How to Carve a Box Out of Solid Wood

Carving a piece of solid wood into an artifact, be it a bowl, sculpture or box, is a skilled task and a rewarding one. It takes time and patience, but the finished product is a beautiful one decorated by the unbroken flow of the wood grain around the piece. A piece carved from solid wood makes a wonderful gift, showing time and effort invested in creating something special.

... Carving from solid wood requires skill and patience.

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Things You\’ll Need

  • Hook Knife

  • Pillar Drill

  • Foam Block

  • Chisels

  • Adze

  • Files

  • Sandpaper

  • Wooden Block

  • Band Saw

  • Large Wood Vise

Step 1

Cut a slice of the top of your block with the band saw. Exactly how much you cut and where will depend very much on the design you are aiming for, but working with a design of roughly the dimensions of a shoebox you want to cut away the top eighth of the block. Keep the cut as straight and level as possible.

Step 2

Clamp the block in the vise and use the pillar drill to drill out the majority of the wood. Keep the drill bit well clear of the sides and do not drill down too deeply but aim to cut a rough depression in the wood.

Step 3

Position the block between your feet and clamp to a larger section of spare wood to keep it in place. Cut with the adze, swinging with both hands down and back between your feet, aiming to cut thin slivers a few inches long from the wood. Cut until the shape is almost as you want it.

Step 4

Finish off the shaping with chisels, hook knife and files. Use only these tools to carve a depression into the lid. Place the tip of the chisel against the wood at a shallow angle, strike gently but firmly with the mallet against the handle and lower the angle of the chisel as you make the cut. Drag the curved edge of the hook knife along the wood to carve out slivers.

Step 5

Carve a lip around the inner rim of the box. You needn't make this any more than 1/4 inch high. Carve the depression in the lid so that it fits just over this lip and the incline at the edge of the lid fits neatly against the incline around the lip and rim at the top of the box so that the lid is held in place.

Step 6

Smooth the whole piece down with sandpaper wrapped around a foam block. Start with a rough grit and work down to smoother grits until you are satisfied.