For those of us who want cool weapons and armor and things but cannot afford them, we have the motivation to whittle them from wood. When making weapons of this kind, it is important to use solid wood that isn’t too thin to help prevent it from breaking. This applies both to weapons being used as decoration and to those that are not. If the weapon is intended to look like it could actually be used as a weapon rather than something interesting hanging on a wall, then the limitations of the material must be taken into account. For example, one should not expect wood to slice through things as if it is metal just because the edge of the weapon has been whittled into a very fine line. It is more realistic to make a spear of club and expect the weapon to act like a spear or club. (Of course, since I only approve of these things being used as decorations, I mostly concern myself with the visual aspects apart from the overall quality.)
The process of whittling takes varying amounts of time depending on the project. Personally, it isn’t unusual for me to spend several days on a single weapon, but I’ve been able to finish in mere hours for projects that are rather small and simple. For example, if I’m whittling and putting details into a club between one and two feet long, it’ll take about half a week.
I use a variety of different knives when I work depending on what I’m doing (smaller knives for detail work and larger knives for pretty much everything else). I always have the blade of the knife facing away from me and most of the work is done by moving the knife away from me in a slightly diagonal line. The diagonal line changes direction depending on which hand I’m using to hold the knife, so if I’m using my right hand the knife goes away and to my right, and if it’s my left hand it goes away and to my left. Whatever I’m whittling stays in the same location the whole time provided that no one startles me and makes me lose my grip. Something like that happened to me once and it was annoying (minor thumb injury – no big deal, but it could’ve been worse).
It is important to choose the right wood for each project. Softer wood makes it easier to put interesting details into the project, but it also makes it easier to make a mistake. The quality of the wood is important because, for example, if insects have burrowed into the wood, it’d compromise the structural integrity of the project and make it more likely to break. Bending and cracking the wood can also accomplish this.
Naturally the quality of the wood is important for more than just weapons. It should be an essential concern regardless of the kind of project. Otherwise, you could end up whittling a piece of wooden armor that fits you perfectly, but that couldn’t be used often or at all because it is too likely to break to be reliable. Or you could make yourself an end table which eventually falls apart because it has been so thoroughly gnawed on by insects. Apart from the quality of the wood, another very important thing is to practice. Take the time to learn and practice basic skills and start improving from there. The reason people say that a lot is because it actually does help.