5 Best Wood Carving Tools [2020 Update]
Woodcarvers require very specific tools for projects. These can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look.
Some carving tools available online have plastic handles and may not last long. You should ideally avoid these.
Ultimately, quality is what matters when it comes to carving tools. Here is a useful list of best wood carving tools you can consider purchasing:
Top 5 Best Wood Carving Tools – 2020
The Stalwart woodcarving kit is made especially for DIY home improvement projects. It’s recommended for trimming, edging, veining, grooving, and other woodworking essentials.
This 24-piece kit includes these things:
An Allen wrench, straight bits, mortising bits, cove bits, cutter bits, and a wood case to neatly store all the items.
The casing is highly protective of the bits inside, especially the router bits. The wooden case is also very sturdy.
The most important perk:
All the parts included in this kit are highly durable. Everything down to the storage case is made to last with high-end materials.
Why are high-quality materials important?
Woodworking is highly dependent on precision and accuracy. Using inauthentic material may ruin your project or cause the end product to be unstable.
You should be aware that the tools included in this kit are for home projects only. The tools may break easily when used in professional-grade projects.
Use the tools with recommended materials only. Some customers have reported certain items breaking under certain circumstances.
The price of the toolkit is very generous. Overall, this product is quite ideal for hobbyists who don’t want to spend a fortune on woodcarving tools.
- Made with high-quality material
- Sturdy storage case
- 24 pieces included
- Affordable price tag
- Items may break under certain conditions
- Not for professional use
This knife has a thin, tapered blade. The blade is made from laminated steel so it’s sharp straight out of the box.
The knife is 9 inches long and the blade is about 2.4 inches long. The blade is 2.7 mm thick. The handle is made from oiled birch wood.
Why invest in this knife?
It’s ergonomically designed. Even as a new purchase, it’s perfect for whittling.
The blade is not particularly big but it’s beveled on the side. With the razor-sharp edge, this is exactly what artisans need for carving.
Keep in mind that it’s not a double beveled knife. A bevel on one side is much safer and it’s much less likely to injure you.
Fun fact about the brand:
Morakniv is a Swedish fine artisanship business that’s been operating since 1891. The brand has worldwide recognition when it comes to the best wood carving tools.
The knife is super sharp upon arrival, but it will become dull with use. You will need to learn how to sharpen in properly because it can be a cumbersome task.
This carving knife is superb in every way. But there’s one issue:
The product comes with only a limited warranty. You will need to take photos and make your case to return it.
- Razor sharp right out of the box
- Laminated steel blade
- Beveled on one side
- Great for whittling
- Ergonomic handle
- Well-known Swedish brand
- Warranty is limited
This is a made-in-the-USA, all-purpose carving tool kit for beginners. Even some pros may find these essential tools quite useful.
Here are the items included in the set:
A cutting knife, a detail knife, a sweep gouge, one V tool, and a free tool roll included with all purchases.
The blades of the knives are made from carbon steel. This type of metal is known for sturdiness and exceptional sharpness.
The cutting tools are razor sharp upon arrival. You don’t need to sharpen them right away and it would be a while until you actually need to.
What these tools are really great for:
The toolkit is near perfect for small-scale carvings. These items can handle some medium-level projects too, but don’t expect to exclusively use them for difficult, professional-grade projects.
All the knives have ergonomic, natural wooden handles. The handles are soft to hold and very comfortable even during long carving sessions.
The carving knife included doesn’t have a beveled side. So it cuts right through the wood without resistance. But for beginners, this type of knife might be risky to use.
Also, this kit doesn’t include a hook knife. That means this kit isn’t suitable for carving items like wooden utensils.
- All-purpose kit for beginners
- American made
- Ergonomic wood handles
- Sharp upon arrival
- Carbon steel blades
- Kit doesn’t include a hook knife
- Basic tools may not suffice for some projects
- No bevel in carving knife
This is a 12-piece wood carving kit intended for beginners. The kit is highly affordable considering all the tools included.
In addition to the dozen wood carving tools, you will also get these:
Two finger guards and a storage case.
The storage case is great for keeping the tools neatly organized. The finger guards would certainly help those just starting to learn how to carve.
The tools are sharp upon arrival. They don’t need constant sharpening. The box says the tools stay sharp until users are ready for more professional-grade equipment.
In addition to wood, you can also carve things like soap, wax, and vegetables with these. Great for carving pumpkins on Halloween.
The carving blades have carbon steel blades. The hardness of each blade is up to HRC65 standards.
The blades have an electrolytic coating to support toughness. The blades also support various cutting shapes to practice on.
These blades work great on these woods:
Pine, maple, pumpkin, basswood, and poplar.
Each tool comes with a protective plastic cover to prevent accidents. It’s safe enough for older children to use.
Each tool has a plastic handle ergonomically designed to ensure comfort while carving. Overall, the tools are just perfect for learning.
Just one downside though:
The tools are not intended for professional use. These may not suffice for anything bigger than learning projects.
- 12-piece kit
- Sturdy, carbon steel blades
- Includes carrying case
- Finger guards provided
- Blades are razor sharp
- Ergonomic handles
- Excellent for beginner use
- Doesn’t suit professional or semi-professional projects
This power grip carving set falls somewhere between small, palm-sized carving tools and full-sized. These are called the “perfect gap fillers.”
The toolkit is made in Japan with top-quality materials. The blades are really sharp right out of the box.
The 7 pieces in the set include:
A straight chisel, #9 gouge, V-parting tool, and other gouges.
The blades are all laminated steel. The handles are 4 ½ inches in size.
One of the biggest advantages:
These carving tools have a comfortable grip that prevents wrist and hand fatigue. You can rotate between the chisel and ball handle types in the kit to minimize the risk of fatigue.
The blades are excellent on certain types of wood, like maple plywood. These come highly recommended for printmaking jobs.
These small tools may not be able to handle certain larger projects. You might be limited to small-scale, DIY projects.
These tools are hand use only. You can’t use them with a lathe or a wood turning tool.
- Laminated steel blades
- Sharp out of the box
- Fatigue-minimizing grips
- Made in Japan
- Great on plywood
- Perfect for small printmaking projects
- Only for small projects
- Hand use only
Things to Know When Buying Wood Carving Tools
Here are several useful suggestions to keep in mind when you shop for wood carving tools:
Different Types of Wood Carving Tools
Wood carving tools come with various types of blades or pointed ends to allow for carving into materials. Here are the most basic types of tools you’ll find in kits:
The chisel is the best-known type of wood carving tool. It’s essentially a screwdriver-like tool with a flat blade.
Chisels have blades with two-side bevels. These don’t have flat backs or beveled backs.
The edge of a chisel is flat but it is sharp. It’s the part that cuts into material.
Some brands offer chisels with minor perks like skewed edges. This type of edge is useful for clearing out corners.
A carving knife is an essential tool that artisans use for tasks like whittling, chipping, and carving letters. These knives are used for both general and detailing work.
Carving knives are available with different types of blades. The manufacturer typically specifies what the blade is best for.
For example, you can buy a carving knife specialized for whittling. If you want a specialized carving knife, it’s best to buy it separately.
A gouge is a hand tool with a curved blade. Woodcarvers use gouges to create convex and concave shapes.
The curved shape of a gouge is formally called the sweep. These sweeps are rated with numbers.
If you notice a higher sweep number for a gouge, that means it’s good for cutting deep into wood. Lower numbers are sharp and can be good for detailing work.
The bend of the sweep can also differ between gouges. A long sweep is good for deep cuts in relief carving. A “spoon,” meaning short gouges are good for hollowing hard-to-reach-areas of wood.
V-tools are so called because these have a V-shaped blade. Woodcarvers use these to produce V-shaped cuts and angles.
V-Tools are used for detailing carving work. You can buy these in different types of angles, most commonly with 30 or 45-degree blades.
A veiner has a U-shaped curved blade. This tool is used to cut deep grooves in detail work. Woodcarvers use this to add stem or vein-like details to their work.
The Main Features of Wood Carving Tools
These are the parts of a wood carving tool you should be familiar with when shopping:
The blade is perhaps the most important part of a wood carving tool. Especially because it handles the actual carving.
Wood carving blades have different shapes and sizes depending on the type of tool. The cutting edge of the blade is called the sweep.
The pointy sweep of blades are beveled, usually on both sides. On curved sweeps, you will only see the bevel on one side.
Some blades have a bevel on the inside. These blades are known as incannel blades.
The handle is the part of the tool attached to the blade. It allows you to wield the blade when carving.
Wood carving blade handles are usually made of wood. These typically have cylindrical profiles.
The shape of the handle determines how well you can wield the blade without getting tired. A high-quality carving tool would have an ergonomic blade that prevents hand fatigue or at least minimizes it.
Things to Look for When Buying Wood Carving Tools
Keep the following in mind when shopping:
- Understand the type of material the carving tools are made from. The metal used in the blade is important.
- Buy carving tools with an ergonomic handle. It makes the tools easier to grip.
- Always check all parts included in a carving tool kit. Look at the specific sizes and ranking for tools like chisels.
- The blade should ideally be razor-sharp when you buy one. Wood carving tools don’t require regular sharpening like knives.
- Some carving tools are better suited for certain types of wood. If you have a material in mind, shop for a toolset that’s recommended for use with that material.
You can get a great deal by investing in a good woodcarving kit. A set with more than 5 pieces usually has everything a woodcarver needs.
Of course, if you have any professional uses in mind, you may not find everything you need in a kit. In that case, it’s best to shop for the separate tools you need.
If you are a beginner or a learner, invest in any one of the wood carving kits mentioned above. Don’t forget to check the details of the tools included before you buy one, though.