Before you decide on a wooden carved owl for your next project, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, why an owl? The question may seem obvious. However the finest artworks hint of a strong affinity between the subject and the artist.
Well the first answer that springs to mind is wooden owl carving is something that could take hours, even days to complete. Because owls are a symbol of wisdom, knowledge and intuitive understanding of spiritual mysteries, so they say. Therefore this task should begin thoughtfully as you view your piece of raw timber.
What’s the Best Timber for Wooden Carved Owls?
Pine is always a safe bet, especially as the natural resins resist insects and mould. However, as a general rule of thumb, any tree that produces fruit or nuts can prove an effective medium. Our preferred favorite here in North America for best carving wood is still Basswood carving blocks. We cover a wide range of choices in our Best Wood for Carving Guide.
Perhaps you are a real “back-to-nature”, seasoned wood craftsman? The type that likes selecting and chopping down your own trees in the forest? Well ok then, we can only assume you already have a a fine personal selection of Splittling Axes, Electric Chainsaws, Safety equipment and perhaps even a Carving Hatchet or two.
When self-selecting carving timber remember these pointers when deciding:
- The timber should have a uniform density meaning it is solid right through.
- There should be a tight, consistent grain unless you are looking for a feature.
- Avoid timber with knots. Choose something from the heart of the branch.
Now you have your choice of timber, what about the tools you are going to need?
Should You Power Carve Your Wooden Owl with a Dremel or a Chainsaw?
Today we are thinking of hand carved wooden owls you could hold in your hands for this project. Although you could certainly scale our ideas up, and power carve a wooden owl with a chainsaw or dremel if you fancy. If you’d like us to cover carving a wooden owl with a chainsaw or dremel, let us know in the comments and we’ll earmark for a future writing project. In the meantime, our beginner ideas for dremel wood carving guide has a few video tutorials that should get you started.
Hand Carving Tools for Making a Wooden Owl
For now, this post is about the gentle art of wood carving, for which you should only require the following hand tools:
- A set of carving knives with fixed blades
- Sandpaper 200 grit to 400 grit or higher
7 Simple Steps to Creating a Hand Carved Wooden Carved Owl with a Carving Knife
Choose the Style of Your Carved Wooden Owl Statue
First, there are a number of very important factors to consider before diving in and getting started. Because this is not a quick-fix chainsaw carved owl for a one-off event. You could treasure your owl for years as a memory of your early wood carving days.
So first decide the position of the owl. Do you want it asleep, staring at you, or with wings outstretched? Best leave the latter for another day when you are more confident!
Find a Pattern for Your Hand Carved Wooden Owl
An experienced artist knows how to how to make a wooden carved owl with a knife straight from their imagination. However, when we are starting out, we may benefit from a few clues where to get started with wooden owl carving.
There are two sources we can use. The first would be a photo we took ourselves or we found on Flickr. The second we often recommend is choosing a pattern for an owl carving on the internet, or a specialist website like ours.
Mark Up Your Piece of Timber
You don’t want to dive in at this stage. Because remember if you take away too much wood you are committed to the direction this leads. Therefore mark up the piece of wood on all four sides, to identify the timber you can safely remove as your wooden carved owl comes to life.
However, you’ll soon discover the benefits of using a carving pattern. That’s because it shows you the views from all four sides. Then you’ll have greater confidence making a wooden carved owl with a knife when you have this head start!
Start Removing the Surplus Wood
Take out your largest sharp carving knife with fixed blade. This will be your primary woodworking tool for this project. But please do remember safety first. Because if your knife slips, where is your other hand?
Always follow the grain while removing surplus material around your hand carved wooden owl. Because this will make the knife travel easier through wood, as you start to see your wise bird come to life in your hands!
Make Smaller and Smaller Cuts as You Go
Wood carving involves gradually removing excess timber until all that’s left is the finished product. Therefore it is always better removing more than less, because as we mentioned you can’t put it back. You therefore need to remove progressively less in the middle stages.
Focus on one part of your wooden carved owl at a time during this phase of your work. For example, focus your wooden owl carving on one wing at a time. Set the details of the head and face aside until you are confident you know what you are doing!
Use a Smaller Knife to Bring Out Details
You’ll find your large knife becomes a bit over the top when you start finishing the details of your hand carved wooden owl. So choose a smaller one instead. Bring out the details of the feathers on the wings and the tufts atop the head if your owl has these.
You have now reached the stage when you can start adding your own personality to the work. In fact this is essential if you want to sell wood carved owls for sale on Amazon. This can be a great way to afford more advanced hand tools are you progress!
Add Final Touches to Your Wooden Carved Owl
Use your smallest carving knife and 200 grit sandpaper to complete the final details. You could go as high as 400 grit if you want a highly-polished finish. The crowning glory of wood carving is you are your own boss!
Thinking of Selling Your Wooden Art?
Perhaps the next step is to advertise one of your owl carvings for sale? Take a look at some of the well-known online platforms with wood carved owls for sale;
- Amazon – Checkout this beautiful piece below by G6 Collection
- Facebook MarketPlace
Expert Already? Scale up to a Wooden Owl Bench!
Checkout this example of a very unique and beautiful hand carved wooden bench with many intricate owl carvings. Apparently this is found in the Town Centre in Beddgelert, Wales. Have you seen this in person? If so, drop us a comment below.
We hope you enjoyed carving a virtual wooden carved owl in your mind as you followed our seven steps and enjoyed watching the detailed instructional videos.