Skew cuts in wood carving

Wood carving is a beautiful and intricate art that has been around for centuries. It involves creating intricate designs and shapes out of wood using specialized tools such as chisels, gouges, and knives. One of the essential tools in wood carving is a carving knife, which allows you to make precise cuts and shapes in the wood. In this article, we will focus on one specific technique of wood carving: the skew cut.

Skew cuts in wood carving

What is a skew cut?

A skew cut is a type of cut that is made at an angle to the direction of the wood grain. It is done by holding the carving knife at an angle and using a slicing motion to remove small pieces of wood. The angle of the cut can vary, and different angles can be used to create different effects.

Skew cuts are often used in wood carving to create decorative elements such as curves, angles, and bevels. They are also used to create fine details such as feathered edges, intricate textures, and delicate patterns.
Skew cuts in wood carving

Types of skew cuts

There are several types of skew cuts that are commonly used in wood carving:
  • The straight skew cut - This is the most basic type of skew cut, where the knife is held at a slight angle and the cut is made straight across the wood.
  • The rolling skew cut - This is where the knife is rolled slightly as it is pushed across the wood, creating a curved cut.
  • The slicing skew cut - This is where the knife is held at a steeper angle and used to slice off thin layers of wood.
  • The combination skew cut - This is where two or more skew cuts are combined to create a more complex shape or pattern.

Tips for making skew cuts

  • Hold the knife at a consistent angle - To make clean and precise skew cuts, it is essential to hold the knife at a consistent angle throughout the cut.
  • Use a slicing motion - Skew cuts are made by using a slicing motion, rather than a chopping motion. This helps to create a smooth and even cut.
  • Keep the knife sharp - A sharp knife is essential for making clean and precise skew cuts. Dull knives can cause the wood to tear or splinter, making it more difficult to achieve the desired effect.
  • Practice on scrap wood - If you are new to skew cuts, it can be helpful to practice on scrap pieces of wood before working on your actual project.


The skew cut is a versatile and essential technique in wood carving. It allows carvers to create a wide range of shapes, angles, and textures, making it a valuable tool for creating intricate designs and patterns. By following these tips and practicing regularly, you can master the art of skew cuts and take your wood carving skills to the next level.