What is a Woodcarver?

A Woodcarver carves beautiful images and designs into selected pieces of wood or furniture.

They will, for example, design and carve intricate patterns and shapes into:

  • backs of chairs
  • carved feet for tables and chairs
  • drawer fronts
  • around frames of mirrors
  • sculptured figurines on banisters
  • ‘aprons’ on tables
  • carved designs for the surround of fire places etc
  • wood sculptures for art galleries

The Woodcarver marks with chalk those pieces of wood which must be cut away. They must work carefully so that they do not cut away too much wood. Once it’s cut, it’s gone forever! 

They will lay the article on a workbench or clamp it firmly in a bench vice and slowly begin to carve away with a chisel.  After carving, the article is sanded, then stained or varnished.

What does a Woodcarver do?

  • meets with clients to discuss their requirements
  • advises clients on choice of woods to be used
  • prepares quotations
  • orders the wood
  • researches in magazines, books and internet for inspiration
  • draws out design, marks wood
  • sharpens tools before carving
  • carves carefully
  • sands, stains or varnishes finished product
  • prepares invoices

Are you …. ?

  • extremely artistic?
  • a sculptor?
  • a person who can visualise in 3-d?
  • creative?
  • a person with good hand-eye co-ordination?
  • detail orientated?
  • accurate and neat?

How do I become a Woodcarver?

Many Woodcarvers are naturally gifted and can carve almost anything out of wood.  This usually starts from a very young age. 

For those who have not started early, they can get training while on-the-job, learning from an experienced Woodcarver.

Another route is to do furniture-making courses and/or carpentry courses to get familiar with the different types of wood and to learn all the tools and techniques there are with regard to wood carving.


Offers various furniture-making courses (at NQF Levels 2 and 3), including:

  • Skills Programmes
  • Short Courses
  • Learnerships / Apprenticeships


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Carpenter or Wood Turner

Is becoming a Woodcarver the right career choice for me?