Woodworking: Is it an Art or a Craft?

For many, woodworking is simply cutting big boards into smaller boards and assembling those smaller boards into something useful. For others, woodworking is the expression of creativity and emotion. Is woodworking an art or a craft? What are its differences?

For some, woodworking can be both an art and a craft. Either an artisan or woodworker can create aesthetic objects with pleasing looks. You could say that if a person takes wood, tools, and a set of instructions and creates a beautiful chair, that person is a craftsperson. As a result, an artisan will allow the materials to limit their expression. If the craftsman decides to put emotions and meanings to his or her craft, then it can be a form of art.

All artists are craftspeople, but not all craftspeople are artists. Not all craftsmen can produce high-quality arts, wherein they put a lot of feelings and emotions. It is because art is about the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form, such as painting or sculpture, produces works that are valued primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

Art VS. Craft – What’s The Difference?

People often think of art as something that we only find in a museum. If you look at some items made by individuals, whether they are woodworking, pottery, stained glass, or whatever, have you ever wondered whether that person who created it is an artist? Does an item need to be in a museum or an art? A professional craftsman can make beautiful creations, but is that art?

Craft refers to the small-scale production of goods made by hand. It can be a past-time or a profession that requires specific skills and knowledge to produce an outcome. On the other hand, art is a method of deliberately arranging element that is appealing to senses and emotions. It encompasses a wide variety of human activities, inventions, and modes of expression like in the form of music, literature, movie, sculpture, and painting.

The word ‘craft’ came from a German word Kraft, meaning strength or skill. When the craftsman creates his concept or dream, then he uses his abilities to make it possible, his art. Do you want to choose the plans and execute them flawlessly? But are you more likely to think of your thoughts and then work out how to make them? In any art, these are equally legitimate activities.

What Is A Wood Art?

Wood arts is a link between man and nature. When humans started using tools, the relationship between man and Wood has begun and continues until today. Wood art refers to the use of Wood to make wooden items that are both functional and decorative. Sculptures, dishes, wooden walls, and abstract decorative objects are the most popular wooden arts. In addition, wooden instruments are also prevalent.

Besides being attractive, wood carving often poses many obstacles for artists and craftsmen. It is because Wood requires proper treatment due to decay and damage sensitivity. Leaning woodworking skills may take a while, but it is essential in creating outstanding projects. Moreover, wood art artist prefers using several techniques and tools to achieve unique results. 

What Are The Different Types Of Wood Arts? 

Wood arts refers to creating crafts with a passion for touching the feelings and emotions of every user. Every artistic work on Wood may refer to as the art of woodworking. According to several factors like technique, function, material, and aesthetics. The four common wood arts types are as follows.

  • Wood arts of engraving and carving.
  • Wood arts that make up the architecture and craft.
  • Wood arts produced by woodworking techniques.
  • Wood arts involving stick bits of Wood to each other

Engraving And Carving

This type of wood arts is ancient and accessible in all countries. For this style of craft, it involves cutting and molding of Wood by a sharp tool for the creation of the final product. Typically the end product has a volume and is three-dimensional. For example, Chip carving is a wood carving technique that started in Germany, where knives or chisels are the primary tools. It involves the removal of small wood chips from the flat surface of a piece. It was also popular in the manufacture of wooden jewelry and intricately crafted dishes. 

For this sculpture, the artist first sketches a geometric design with wood details and then picks up additional parts of the design with a knife. On the other hand, African Wood Art is one of the oldest methods of engraving in Africa. In this art, the ebony Wood is a common option. Then, carvings often represent tribal myths and stories. Like most of the African art, it involves beautiful and simple elongated curves and lines.

Architecture And Craft

The second type of wood arts are architecture and craft, or some call it as the “Design and Illustration” on the Wood. This category of wood art involves a variety of methods. In any case, the artist intends to create a drawing or a painting on a wooden surface. It can be in the form of wood painting, sandblasting, and even wood-burning.

Woodworking Techniques

Any type of Wood is suitable for this wood art, but usually involves walnut wood, alder, oak wood, and ash wood. Some of the most common products of this art include wooden dishes, furniture, and other wooden objects.

Sticking Pieces of Wood

This type of wood art is the least popular but still creates beautiful objects. It involves Wood mosaic art, wood inlay art, and Geometric wood art. From the world itself, the artist creates a wooden object through pieces of Wood. The goal is to create a unique, beautiful, and functional type of wood art. For example, kinetic wood art involves moving wooden structures.

This artwork is a blend of woodworking and mechanical engineering. In this art, moving the various components of the work is achieved by steam or clockwise turning. It also uses natural phenomena such as wind or wave force. Wood arts may be abstract sculptures or geometric forms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Wood Carving Difficult?

It may look intimidating and hard at first, but wood carving may not be that difficult once you get out of it. However, take note that it requires the willingness to learn using different tools and applying techniques. Just like other hobbies, wood carving involves patience, practice, and persistence. Moreover, wood carving is a great way to relax and express your thoughts and creativity. Not to mention, starting this kind of activity is not that expensive.

What Is the Difference Between a Carpenter and a Woodworker?

People often think that a carpenter is the same as a woodworker. There may be some similarities because both build things out of Wood. However, there are some differences. A carpenter usually works outdoors in most construction sides. Moreover, the job often involves the building of massive projects like homes. A woodworker, on the other hand, typically works in a factory or a workshop. Most of the projects involve arts and crafts in small to medium sizes.

Is Woodworking a Craft?

Woodworking can be a craft or an art, depending on how the woodworker sees his objects. If he or she is doing it for commercial purposes and massive production, then it can be in the form of craft. However, if the woodworker used all his creativity, passion, soul, and emotions to convey a message through his works, then it can be an art in the form of woodworking.


A craft starts to become art once the artist starts to pour some of his feelings to express his thoughts and touch other people’s emotions. Woodworking can be both an art and a craft. It all depends on the artist on how he treats his projects. For example, we can call a carpenter who creates homes for other people on a contractual basis as a craftsman. However, if the carpenter builds homes to express his passion and leave a mark or legacy, then we can call him an architectural artist.

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