The Advantages of Machine Carving Over Hand Carving

Posted  on by Heartwood Carving, Inc.

The Advantages of Machine Carving Over Hand Carving

Woodcarving is an artform that traces back centuries. Woodworkers painstakingly created designs that have embellished the interiors of ornate homes for a long time. Although there’s a lot to be said about hand carvings, these pieces take a lot of time and dedication to create, not to mention schooling and apprenticeship that does not generally exist. With carved trim growing in popularity, many have realized the need to make these pieces more accessible to their eager market. A new method has been introduced to do so.

Enter Machine Carving

CNC (computer numerical control) carving has actually been around far longer than any of us may realize. In fact, early concepts for machine carving have been around since 1751. It wasn’t until the 1950s, however, when the design became more refined.

With CNC carving, intricate designs are programmed into a computer program. At Heartwood Carving, software is used to create 3D models, and the CNC machine uses this information to make the parts. The programming process allows us to produce precise, fine details exactly how they’re initially envisioned. The machines create repeatable standards that are the same each time as is needed for ornamental wood mouldings. Since the design has been carefully programmed, the machine can produce several pieces without discrepancies. Since the designs are digital , scaling the art to accommodate various sizes or custom requests can be accommodated rather quickly.


When individuals have pieces that they’d like to recreate, machine carving can reproduce them with precision. Even if you plan out a sketch to hand carve a piece, there’s no telling how well you can replicate it. Creating an accurate 3D model through scanning or from a designer using 3D software allows you to see a rendered version of the piece before machining and since CNCs are so accurate what you see in rendered form is really what you will get in wood form.

A Wider Audience

The use of machine carving allows companies to broaden their offering to a wider audience. Machine carving allows carvers to increase the number of products they can produce including multiple sizes and profiles. Although the designing process can take a significant amount of time, the carving process takes far less time than it would by hand. This frees up the craftsman to work in design and details rather than sweat and dust. The result is customers quickly receive the exact project they’ve envisioned, and at an economical price. While a hand carving can cost you several hundred or thousand dollars reflecting the hours of time taken, a machine carved piece can be had in a fraction of the time and presumably a fraction of the price. Heartwood Carving positions its portfolio to offer a diversity of product and pricing so anyone can afford a beautiful carved wood piece for their window or door casing, range hood, fireplace, kitchen island, furniture or cabinetry.

There’s much to be said for hand carving—it’s an art that deserves appreciation and will thrive for years to come. However even hand carvers of the Renaissance were known to put the most modern techniques into their works, today they would use CNCs. 

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