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Wood carving, house carving: description with photo, work technique and ornament patterns
Wood carving, house carving: description with photo, work technique and ornament patterns

Facades made in ethnic style are distinguished by bright folk craft - house carving, or woodcarving. The decor of the frontal part of the house is geometric, animal and floral ornaments, intricate plots. An artistic composition is carved on wood with a special carpentry tool. All thread elements are most often removable. The carved parts are superimposed on the roofing plowshares and platbands after the ornament has been cut out. The exception is the columns and doors of the house, in the case of which the carving is applied directly to the building.

The history of the craft

house woodcarving sketches

One of the oldest ways of wood carving - house carving - originated on the banks of the Volga under the hands of architects who decorated the bow of the ships. The patterns displayed the flora and fauna, symbols associated with the water element. Because of its origin, house carving is often referred to as ship carving.

Simple wood texture, easily exposed toprocessing, allowed even ordinary peasants to decorate their homes. The financial situation and status of the family were reflected in the size and complexity of the ornament and wooden lace.

Inhabitants of the Middle Volga region at the beginning of the 19th century adopted the experience of shipbuilders, starting to decorate skates and roofs of houses with patterns. The type of creativity gained popularity over time, and the craftsmen began to decorate the rest of the elements of the buildings.

At that time, house carving and wood carving were a laborious and complex process. Which was done entirely by hand. The work was complicated by a large scale; the material for the work was hard and durable wood - spruce, pine - capable of withstanding the sultry heat and harsh winter for a long time.

house wood carving

Craft Development

As art developed, "art" was applied not only to shutters and architraves, but also to gates, gates, railings and cornices. House woodcarving was not only a decorative finish, but also a kind of amulet for the family, designed to protect people from evil spirits. Now some residents of country houses also hold this opinion.

The popularity of ship carving by the middle of the 19th century reached such heights that drawings began to be applied to watch cases, furniture and mirror frames. Masters carved plant and animal ornaments intertwined. As well as fantastic animals and mythical characters, openwork abstractions, not burdened with specific plots. Wood carving stencils passed down in familiescarpenters from generation to generation. This craft was highly valued.

House carving eventually became an integral part of the decorative decoration of houses in Russia. The modern version of creativity has lost its mythical meaning, retaining only the beauty of the ornament.

Wood species for work

house carving pictures

Master joiners for house carving often choose oak, birch, linden, walnut, alder or pear wood. These breeds have excellent qualities:

  1. Small carved decorative elements are made from linden blanks. The soft structure of wood does not allow large finishing details to be made from it. However, the malleability of the structure makes basswood an ideal material for woodworking beginners.
  2. Oak wood is used to create artistic compositions that can be stored outdoors for many years. Due to the high strength of oak, you can create massive decorative elements without fear of cracking and deformation.
  3. The structure of birch wood is distinguished by clear lines; small compositions are made from this breed, combined into one whole.
  4. Lightweight openwork overlays are not made of walnut - this wood is too heavy for them. Polishing gives walnut a spectacular look, so it is used to create massive elements - gates, doors, columns.
  5. Resistance to cracking and warping makes pear a versatile wood species. Blanks from it are easily covered with complex carvings with a large number of smalldetails.
  6. Alder is quite rare in building decor, as it is mainly used to create pieces of furniture. This is explained by the possibility of imitation of valuable wood species.
  7. Coniferous wood is rarely used for house carving. Despite the tendency to crack and fibrous structure, they are popular because of the pliability and affordable price. Competently executed house carving and coniferous wood carving retains its integrity for many years.

Types of techniques

wood carving stencils

A distinctive feature of house wood carving patterns is the frequent repetition of the ornament and plot on different elements of the building. Craftsmen use several different techniques to decorate:

  1. Deaf embossed. A non-through relief is applied to a homogeneous background surface. In this technique, floral ornaments, mythical creatures and plot pictures are carved on the platbands, gates and pediments.
  2. Flat-relief. Sketches of house wood carving in this technique imply knocking out the background, not the pattern - it remains flat.
  3. Openwork welt. The method of applying a through pattern, typical for the implementation of overhead elements. In the photographs, house woodcarving looks like weightless, light lace.
  4. Contour technique. Often used by novice carpenters due to ease of execution. Complex sketches in this technique are not performed; drawings are carefully traced with a little pressure with tools.

The basics of woodcarving

Working in the technique of house carving always begins with contour carving. The simplest type does not require experience and professional skills. Wood is selected based on quality and cost: for training, material of the middle price category is suitable. It is irrational to use valuable wood species for the first attempts at house carving, and low-quality raw materials can discourage the desire to develop in the chosen direction.

Preparation for work

house wood carving photo

Carpentry requires not only competent preparation of tools and materials, but also safety precautions. The protection of the he alth and life of the master depends on it. The safety rules for carpentry are as follows:

  1. All work is carried out indoors with good ventilation or outdoors.
  2. Mandatory requirement - protective gloves, respirator and goggles. When working with the tool, the organs of vision and breathing must be protected from foreign bodies.
  3. All work should preferably be carried out during daylight hours or in good light.

Tools and materials are prepared in advance. The main inventory includes a milling cutter or a jigsaw with a set of files, a manual or electric drill, a set of sandpaper of different grain sizes. Woodcarving is performed using varnish, brushes of different thicknesses and shapes, a set of wood paints.


wood carving templates

Architectural elements on which will belocated decorative carving, carefully measured. It is permissible to create a house project in compliance with proportions and scale. The purchase of wood is carried out after: it is advisable to purchase completely dried materials directly from the warehouse. There should be no visible defects on the tree. Overhead elements are made from a board with a thickness of 2.5 centimeters.

Ready-made templates for "art" are offered in specialized literature, which facilitates the work of carpenters who do not have artistic skills. Schemes and photos of house woodcarving are easily transferred to paper at the required scale. Sketches are also developed in various graphics programs; they are drawn by hand with a pencil or a special pen on lined paper in full size.

ornament pattern

The contours of the finished drawing are transferred to thick cardboard in order to cut out the stencil. The template is transferred to the wood blank with a simple pencil. A complex ornament is redrawn several times with a gradual shift of the stencil. Woodcarving is started after drawing.

Installation of decorative elements

house wood carving cornices

Before installation, wooden carvings are covered with paint and varnish, preventing their premature destruction. Details are attached to the facade of the building in the simplest way - with nails. Hats are masked, painted over in the color of wood. Decorative elements fixed with special furniture nails without hats or dowels look more aesthetically pleasing: fasteners are not visible fromside, making the connection strong.

It is not recommended to use glue in house carving. Compounds do not guarantee the necessary strength of the connection and can lead to the destruction of wood.

The golden rule of house carving is symmetry and the principle of mirroring. Before the final installation, the identity of the ornament and products must be checked.


The unique art of house carving has undergone significant changes over the centuries since its inception. Spectacular and unique decorative elements that were previously used to decorate homes, today play the role of aesthetic architectural delights, attracting attention.

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