Master wood carvers in Thailand centuries ago were Buddhist monks and then later when the art was used by the ordinary citizens the craft and its secrets were sometimes passed down from generation to generation. Each master crafter had their own special techniques they use, and these were closely guarded as this was their livelihood.
Many of these wood crafters fashioned their own tools for the intricate detailing they worked on. These are today’s wood carving tools, which are similar if not exactly what they used: 3 types of Fishtail gouges. A V-parting tool, 4 straight gouges, 3 spoon gouges, and a carver’s mallet. Each of these tools had a special purpose in making their highly decorated works. Work often depicts nature in all its vitalic glory, serene religious figures and wonderful mythical figures from Thai history as well as scenes from their lovely abundant natural surroundings of jungles, hills, and lands. Nature is an abiding and spiritual motivator for the artworks of these master craftsmen. The Thai wood carvers are now giving lesson and workshops in their techniques in this art form to a younger generation of enthusiastic wood crafters and so passing this wonderfully detailed artform down to future generations.