Wood carving is becoming more popular as a pass time for people. Not only can you use the carvings to decorate your home, the wood carving process is a great way to release some stress.
As with many other skills, carving wood is easy to learn but hard to master.
Fortunately, some good high-quality carving tools are all you need to get started with this hobby that can last you a lifetime.
In this article, we will go over some of the best wood carving tools for beginners.
Different Wood Carving Styles
If you ask 5 different people what they think of when they hear wood carving, you might get 10 different answers. This is because wood carving has been around since the start of civilization. Over the centuries wood carving has gone through many iterations, and as a result we ended up wide a wide variety of different carving styles.
Depending on the method, you will need to learn different wood carving techniques and use different carving tools. Some styles are pretty similar while others don’t even feel like they are related. But by far, the most popular types are whittling, chip carving and relief carving.
Whittling is by far the most popular way to carve wood. By carving small pieces of the wood, you can create spoons, whistles or other small figures.
Beginners can start out with a single whittling knife to form some rough figures. To achieve more detailed carvings, you will probably need to buy wood carving knives in a variety of sizes. Many of the beginner wood carving projects involve whittling techniques.
This style of carving is different from the others. instead of trying to create shapes or forms, you will use your carving tools simply to decorate existing objects.
Normally this is used to adorn furniture such as boxes, chairs and tables with geometric shapes that can be easily drawn with a ruler and compass.
As a beginner, you will probably start out practicing some geometric patterns and designs on a flat wooden slab.
Relief carving is used to carve figures in flat panels of wood and can also be described as carving pictures in wood.
Rather than producing any freestanding objects, the figures will only slightly protrude from the background. Depending on the amount of projection it can be classified as high or medium relief.
This can result in beautiful home décor items, but might arguably be the most difficult style to learn for beginners.
Best Wood Carving Tools for Beginners
Using the best wood carving tools will not only translate into better results, they will keep you safe as well.
Many beginning wood carvers are afraid to hurt themselves when they just start out.
But just like cooking knives, a very sharp wood carving knife is safer than a dull one. If you use dull cutting tools, you will need to apply more force and are likely to slip.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying wood carving tools.
- Material Quality: If you want to carve different types of wood, make sure you buy good quality materials that can work with both softwoods and hardwoods. As some of the cheap wood carving tools might only work with softwoods. One sure way to go is to look for tools made out of high carbon steel. These tools are strong enough to handle many different types of wood. And with a little honing and sharpening can last you a very long time.
- Tang: When buying carving tools, it is best to look for tools that have a full tang. This indicates that the metal of the blade goes through the entire handle. Whereas a partial tang indicates that the metal of the blade only enters a small part of the handle.If you are applying a lot of pressure while using a tool with partial tang, the steel might come out of the handle. If you buy the best wood carving knife, it will probably be full tang. So for your own safety, we would recommend buying full tang.
- Durability: As mentioned before, a sharp carving knife is easier to work with and more safe at the same time. To keep your knife sharp and optimal edge retention, you need to take meticulous care of your tools.Make sure that the tools you buy can be sharpened over and over again. Else they will quickly become useless.
Best Wood Carving Kits for Beginners
If you are serious about learning wood carving, you eventually will need to buy a variety of different wood carving tools that can handle any situation or project. But as a beginner, you can get started with just a few good carving knives and chisels.
Buying a beginner’s wood carving set is a great way to get everything you need while keeping the cost down.
Ramelson: Beginner’s Carving Tools
This set is highly recommended for people who are just starting out with woodworking. Depending on the project and your preference, these tools can be used by hand or in combination with a mallet. They come in 6 different sizes, so you will be able to pick the one that is right for the amount of detail required.
The best chisels for wood carving are made out of high-quality carbon steel which allows you to work on both softwood and hardwood. Additionally, the hardwood handles are comfortable to hold, yet strong enough to be used in combination with a mallet.
This might be one of the best wood carving sets for beginners since they come at a relatively low price, but will still allow you to tackle most projects you can think of.
Two Cherries: 11- Piece Carving Tools In Wooden Box
Maybe the best thing is that everything can be stored in the beautiful wooden box comes with it. This makes it a great gift for a beginning woodcarver as well.
The tools are made out of high-quality carbon steel and are heat treated. This means that these tools will stay sharp for longer than most others. This will partially solve the frustration of having to sharpen your tools every 10 times.
One thing that clearly sets these tools apart is the octagon handles. This will give you more grip while working with them and prevent them from rolling off your workbench.
Flexcut Tools: Deluxe Palm & Knife Set
As the name implies, this set includes some of the best wood carving tools you can think off. Although it is normally very expensive to buy these carving tools, this wood carving set will let you keep the price down as much as possible.
The cutting knife, pelican knife, detail knife and one mini-detail knife that come with this set allows for extremely detailed work. Additionally, the skew, V tool and 3 differently sizes gougles are a valuable addition as well.
When working with these tools for the first time, you better be careful because they are razor sharp right from the start. Unlike most other tools that you first have to sharpen before you can use them.
Admittedly, this set might be a little more than you will need as a complete beginner. This set would even serve professional wood carvers well.
Most wood carvers will buy this set after they have outgrown their beginner wood carving set. However, if you are serious about learning wood carving, you might be able to save some money by buying it right away.