Some people believe that whittling is purely a hobby, while carving is a profession, but this isn’t necessarily true. Whittling artists often create beautiful, intricate pieces, including chess pieces, figurines, caricatures, canes, and bowls. If you are interested in whittling as a hobby, a profession, or a simple pastime, then have a look at the below list of the best books to get you started.
Note: For your convenience, I have included Amazon links to each book, when possible.
1. Complete Starter Guide to Whittling: 24 Easy Projects You Can Make in a Weekend
The Complete Starter Guide to Whittling (Please click to see on Amazon) is comprehensive, to say the least. It includes 24 easy-to-make projects that can easily be completed in one weekend, making it perfect for beginners.
Follow the step-by-step guide and how-to photos to learn the craft and make simple designs such as a 5-minute owl, a musical frog, and even a slingshot. You will be able to put all the fundamental whittling techniques you have learned into each creation as you move from project to project.
2. Whittling for Beginners: Complete Guide on How To Carve From Wood
Whittling For Beginners progresses from learning the basics of whittling to understanding the more complicated techniques of the craft. It includes loads of projects (52, to be exact) to get you started on your whittling journey.
Once you have mastered the basics, you can get started on the 52 projects. You’ll begin with very simple carvings and gradually move on to more complex ones. This book also includes some great tips on how to look after your tools. If you are looking for a complete guide, this is the book for you!
The beauty of this book is that it gets you started with the basics, then sets you loose to work on projects of your choosing. Not only does it explain the basic concepts related to whittling, but it also outlines the tools you will need and how to properly maintain them as you use them over time.
Some of the projects in this book will take only 5 minutes to complete, while others are more time-consuming. Featuring whittling projects ranging from owls to wizards to ornaments of different varieties, this book is sure to keep you busy for hours on end.
3. 20-Minute Whittling Projects: Fun Things To Carve From Wood
20-Minute Whittling Projects is the perfect entry-level book for people who want to make fun little wooden carvings in a jiffy. It includes quick carvings based on caricatures such as leprechauns, gnomes, gargoyles, and wizards.
If you enjoy fantasy-inspired arts and crafts, then this is the book for you. Author Tom Hindes includes his easy-to-learn, quick-cut method and promises to have you carving figurines in twenty minutes or less. Although it is perfect for beginners, it could also give more experienced carvers some great inspiration for new designs!
4. Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Whittling Book, Gift Edition
It is often said that everyone should own a pocket knife because they are one of the most useful tools to have around. Need to open a bottle? A pocket knife can help. Need to scale a fish? Your pocket knife has you covered! Need to get something out of your teeth? You guessed it—the pocket knife comes to the rescue.
What is great about this book is that you most likely already have a pocket knife lying around somewhere; even if you don’t, they are inexpensive tools to buy. Whether you’re camping with friends, sitting at a bus stop, or just bored at home, whittling is the perfect way to pass the time.
I recommend this book to anyone with a more casual interest in whittling as a hobby. After all, the style of whittling outlined in this guide can be done without investing in fancy tools or materials. All you need is a simple pocket knife!
The Swiss Army Knife Whittling Book by Victorinox will show you how to create glorious, whimsical objects using only a twig and your ever-handy Swiss Army knife.
5. Whittling for Beginners Handbook
Whittling for Beginners Handbook starts at the beginning of it all by providing you with a fascinating history of whittling. It then goes on to explain how whittling has become part of popular culture today.
Reading this guide is almost as if a friend is teaching you how to start whittling step-by-step. It includes real-life tales from experienced whittlers, which adds a personal touch.
The best part about this book is the list of 22 FAQs that experts in the field answer. This section gives you some insight into what beginners struggle with and how to overcome common obstacles.
6. The Little Book of Whittling: Passing Time on the Trail, on the Porch, and Under the Stars
Honestly, just the book’s title makes you want to buy it. Author Chris Lubkemann takes his 40 years of whittling experience and shares it in this delightful book focused on whittling as a pastime.
This book features a helpful guide on the tools you will need as you start whittling. It explains each tool’s unique purpose and functionality to help you better understand what you will need to have on hand before you start any given project.
The variety within this book is remarkable; from trees to slingshots, you will have a huge selection of projects to choose from based on your unique interests. Each project is explained using easy-to-follow instructions and detailed photos, so you can be sure you are completing each step correctly.
The Little Book of Whittling includes 18 projects for both beginners and experienced whittlers alike. The down-to-earth style of his writing really represents the simplicity of the craft and is aimed at those who wish to sit back, relax, and enjoy their time carving away.
7. Whittling for Beginners and Kids
People of all ages can whittle, and Whittling for Beginners and Kids is perfect for getting your little one started. Once they are familiar with the basics, they can start making gifts for the whole family. A Christmas boomerang, anyone?
If you are also interested in learning a new hobby, you can use this book as a beginner’s guide yourself. In this book, Author Antony McDeere takes you through all the different woods you can use to create your masterpieces. He explains that the texture and hardness of the wood should match your abilities and skills.
8. Whittling Workbook: 14 Simple Projects to Carve
Whittling Workbook focuses on a technique known as flat-plane carving. This carving style is considered minimalist and said to have originated in Scandinavia. It uses simple, strong cuts and leaves the tool marks showing. It is preferred to use wooden blocks for this specific technique.
This book offers something slightly different while still teaching you the fundamentals of whittling. It also serves as great inspiration for a whittler looking for some new, modern ideas.
Here is a quick recap:
The best books for beginner whittlers:
- Complete Starter Guide to Whittling: 24 Easy Projects You Can Make in a Weekend
- Whittling for Beginners: Complete Guide on How To Carve From Wood
- 20-Minute Whittling Projects: Fun Things To Carve From Wood
- Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Whittling Book, Gift Edition
- Whittling for Beginners Handbook
- The Little Book of Whittling: Passing Time on the Trail, on the Porch, and Under the Stars
- Whittling for Beginners and Kids
- Whittling Workbook: 14 Simple Projects to Carve
Thanks for reading!
For more, check out 10 Best Places to Practice Bushcraft and Survival Skills.
Hey, I’m Jim, and I’m the author of this website. I have been teaching people a wide variety of survivalism topics for over five years and have a lifetime of experience fishing, camping, general survivalism, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!