These are the 4 main types of carving wood:
Whittling: This style of carving wood is perhaps one of the oldest and simplest. All you need to get started with this woodcarving style is a good quality carving knife and a piece of wood. In this technique, bits of wood are cut away from a block of wood until the design the carver has in mind, takes shape. Most of the accomplished wood carvers who use this technique, use only the carving knife for both roughing and detailing work. Typically, the design is not smoothened using a sand paper; the knife strokes are noticeably visible and those are what characterizes the final piece.
Carving-in-the-round: This is a more advanced form of woodcarving that can produce sculptures and structures, which are more lifelike with more details and smoother texture. The carving knife alone cannot accomplish the task. Therefore, for this technique of carving wood, the carver needs to make use of tools of various shapes and sizes. Such tools include hand tools like gouges, chisels, etc., and even power tools with various types of blades, burs, abrasive points, etc.
Relief Carving: Relief carved woodwork is three dimensional. It can be described as a form of woodwork that chips away bits of wood from a flat stock, such that the carving appears to be rising out of the wood. Typically, carving knife, chisel and hammer are used in this technique of carving wood. However, many carvers also employ power tools to quicken the process of removing unwanted materials from the wood. Depending on how raised is the carving from the back of the wood, it can be categorized as ‘high relief’ or ‘low relief’.
Chip Carving: In this method of carving wood, selected portions of wood are chipped away to give shape to a particular design. Theoretically speaking, in chip carving there are only two levels on the wood, one is the wood surface and the other is the point where the cut meets. Free form patterns or geometric shapes can be carved through this technique. Even this this style of carving wood, is one of the simplest, but it needs considerable time and patience to master it.