Learn the oldest style of woodcarving with chip-carving courses

Open endless possibilities of creation with this relaxing and easy to learn craft.

Rick Bissonnette, who is now president of the Cincinnati Carvers Guild, began woodcarving in 2011 when two of his sons took a beginners’ class. Has has since gotten hooked on the relaxing, stress-relieving hobby and has learned various types of woodcarving.

Like many woodcarvers, Bissonnette began with chip carving, the oldest style of wood carving. Rather than carving wood into a shape with a variety of knives and gouges, chip carving is done to a wooden object that has already been shaped. Chip carvers cut small chips out of the wood, using only one knife for most cuts. A secondary type of knife is sometimes used to add accents, but is not required.

“The simplicity of chip carving enables carvers to quickly begin expressing themselves by producing surprisingly high-quality pieces. The relatively repetitive nature of chip carving makes it very relaxing, yet it keeps one's mind actively engaged so it is not boring,” Bissonnette said. “Once the basics are learned, carvers can develop their own design patterns. Through a series of geometric or freestyle designs, there are limitless possibilities. Chip carving is an art form that's complete in itself.”

Bissonnette enjoys sharing the excitement of chip carving and teaching others how they can carry on the tradition. He will bring the craft to Communiversity for two new chip carving classes this fall.

square piece of wood with decorative carvings

In Beginners Chip Carving, students will learn the basics of chip carving, including the various types and cutting techniques. They will be given the opportunity to practice on a separate board before carving their own decorative plaque.

Beginners Chip Carving takes place on Thursdays between Oct. 11-23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on UC Victory Parkway Campus. The course fee of $169 includes all materials.

In spite of the simplicity of chip carving, it is also very versatile, which allows beginners to grow once they begin creating their own designs. There is a wide variety of items available for chip carvers, including plaques, boxes, crosses, napkin holders and rings, candle holders, kitchenware, furniture, clocks, and more. More experienced woodcarvers can also shape items to carve themselves, which opens up more possibilities.

star ornaments made from wood carvings

Beginning chip carvers can use their skills to transform wooden ornaments in Bissonnette’s second course, Chip Carving Ornaments. While the Beginners Chip Carving course will help students in this course, it is not required.

In Chip Carving Ornaments, students will select from a variety of available shapes and designs to carve three ornaments of their choosing. If desired, highlights can be painted onto the ornaments.

Chip Carving Ornaments takes place on Thursdays from November 29 to December 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The course fee of $119 covers all supplies.

To register for chip carving courses, visit our website or call (513) 556-6932 and press 2.

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Communiversity offers fun and innovative continuing education courses to enrich the lives of those around Cincinnati and beyond. With locations both on UC Victory Parkway Campus and around Cincinnati, Communiversity makes it easy for working professionals, retirees, and other lifelong learners to develop new skills and hobbies.