How Long Do Wood Carvings Typically Last?

Wood carvings take a lot of time and skill to make, so it’s important that they last as long as possible. Since some wood carvings are indoors and some are outdoors, the care and maintenance will vary from carving to carving. 

However, it’s good to have a general idea of how long wood carvings last. So, how long do they typically last? 

Wood carvings typically last decades if given the proper care and maintenance, and that starts with the carving itselfOpens in a new tab.. Things that affect a wood carving’s lifespan include sunlight, harsh weather conditions, and lack of sealers. A wood carving that is kept indoors generally won’t need as much care as one that’s outdoors. All of these elements are also taken in consideration to determine their worthOpens in a new tab..

The rest of this article will discuss how long wood carvings last in greater detail. It will also discuss how to properly care for wood carvings so that they can remain intact for many decades (and even centuries). Keep reading if you’re interested in learning more! 

How Long Do Wood Carvings Typically Last?

Wood carvings can last centuries if made of high-quality wood and kept away from the sunlight and harsh weather conditions, like rain and snow. Too much moisture can cause a wood carving to decay and could even cause mold growth, so they should always be kept dry. 

The HinduOpens in a new tab.

Things That Lower the Lifespan of a Wood Carving

I’ve briefly talked about things that lower the lifespan of a wood carving, but now I want to discuss them in more detail. Once you know the things that can negatively affect your wood carving’s lifespan, you can avoid them and ensure your art stays intact for as long as possible! 

How Long Should Green Wood Dry Before Carving?

Harsh Weather Conditions

One of the big things that can lower a wood carving’s lifespan is the weather. Any weather that involves high levels of humidity will be bad news for your wood carving, so it’s best to avoid that. 

Mold can grow on wood because it’s highly porousOpens in a new tab., and it can be difficult to remove thoroughly. Sometimes, you may even need to use chemicals to remove mold from wood. This can further damage or discolor your wood carving. 

As well as mold growth, too much water and moisture can cause rotting. This means that your carving will deteriorateOpens in a new tab. and won’t last very long before it gets completely ruined. 

Avoiding these issues is simple—keep your wood carving away from any harsh weather conditions.

You should keep your carving indoors if you live in a place with high humidity levels. If it’s also too humid indoors, you should consider buying a dehumidifier for the room you wish to place the carving. 


Sunlight can be detrimental to wood carvings because it will cause them to discolor, giving them a bleached look. If the color of your wood carving is important to you, the number one thing you should do is keep it out of sunlight. 

Of course, it’s not always possible to keep a carving out of direct sunlight. If that’s the case, you should at least apply a sealer on the wood to protect it. For example, you can also cover it on sunny days with a large tarp or umbrella. 

An example of a sealer is the Howard SunShield Outdoor Furniture WaxOpens in a new tab., available from Amazon. This wax sealer has UV protection, so it should prevent discoloration. Besides protecting it from UV rays, it also protects the wood in general and will also give it a nice glossy finish. It’s certainly worth it if you’re keeping your carving outdoors. 

HOWARD SWAX16 Outdoor Furniture Wax, 16 Fl Oz (Pack of 1), Yellow Opens in a new tab.
  • Prevents further drying and fading of wood finishes due to sun exposure, temperature variations, and...
  • Enhances the natural beauty and depth of grain as it protects your wood furniture
  • Unique formula combines UV inhibitors with a blend of carnauba wax, beeswax, and orange oil

Last update on 2024-04-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Low-Quality Materials

If a wood carving is made of low-quality wood, it likely won’t last as long. For example, Aspen wood is a popular cheap carving wood. However, it generally begins to deteriorate within a few years. On the other hand, a wood like black walnut is more durable and will likely last longer. 

So, if you want a wood carving to last decades, you’ll need to make sure you’re using high-quality wood. 

Another thing to consider is how the carving was made. Wood should have a moisture content of 8-12%Opens in a new tab. when carved. If it’s moister than this, it will be too soft to work with. On the other hand, it will be too brittle to work with if it’s too dry, and some parts might fall off or chip away. 

Therefore, making a wood carving with the wrong moisture level could severely lower its lifespan. 

Sealing Wood Carvings

I already mentioned how it’s crucial to seal wood carvings if you’re leaving them outdoors and in direct sunlight. However, it’s still important to seal the ones you plan on keeping indoors. 

Although some people may not think it’s necessary, it will ensure your carvings remain protected. You can use the same sealer for all carvings, whether indoors or outdoors. So the one recommended from Amazon earlier is appropriate for any carving. 

How To Make a Wood Carving Last As Long as Possible

To make a wood carving last as long as possible, you should keep it indoors and away from direct sunlight as much as possible. Additionally, you should use a sealer for protection every three or four years. Using a sealer once won’t protect it for life, so you need to reapply it. 

Using a sealer every few years will give the carving the protection it needs to last, and keeping it indoors will protect it even more. You should also keep it away from any young children or animals who might break or damage the carving. 

Unfortunately, even with sealer, animals and humans can accidentally damage wood carvings!

WATCH – Wood Carving Finish – A Beginners Guide with Tips and Techniques To Protect Your Wood Carvings 

Carving is FunOpens in a new tab.
How Long Should Green Wood Dry Before Carving?

Final Words

The amount of time a wood carving will last depends on many factors. This includes what wood the carving is made of, how it is made, and how often you apply sealer. The lifespan of the carving will also depend on weather conditions and where you store it.

Typically, a wood carving will last decades if taken care of properly and kept indoors. To keep it as protected as possible, you should use a wood sealer every three or four years. If left outdoors, try to cover the carving on sunny days with a tarp or umbrella. 


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Caraca's self-taught artist based in the UK, Ines explores unconventional materials and sustainability.

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