood has. For this reason, it would be best if you first identified how you want to use the wood before making a choice. 

With woodcarving, especially if you're a novice, you should begin by using the softest lumber, such as butternut, aspen, and basswood. 

Well, there you have it, the best wood for carving for different skill levels and purposes. Hopefully, this write-up has helped you find the most suitable wood for your project. 

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