Is Wood Carving An Expensive Hobby 


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Woodworking is elaborate, and woodcarving isn’t. You don’t need to be a lumberjack to build small wood sculptures. And as a woodworker who started out with an interest in carving, I can tell you it is personally rewarding. But some people believe it is very expensive.

Wood carving is not an expensive hobby because you can start with less than $50 and stay engaged for two months. As your skill improves, you can start selling your projects and break even. Eventually, you can even start making a profit from your hobby.

A simple wood carving with text overlays that read Is Wood Carving An Expensive Hobby 

The earlier portion of your woodcarving journey will be investment-heavy. But this article will show you that this hobby is not very expensive and how you can space out strategic purchases to avoid overspending right away. Bookmark this post, so you don’t lose it. And let’s get started.

How Expensive Is Woodworking as a Hobby?

Woodworking costs $17 to $20 every two months if you already have the tools. The tools cost up to $50 to get individually and $35 if you buy different sets. If you have $115 of disposable income, you can get started and keep carving projects for the next 3 to 6 months.

Check out my detailed article that shows you 12 beginner wood carving projects that are cheap and easy for anyone to get started with.

So even if you buy three months’ worth of supplies, you’ll not spend a lot of money. And after you have the tools, you’ll not need to get new knives any time soon. In contrast, other artists have to keep buying brushes and paint.

This is one hobby where you just buy the medium (wood), work on it, and sell it for at least a higher price than the price of lumber.

But if $115 is a lot of money for you, that’s understandable. Not everyone wants to put that much up for a suspected interest. In the following section, we will explore a minimum starting price for wood carving.

A video showing different tools to use for wood carvings

How Much Does It Cost To Carve Wood?

You can start carving wood by hand for under 30 dollars if you purchase a beginner wood carving kit like BeaverCraft’s carving kits. However, carving projects frequently drives up the cost of your hobby. What matters, though, is that you can start with less than $50.

Ideally, you would begin with a whittling kit like the Comfort Bird Whittling Kit. These kits have two projects’ worth of steam in them. You can keep the carving, buy new blocks and continue, but it gets old real quick.

Comfort Bird Whittling Kit

✅ A beginner wood carving kit: 1 cherry and 1 basswood wood block, super sharp whittling knife, sharpening supplies, birdie template, and 3 types of sandpaper.

✅A razor-sharp whittling knife in the wood whittling kit, polishing and finishing supplies, step-by-step video tutorial as well as the short guide on bird carving.

Alternatively, you can purchase an unrestricted Wood Whittling Kit, which comes with multiple carving tools, their holder, and a pair of gloves. But for most beginners, this would be their second purchase after graduating from the comfort whittling kits. My article on beginner woodcraft projects can guide you more regarding the possibility of this stage.

Wood Whittling Kit

✅The whittling kits for beginners: 3 kinds of whittling knives, 8 basswood woodblocks, and cutting gloves

✅The rounded handle is made of walnut wood and coated with a layer of varnish.

✅A pocket knife suit with anti-roll belt for easy storage and carrying.

✅Cut-resistant gloves to protect hands from cuts and scrapes.

✅The polishing and polishing mixture of leather for the blade’s protection from rust.

Woodcarving doesn’t take long to do or learn. I will show you exactly how long in my article How long does wood carving take?

As time goes on, you become bolder and start making self-initiated choices of buying larger blocks and trying different carving knives and tools. With each choice, your costs start changing. It is 3 to 6 months into woodworking that your projects start becoming good enough for commercial markets. 

And by then, your expenses can go down to $0 even if you don’t make a profit on the sales. But up until then, you should expect to spend your own money on the projects and make no profit from them.

Going by these average estimates of $30 per month in woodblock expenses across a time frame of 3 to 6 months, we can conclude that, at a minimum, woodcarving requires a $90 investment and $180 if it takes longer to monetize your art.

Can You Make Money Selling Wood Carvings?

You can make money selling wood carvings, but it takes a long time to start selling them for a profit that is worth it. On average, a new wood carver works for over one year before his work is market-ready. Prior to that, his work becomes study material that doesn’t get shipped out.

Wood carvings are considered mass-appeal art, so there is some good news and some bad news. The good news is that you’ll start making money soon. The bad news is that there is a ceiling to how high your prices can go.

Wood carvings sell for $30 on the low end and $300 on the high end. This restricts a woodworker to the volume of carvings he can churn out over a period. So, later down the line, you might find that making $4,500 per month is the most you can possibly get carving wood.

There are methods to market your brand and have apprentices to increase the volume of your output. But when it comes to personally carving wood, earning more than $4,500 is very rare.

This video is showing how the carver does his project, the Wood Spirits, the tools he used, and makes money by selling them.

Is It Hard To Learn Wood Carving?

Learning wood carving is easy but getting good at it requires patience and consistency, which some people find quite hard. Specializing in wood carving to make larger-than-life sculptures is harder than whittling and hand-carving small projects. But the harder you work, the more money you can make.

Given that a hobbyist woodcarving can start earning within 6 months of starting, it is fair to say that learning to make acceptable wood carvings is quite easy. But to get world-class in this skill requires a lifetime. Still, it is important to take up woodcarving only if you enjoy the process.

The process has to be the reward in this craft. I have personally found that this hobby gives you enough momentum in the third month. And if you have enough patience to stick to regular practice until then, the results will keep you interested in the hobby.

Getting Started With Wood Carving

If you’ve decided to start your wood carving journey, you need to have a budget. And this budget shouldn’t dictate the journey, but the cost requirements should.

In this section, we will explore how much money you need to get started with wood carving if you plan to do it as a semi-professional. You can use it as a guide to either plan your budget or make chronological purchases.

First Purchase: A Comfort Whittling Kit – $24.95 – $39.95

Comfort whittling is a label for projects so easy that people make them get rid of anxiety. These are the wood equivalent of scribbling tornados on a notebook because you’re bored in class.

You need them in the beginning because they are easy enough to avoid the discouragement barrier. The discouragement barrier is a step that is so difficult it turns off beginners’ interest. I work with power tools and massive lumber piles. I faced a serious discouragement barrier despite loving everything related to woodworking. That was 20 years ago.

Why Do Quilts Cost So Much?
Why Do Quilts Cost So Much?

Fortunately, the following comfort whittling projects have no discouragement barrier:

BeaverCraft, Wood Carving Kit Comfort Bird DIY – Complete Starter Whittling Knife Kit for Beginners Adults, and Teens.

$39.95 

Linden Woodworking Kit, Whittling kit with Rhino Wood Carving Kit for Beginners, Adults and Kids – Includes Wood Carving Stainless Steel Knife with Wooden Handle.

$29.99

BeaverCraft Whittling Kit, Wood Carving Set DIY03 Wizard, Wood Carving Kit for Beginners, Adults and Teens – Complete with Whittling Knife Kit with Wood Blocks –

$24.95

Pro tip: Buy just one whittling kit. You don’t need to buy different ones that come with their own knives. Save your budget and try your hand at basswood carving in a low-stakes setting. I personnaly enjoyed the Wizard.

Second Purchase: Basswood Blocks – $19.95

Depending on how fast you run out of the wood that comes with the whittling kit, you will need to buy more wood blocks. In my estimation, this will be 2 weeks to 4 weeks after you receive the comfort whittling kit.

BeaverCraft Basswood Carving Blocks. Wood Carving Kit for Beginners. Complete with Basswood Blocks Whittle Kit 16 pcs Unfinished Wood Blocks Craft.

$19.95

A set of Basswood Blocks can cost $19.95. These are pre-prepped to be easier to whittle and will not feel any different from the wood that you are used to whittling.

The video is showing several wood carving projects and how they are done.

Now, you can choose to continue perfecting the old project plans on new wood blocks. Or you can try your hand at other whittle animals and similar projects. Here is a video showing different whittling projects you can take on with a month of experience:

Third Purchase: More Carving Tools – $15 to $50

Once you’re past the whittling stage, you will need tools beyond the ones you already have. Let’s look at some of the tools you can purchase by your third month as a wood carver. You can also purchase these in your second month if you are a quick learner.

All of the tools mentioned below work with the basswood blocks you’ve previously purchased.

ToolAverage PriceRecommended Product
Gouge chisel$20BeaverCraft Wood Carving Gouge ChiselBeaver Craft Wood Carving Gouge Chisel
Spoon Knife$15Carving Hook KnifeA beaver craft wood wood carving hook knife
Whittle Knife$13BeaverCraft Whittle Knife (Often present in whittle kits)A cutting knife for wood carving
Wood Cutting Knife$15Sloyd KnifeBeaverCraft Sloyd Knife
The table shows the different types of wood carving tools, their price, and how they look.

Next Phase: Different Lumber

This is a stage where you start exploring different types of lumber, from Aspen to Black Walnut and Butternut to larger limewood. The prices here vary by your preference, and this stage is entirely optional.

Image of a branch of wood for use in wood carving with a few tools  around it

In conclusion, you can get started as a woodcarver with a budget of $115 spread over 3 months. This can be further brought down by $15 if you purchase a knife kit instead of individually purchasing different wood-cutting knives.

Fuyit Whittling Set is one of the best-value purchases as it features multiple blocks of carving wood alongside gloves and protective tape. It is, of course, a set of tools, so it includes carving knives. The Gouge has to be purchased separately, though. 

Fuyit Wood Carving Tools with Basswood Wood Blocks Gift Set, Hook, Sloyd, Chip Knife for Wood Whittling Widdling. 17Pcs

This set has over 1,150 reviews and ratings, so there’s enough social proof in its favor. The reviews and ratings add up to a global collective average of 4.6 stars on a 5-star scale. More specifically, it has 4.5 stars for its value-for-money proposition and the same for being beginner-friendly, both of which make it an excellent purchase.

Final Thoughts

Wood carving is not an expensive hobby at all. You can start with less than $50 and stay engaged for two months. You can also start selling your projects and break even as your skill improves. Eventually, you can start making a profit from your hobby.

Starting a project with Whittling Kit, especially if you are a beginner, is very helpful. I personally used the ones I mentioned above. Give yourself some time with your new hobby and you’ll see how rewarding it will be without spending much.

Derek

I'm the guy behind Woodwork Hubby! I have been doing woodwork and cabinetmaking for over 30 years so I decided to start this site to help educate others on what I have learned.

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