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Relief wood carvings are flat on the back and the image is carved in 3-dimension on the front. This style is often used for scenes like in churches or on objects such as gun stocks. But can be a carving of any subject and is usually displayed by hanging on a wall. As with other styles, it may be painted, stained, or left natural.
Whittling is perhaps the oldest style of woodcarving and is done with a basic carving knife, as in the old cowboy movies. When the carving is completed you can see 'knife marks' signaling that the carving isn't smooth. This carving also can be painted or left natural.
Carving in the round is a carving that is completed all the way around and is more 'life-like' on the surface. It might be a person or an animal, maybe a bird such as a duck decoy; it might be big or small; it might be to scale or life-size.
Chip carving is when chip knives are used to remove "chips" or small pieces of wood. In theory, chip carvings have just two levels: the wood surface, and the point just below the surface where the wood cuts meet. Carvings can be free hand or based on different shapes such as triangles, circles, simple lines, and curves.