What Is the Easiest Wood to Carve

One thing that matters to start wood carving is choosing the most appropriate wood and tools for your ability level. In this article, we want to know that what is the easiest wood to carve? Also, for more information about different types of wood in wood carving, you can read this article “best wood for wood carving“. This is important because beginners do not have control over using the carving tools yet. Therefore, their tools might get stuck in the wrong wood, or they might end up hurting themselves. In case these incidents keep happening, the newly started carver might get discouraged and stop trying altogether.

Another critical thing to bear in mind is that each specific design requires a particular kind of wood, and choosing the wood with the wrong features could ruin your whole design. We should not ignore physical strength either. Wood carving is an activity that may require a great deal of strength in applying specific intricate designs on hardwood, which is not an option for everyone. For the mentioned reasons, you should pay extra attention to choosing the best wood for carving.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Do You Know What Is the Easiest Wood to Carve?

The terms softwood and hardwood are generally used to refer to the botanical classification of the trees. Just belonging to the list of softwood does not guarantee the wood has a soft texture. It is always wise to get to know different types of wood and their features because such knowledge can help you a lot during the wood carving procedures. In case you are a beginner and want to perfect your skills, it would be a good idea to start practicing with softwood. Besides, there are many professional carvers who prefer to use softwood to bring their designs to life. Here is a list of softwood and easiest wood to carve that might help you with your projects.

What Is the Easiest Wood to Carve
Easiest Wood to Carve

11 Easiest Wood to Carve

Atlantic White Cedar

This is perfectly durable because of its unique strength, which doesn’t shrink in water or crack. Also, it has the nicest fragrance. Carvers usually use these types of wood to create poles, cabin logs, posts, decorative fences, and decoys. This wood goes with another name as well: Southern White Cedar.

Western Red Cedar

This wood is durable, sturdy, and one of the easiest wood to carve. It can hold well against damp. It is naturally resistant to decay; therefore, you won’t need to add any chemicals to it to remedy the weakness in texture. This type of wood is appropriate for guitar boards. On the other hand, it would be challenging to handle the softness while using items such as carving chisels. This type of wood is very good for carving spoons and bowls. For more information, you can read this article “best wood for spoon carving“.


Basswood is among the most easiest wood to carve. If you are a professional, you probably know that Basswood is a strange choice for this list. However, you should also know that Basswood comes with various species. It means that the hardness level is directly related to the species. Although Basswood may not be the softest wood because it belongs to the hardwood family, it’s one of the easiest to carve.

Silver Fir

Silver Fir belongs to the softwood family, and it is extremely durable. Unfortunately, it is a little too pricy. Silver Fir has a straight grain, which helps the outcome to look more charming.

Black Walnut

Walnut wood is a little more expensive than the others. For landing on the best results, you need to use sharp tools and a mallet (For more information, read this article, “How to sharpen wood carving tools.” This type of wood is great for furniture and gunstocks because of its rich color and grain.

Yellow Buckeye

Interestingly, people used to utilize yellow buckeye to make artificial legs. Nowadays, this wood is mainly used for utility wood, furniture, pulpwood, and boxes. Also, the burl section is a fantastic choice to make electric guitar tops, pen blanks, and other small objects. Yellow Buckeye is one of the easiest wood to carve, which makes it perfect for beginners. However, it will not give your designs a smooth surface, much like cottonwood. 


Aspen is stronger than Basswood while having a quite soft texture. It’s very easy for carvers to apply their design to this type of wood. Besides, it’s not expensive, and it is largely available for everyone.


Balsa is the softest wood ever to carve, which is excellent for beginners. Because of its stunning white color, the products made out of this wood usually stand out among the rest. This particular white color is one of the distinguishable features of this type of wood. The texture of Balsa is so soft that you can cut through it with even a paper-knife. However, it is recommended to use a very sharp wood carving knife. Besides the positive features, high fragility is one weakness with this wood.


Butternut is an excellent choice for furniture because it has a very nice brown color and fantastic grain. While working with this type of wood, you may come across wormholes. So watch out!


Oak is a strong and sturdy kind of wood, and it is more suitable for power carvers.

Black Cottonwood

This type of wood is excellent because it’s super easy to maneuver and apply your design. Of course, the cottonwood bark is much easier wood to carve because of its consistency. Black cottonwood quality is very close to Quaking Aspen, which is mostly used for utility lumber.

Learn about Soft Wood for Carving

The softer the texture of the wood becomes, the more fragile it would be. When you shop for this material, pay attention that the wood you choose does not have any form of damage, such as insect holes or knots. The next step would be picking up smaller pieces because they are basically easier to work with. Despite what you may think, some kind of softwood is actually harder to carve. Although because of its soft texture, it is less waterproof.

Keep in mind that the softness of the grain makes it stain easier, which could be disruptive to your final product. One very known difference between softwood and hardwood is their durability level, which is incredibly lower in softwood compared to the other one. The products made out of softwood may break and crack sooner.

Does Easiest Wood to Carve Mean the Best Wood to Carve?

Well, sometimes we think that easy equals best, especially if we have started something recently. Although it could be true in some circumstances, sometimes it’s the challenge that makes you grow. However, you should not pressure yourself either because if you do, you may get discouraged. We recommend that beginners get to know various types of wood and their specific features and then pick their favorites to master. Bear in mind that different types of wood carving may require a specific kind of wood. Hence, it would be great if you start with a simple one. Surely, you will level up eventually.

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