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Carving is the creation of a decorative object by removing material (such as wood, ivory, stone, and so forth) in order to achieve a desired shape. In Mizahar, carving is usually taught along with Carpentry and Masonry as the novice grows in his/her craft. However, this is not the only way learn such a skill. In villages carving ones furniture or making religious pieces from bone or wood is quite common, especially during a harsh winter where one has to remain inside. Though someone trained in carving can switch between materials and apply the same techniques, different tools are needed for each material and different dangers exist for ruining the piece.



In the early origins of carving, it was said that the Deities of Mizahar came together and sought a way for the people to know their images. Caiyha brought wood and bone before them and said, "Take my children that are no longer alive and construct our images in them." Izurdin made tools to cut and drill, and Nysel sent dreams to the men of Mizahar so that they may create visions of their gods. Later Semele added stone and the gods spoke to people to create hope and beauty in their homes. Once carving become common place the Gods receded allowing the art to transform and grow.

Prerequisites and Maintenance

While a skill such as Blacksmithing can be useful in carving, it is not required. Anyone with the drive and the creative skill can try their hand at carving.

There are many skills that can be used to help augment the carver in his business. Below you can find some examples: Blacksmithing can be very helpful in the creating chisels and other instruments that will need to be replaced, as use will wear them out. Painting can help in the finishing process allowing different stains or lacquering as well. Jewelcrafting will allow placement of jewels into the final pieces. Also Philtering can be used to help create different stains and adhesives.


A carver's tools can be as simple as a knife, a drill, and an abrasive to polish with. Yet when a carver wishes to take on a material like stone it is likely that they will have multiple chisels, drills, rifflers/files/rasps, picks, and mallets to name a few. Without them, statues of polished marble wouldn’t exist. The following list contains the more common and most important pieces of equipment that a carver will have and use. Often, the carver will have to go to a blacksmith to will make replacements or custom tools.

The Chisel


The Chisel is the most basic tool a carver has. Its main use is in wood and stone to make deep cuts on the material in straight lines. Wood chisels will have very sharp points and depending on the depth of material to be taken can use by hand or with a mallet. The mallet is usually used when the depth of wood is more than quarter of an inch or if stone is involved. The chisel comes in different widths and depending on the medium or use a different chisel is chosen.



Gougers are probably the most customized tool besides the file. They remove wood in the shape of the gouge, V gouges and curved gouges are the most common of the carvers tools, and with practice the carver can make a long straight line of uniform depth on tables. Gougers are used mainly in softer materials like wood and ivory, since it relies on the hand strength of the user to do. Gougers can make small dimples as well without the use of a drill. However, if hole has any depth beyond the surface a drill must be employed.

The Drill


The earliest drill was a long rod of wood, a bow, and a stone. The carver would place sand or crush rock at the site in which they wanted the hole to be at, then they would place the rod on top, loop the bow string around the rod and place the stone on top of the rod. Applying pressure to the rod with the stone and moving the bow back and forth, the sand/rock would remove the material; this was a long and lengthy process. Thankfully with Blacksmithing came better drills to handle wood and stone, sadly the bow drill is the only drill that won’t stress ivory.

The File

Files and Rasps

The file is used for creating texture and polishing out rough lines that have been left from the chisel. Though the chisel can destroy a piece by taking too much material or splitting it, the danger in the file is small surface cracks or splintering of wood. The file is the most customized tool in the carvers tool box, and the carver will often go back to the blacksmith for these tools.



Picks use their sharp points to scratch/indent the surface. They are usually used in stone and ivory to cut away hard to reach places, and create a fine edge.



Mallets are employed on the chisel, when the removal of material is so great that arm strength is no longer able to do so. The mallet will leave large marks during the removal process and only should be used during the first stages of carving.


Saws are employed on the first pass of the material. Cutting large excess material away and creating a straight surface, it is more then likely that the carver will have to polish the surface the saw leaves, if the carver wants it to be a finished surface. Saws can generally be applied in all materials.

Other tools

Though mention above are the main tools that a carver will employ, he/she should also have vices to hold the material, a warping tub if the carver wants to bend wood, clay to make miniature for statues, and chalk or charcoal for drawing on the material during cutting.


Carving isn’t just coming up with a general idea of what the artist wants and picking up tools. Depending on the difficulty of the piece, the carver may need to make multiple drawings, or shape a rough piece in clay. The carver could have several practice pieces so that the final cuts on an arm or piece wouldn’t suffer from a fatal mistake. Whatever the material or creative carving the craftsmen wishes to make he/she will go through several steps.


After the carver has come up with his/her idea and chosen a material to carve, he/she needs to make sure that vision isn’t lost during the carving. If the decoration is simple they can draw lines in which gouges and chisels can follow. If trying to create a bust, lines will need to be drawn and redrawn on the piece several times during the process. Generally a drawing will help if the carver is making a relief scene in a door panel or a folk story on ivory. Clay miniatures are used in statues since balance of the piece as well as depth are key factors in carving the stone.

Warping of the Material

This step is usually not used, and when it is done, the most common material is wood. Wood submerged in water will rehydrate itself and become slightly flexible. The carver then can place the wood in a vice and as the wood dries out it will warp to the desired shape. Additionally, the wood will flex only so much before it breaks. The technique is more common to Maskmaking or providing curved ridged beams in Carpentry. Philtering has created several tonics that can be used in this manner for stone and bone, but finding someone who can create such things is rare.

Removal of Large Material

In this step the carver employs the saw first. It is rare that the carver will find a piece that doesn’t need saw work. Even ivory carvers will employ the saw to shorten a tusk or rib for their design. Once the saw has done the large cutting chisels and drills are employed to make rough cuts where the saw can’t go and hollow out the ridges. At this point the carver show be able to see the general shape that he/she desires. The carver now has but a half an inch between the material and the details of his/her carving.

During this step, major pitfalls include cracking or breaking large sections of the piece. Stone can have delicate cracks that, if the carver is not aware of them, can destroy the whole piece. Wood and ivory can split if too much material is being removed with a chisel. A major error at this point would force the carver to start all over again and purchase a new piece.

Note: If the carver has chosen a finished object as his/her piece, i.e. Skulls, tables, a door. The removal of large material probably won’t be employed.


At this point the carver puts away the saw and drill, and then places the representation lines once again on the piece. Hand Chisels and Gougers will be used in this step with nothing more than hand pressure for wood and ivory. Shapes, like eyes and muscles, are added by the carver doing his/her best to add contours. If the carver is creating a relief scene he/she should be able to see generally the entire scene from the sun in the sky to the men in armor. A person looking at the piece should be able to tell what it is and the general meaning.

During this step, major pitfalls include cracking or breaking small sections of the piece. Examples: A carver working on a stone statue may break off an ear or ruin an arm. A wood carver working on a relief scene may destroy a figure in it or break off some of the finish work that he/she previously did. At this point if disaster strikes the carver can try to salvage his/her piece. Drilling holes in the statue and fixing the statue with iron fillings on a new arm is possible. Glues and adhesives from Philtering can restore the damaged wood/ivory. Seams where the carver tried to fix his/her mistake will be apparent, and as a whole the piece will not sale for high prices.

Detail Work

Detail work on tables or writing messages on stone will still use a gouge or chisel respectfully. However, for more complex pieces, files/rasps/rifflers and picks will be used in this step. The carver should not have more than a fingernails width left on his/her carving to take away, and he/she should tread with great care the instruments they choose. Files and rasps will finally take away all the rough ridges left by chisels and the picks will give defined lines and recess a hard edge that can’t be done with a chisel.

During this step, mistakes are not dangerous but will ruin a piece if the observer gets too close. Files can take away a clever smirk on a statue if the carver is not careful. Scratches are the most common mistake and can lead to hours of finishing work to correct. Though the dangers seem small, it’s in this part of the carving that will separate Masters from Journeymen.


At this point the carver is done with this piece. He/She should only be picking up the finest files and picks to complete his/her work. Leather with find grains of sand or crushed stone is used to smooth the material and bring out a shine or luster.

Use of other skills: The carver can now employ Philtering treatments to the piece. He/She can perform gold leafing or lacquering with the appropriate skill. Fit jewels, metal, or cloth to the piece for wear or effect.

The only danger left to the carver and his/her piece is that he/she uses too large of a grain of sand and is forced to refinish the area or he/she can't realize that its done.

Skill Progression

Novice (1-25)
The Novice carver has learned the use of the primary tools and when to use them. They are also capable producing simple carvings. They can fix mistakes that occur in the Detail Work process. Carvings made tend to lack subtle details, a mouth will smile but small lines on the lips or the lips being parted in lust is far beyond their ability. If the carver is working for a master, the master will trust the carver to do Finishing and Removal of Large Material by themselves. If not working for a master the novice has a good chance of committing multiple mistakes during his/her carving.
Competent (26-50)
Competent carvers have been days, if not months honing their skill. The Master will now trust the carver with the Defining stage. Or if the Carver pursues study by themselves, it is likely they will commit one mistake during the carving process.

The carvers objects show balance and well thought out cuts. The Carver knows more about some of the special gougers and files that are used in complex carvings, and the carver might even own a few. His/Her work is asked for in small villages or hamlets. The carver has no fear of making a mistake of proportion in his/her carvings and knows mistakes in Removal of Large Material are almost impossible. He/she should be able to fix mistakes that occur in the Defining stage. The carver should be able to make masks and relief scenes at this level, though fine details will still show the carver needs improvement.

Expert (51-75)
The Expert carver can complete all the steps of carving with only fear of making mistakes on the Detail work stage, but then again what are apprentices for if not fixing those mistakes. The Expert is usually only a masterpiece away from become a full master himself. However the devil is in the details, and the expert knows it. He/she works to hone his/her skill on finishing and detail work so that subtle feelings hidden in his/her piece can be seen by the observer. Statues and busts made by an expert carver are life-like but cold and emotional void. The carver’s name would be known in a city and his/her work sought after by merchants and nobles. The carvers tool chest overfills with tools and his/her shop usually has several novices working in it.
Master (76-100)
The Master carver possesses a skill that will echo throughout time. Carvings made by the Master are sought after across Mizahar, and their name will be known by people long after he/she dies. The master fears none of the mistakes made by carving and is called upon by the temple to make statues of the Gods and Goddesses. He/she has designed several new tools for his/her trade and his/her workshop has multiple tools and apprentices working. Subtitles show through the carvers creations like the sun cutting through clouds, a face in ecstasy, a hand beckoning to a lover, a look of pure lust is not beyond the skill of the master to carve.