Ardent wood carvers will tell you how much satisfying it can be to create something aesthetically appealing on a block of wood. However, you need the best tools to stoke your creativity and try out that new design you have been thinking about all week. Unfortunately, there are so many tools on the market that choosing the best can prove a bit of an uphill task. We know the struggle, but we have taken the trouble to review some of the best wood carving tools on the market to make your task so much easier – we care that much!
Things to Consider Before Purchasing Wood Carving Tools
There are several things that you must consider when it comes to choosing the best wood carving tools and among them are the many tools set. Going for a set is quite cheaper and convenient for you whether you are a beginner or a pro. A set saves you from the hassle of having to search for a particular tool individually.
Another essential factor to consider is the construction. Ideally, carbon steel is much better in comparison to other types of metal. It is durable and maintains a sharp edge. Talking of sharp, always go for the pre-sharpened forms, and you will be alright.
Best Wood Carving Tools Review
Every wood carving beginner needs tools that are gentle with their skills while demonstrating a high-level quality and this set of Gimars pretty much fits the bill. The kit contains 12 easy to use and durable tools that any beginner will find useful.
These tools are sharp and will not need sharpening now and then – not many people are too fond of grinding on a frequent basis. The blade is SK5 carbon steel that will withstand the test of time and constant abuse. And what’s more, they come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate your carving needs.
Some of the shortcomings of these tools include the need to maintain the blade – this pretty much applies to carbon steel items.
This set has excellent ergonomically designed beech wood handles that make handling them such a breeze. You need not worry about scarring your hands in any way. The blades are SK7 carbon steel to easily withstand the rigors of constant abuse, hammering and being forced into the wood. The electrolyte coating ensures the blades move smoothly in and out of the wood.
There are various tools with different edges to suit your carving needs. They can easily handle all types of basswood, softwood and pine, and pumpkin among others. To ensure their protection, the tools come with a great plastic cover. There is also a nylon case for easy transportation.
The blades can, however, break easily under constant pressure and so care is necessary. The edges will also need some occasional oiling and sharpening to ensure they are in good shape for your next project.
This is a set of nine palm calving tools from a company well-known among the carving circles. Flaxcut produces quality carving tools, and you may not go wrong with them. For starters, these tools come with an ergonomic handle constructed from ash hardwood. They fit perfectly in your hands, and all you need to worry about is the design of your next project.
The blade in these tools is hard carbon steel and will not easily break under constant use. The edge may also stay sharp for longer.
The tools come in an excellent wooden toolbox for their protection from the elements. You need not worry about misplacing the tools – they are all in a single box.
Its shortcomings include the fact that they need a bit of maintenance after several uses to maintain their sharpness and durability. Some users have also complained of uneven edges. All in all, they are not too shabby a selection for beginners.
This is yet another wood carving tools kit from Flexcut. However, this has a larger variety of carving tools, unlike others. There are five palm tools if you have some handheld projects and carving knives for a wider range of projects like relief carving. There is also three gouges, 1 V tool, and one skew tool offering you a wider variety of carving tools.
All the tools are razor-sharp and ready to use right off the box. They are made of carbon steel, and you may not need to worry too much about breaking one tool or another. These tools also come with an ergonomic wooden handle that ensures your hands are free from blisters.
Some of the shortcomings of this kit you may notice are that the box is poorly made and may get stuck once in a while.
Flexcut feature again with a more extensive set of wood carving tools. We can comfortably say that this is one of the most extensive collections of tools you will find under one box. As a matter of fact, there are 18 detailed knives to accommodate your every need.
Each of these knives have a carbon steel durable blade that easily maintains its sharpness. They also have an ergonomic handle that is gentle in your hands ensuring they are blister-free. And for easy organization, the kit comes in a durable and well-constructed wooden storage box.
These tools have a short neck, and that may make them unsuitable for projects with deep gouges and that require a more in-depth reach. They may also need sharpening after several uses. Regardless, this definitely one of the best wood carving tools you can have.
How to use Woodcarving Tools
Having the best wood carving tools money can buy would mean nothing if you don’t know how to go about using them. For starters, your tools will need to be sharp that they don’t leave fault marks where they pass. You have probably heard that sharp knives are safe knives.
Before you do anything, first determine the direction of the grains. Just take a moment and study the long cell fibers and the darker streaks will give you an idea. Every piece of wood has longitudinal cells that run from the roots to the canopy. Carving along the fibers is easier than going against them.
You may notice you are going the wrong direction if the wood keeps tearing and you are using sharp tools. Change the direction, and it will then be easier for you.
If you have a wood carving knife, then you should hold it on the right hand and wood on the left – this is if you are right-handed. The left hand should then be behind the knife and the thumb on the blunt side of the knife. To make a cut, you move the wrist of the right hand, but the thumb should remain stationary. And for your safety, wear a glove on the left hand – the hand you are holding the carving with. This position is relatively safe, and you will avoid nipping your finger or palm.
If using gouges, the handle should be in the palm of the right hand. While your right-hand push the handle, the left one should hold the metal shaft guide and control the tools. Your left hand is also responsible for keeping the device from slipping.
Before you can move to the heart of the matter by using the detailed carving tools, remove as much waste as possible from the block of wood. Use a hand saw or power saw. You can then throw in other tools such as the larger gouges to remove as much material as possible. The goal is to make it easy for you as you will not have much scrap to deal with when going for that precise cut.
Woodcarvers are always exposed to the risk of cuts. If you are a novice, always consider wearing a glove on the hand, you are holding the sculpture. And always remember that a sharp tool is relatively safer than a dull one. A flat knife causes you to exert more pressure than is necessary and that can easily prove a safety risk. Any slips may lead to deep, ugly cuts that can easily be avoided.
When using power tools, always wear a mask, and it will protect your lungs from the dust. Also, slivers of some varieties of the red cedar and western oak can cause an infection. If that happens, remove them within the shortest time possible and treat it.
Many of the exotic hardwoods may be toxic causing an allergic reaction at the point of contact. If affected, seek medical attention and use safety equipment when handling the specific variety. Alternatively, you can switch the variety to the one safer for you.
The best wood carving tools are a joy to use, and they help cultivate the carving desire. To choose the best one, you need to look for the carbon steel construction, ergonomic handle and those that come as a set. Basically, a set saves you from having to search for particular tools, and they are much cheaper as a set.
The above review contains some of the best tools on the market, and you may not go wrong with any of them. However, Flexcut KN250 Deluxe Knife Set may be what you need to start off as a beginner. But that does not mean it is not suitable for beginners. Happy carving!