Carving a wooden bowl is easier than you might think. In the video below I only used some cheap chisels, a coping saw, and a propane torch. Burning the wood gives it a nice smooth surface and makes the grain stand out. In the video, I use spruce from cheap construction grade lumber.

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What tools do I need?

What tools are needed are probably the most common question about wood carving. There are loads of carving tools out there but for carving a bowl like the one I made in the video you only need a few basic tools that you can get at any hardware store:

  • Flat chisel
  • Round chisel
  • Coping saw (or band saw)
  • Propane torch
  • Wire brush
  • Rasp (optional)

You do not need to buy expensive chisels but it’s important that they are sharp so you might consider a sharpening system as well (cheap new chisels are never sharp out of the box).

Carving Step by Step

  1. Using a carving template makes it a lot easier to get the shape right. I just print my template on a laser printer and transfer it to the wood with some acetone (see video). Always start by carving the inside of the bowl first.
  2. Once you are happy with the inside of your bowl, you can go ahead and cut the shape of the bowl with a coping saw or band saw. Cut as close to the outline as possible.
  3. Shaping the outside of the bowl. Use a flat chisel to remove material on the outside of the bowl. Follow the grain direction as much as possible and try to make a nice round shape. It takes some time but it’s easier than you think to get it nice and round.
  4. Use a rasp to make the outside smooth.
  5. Burn it! When you are happy with the shape of your bowl, use a propane torch to burn the surface. Use a wire brush to remove the charcoal. Finally, use a damp rag to get rid of as much charcoal as possible (You should be able to touch it without getting black on your fingers).

Is it Food Safe?

If you are using your bowl for food, you should treat it with oil or wax. A common question is if the finish is food safe or not. Most finishes are food safe once properly cured but just to be on the safe side here are some options you might want to consider.

  • Beeswax. Creates a nice satin finish
  • Carnauba Wax. Creates a more glossy finish
  • Walnut Oil

Now, keep in mind that wood finishing is a huge topic. To get the results you want you should do some more research if you want to take this a step further.

Wood Carving ASMR?

As a side note, the sound of the chisel going through the wood is relaxing, so it’s also a good ASMR trigger. In the video I show you the whole process from start to finish, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the sound of carving. Just fast forward if you just want to see the actual steps on how to do it.

ASMR is a physical sensation characterised by a pleasurable tingling that typically begins in the head and scalp. It is commonly triggered by soft or accented voices, personal attention, ambient sounds or watching people work silently, among others.

ASMR. Sounds That Feel Good