How To Cut Block Ice? (Carving Tips)

Block ice is a prized product that is quite popular because of its many advantages. When you are drinking a fine glass of scotch or any other drink, clear block ice simply adds to the luxury and makes the drink even better.

Since block ice melts really slowly because of its low surface area, it lasts longer and has a low dilution rate. This is why block ice is loved by everyone around the world.

However, carving block ice requires a little bit of skill as it is not your ordinary ice. Here are some tips that will help you in carving block ice perfectly without making a mess.

How To Cut Block Ice- Best Ice Carving Tips

Ice carving tips

Here are some easy block ice cutting ideas and carving tips. Before starting the cutting process, you should ensure that you’ve all the tools and knives for ice carving.

You need the following tools for cutting block ice-

  • A large serrated knife.
  • A large cutting board.
  • A mallet.
  • A sharp paring knife and linen.

1. Melt the outer layer

Before you cut the ice, it is extremely important to temper it first. The more you will temper the block ice, the more easily you will be able to carve it. When you take out the block ice from a refrigerator, you will notice that it has a foggy layer on it.

To carve the block ice properly, wait till this layer is gone and the ice is adjusted to room temperature. As soon as you notice that the block ice is crystal clear from all sides, it means that block ice is tempered and you can move to the next step.

2. Choose the right tool

Firstly, ensure that you are working on a steady and nonstick surface. If the block ice is small then you can opt for a wooden cutting board or else you can also use a towel that won’t let the block ice slip.

Other than that, you will require a serrated knife, a mallet, an ice pick, and linen. Go for serrated blades as they have jagged teeth that penetrate the block ice well.

Do not carve block ice until you have the proper tools for it as you may end up ruining it. Choose products that make you feel comfortable.

3. Start from center

No matter what the size of the ice block is, the trick is to cut it from the center always. This will not only give you clear-cut ice but also has less fracturing.

Place the block ice on a non-slippery surface and then hold it with an ice pick. Also, remember that you use a big knife to cut block ice. Saw a line across the center of the block ice and gently cut it.

4. Hammer the block ice

After you have marked a line across the centre of the block ice, it is now time to hammer it. Take your knife and place it firmly on the mark.

Next, take your mallet and tap the top of your knife with it. If your block ice is tempered properly then you will see that the ice splits into halves when you hammer it a few times.

However, if you face any difficulty during this process then it is because the block ice is not tempered properly. Leave it for 10-15 minutes more and then try again.

Once you have two halves of the block ice, repeat the process of finding the center, marking it, and then hammering it till you get the size of block ice of your preference.

5. Fix the imperfections

No one gets the skill of carving on the first go so do not be discouraged if the block ice is not as perfect as you thought it would be. Get a nice paring knife and use it to fix the imperfections.

You can shave off the edges of the block ice and make it perfect. While shaping the block ice, if you are taking the ice in your hands then see to it that you put linen over your hand. This way, the ice will not slip and you will not hurt yourself.

6. Handcrafting

You can mould block ice into any shape that you want to make the presentation look aesthetic. For instance, if you want spherical ice then take the block ice and hold it firmly in your hand.

Remove the corners using an ice pick and use a paring knife to shape the block ice. Keep moving the ice in your hand to give it a spherical shape.

For this, you need to have a steady hand and a lot of practice. If you are a beginner then start by working on block ice of square shape and then experiment later.


These were some tips that you should follow while carving block ice. Have patience because this is an art and requires skill and time.

Serve your customer’s or your guest’s luxurious drinks by adding block ice into them. Not to forget, the process of carving block ice is extremely therapeutic and calming so enjoy it.