What wood carving tools should a beginner use?
Woodcarving is a fun hobby, and you can make a lot of different things. There are many types of carving tools available on the market to choose from. And there's nothing wrong with starting small with something simple, like a chip carving knife and after you master all the techniques of knife carving you can buy more. But what wood carving tools should you use? What's best for newbies? I'll explain all this below!
What wood carving tools should a beginner use?
The question is, what is best wood carving tools you should buy?
The first tool that you should buy is a chip carving knife. A carving knife is basically a very small knife that has a flat blade and sharp point, so it can be used for woodcarving. The blade of this tool should be about 1 inch long or less, and it should have an extremely sharp edge.
A good quality Swiss made Pfeil #12 carving knife will cost somewhere between $30 – $40 USD, but it's worth purchasing if you want to get started in carving. To learn how to use this knife properly, watch some videos I have in my school of wood carving. I have some projects, that I use a knife.
Personally, I love carving knives.
I think carving knives are great for a number of reasons.
- First, they are great for precision work.
- Second, they are great for detailed work.
- Third, they are great for getting into tight spaces.
- Fourth, they are great for working with small pieces.
- Fifth, they are great for making clean cuts.
I remember the day when my Teacher – Mater Woodcarver Vladimir gave me my first knife and said: ” Until You master the knife, I won't give You any other tools. For a few months I had to “master” it. The projects were flat at first. But the more I polished my skills, the more and more round they became. I loved/hated, in the beginning, my knife.
My teacher's voice was pounding in my head:
- Master knife and then I will give tools you will need for more complex carvings.
- A knife is the best beginner wood carving tool.
- Learn to carve wood first with a knife.
- If You want to become a wood carver before You buy a carving tool set learn how to handle a knife.
I now agree with my teacher's perspective.
If I would have to make a choice between a wood carving chisel and a knife, I would definitely choose a knife. A knife is a much more versatile tool than a wood carving chisel and can be used for a variety of tasks, whereas a wood carving chisel is only really sometimes too “bulky”
Let me tell you a Story. I don't know if You had a chance to watch my ” let me introduce myself” videos. I tell about my experience growing up in the Soviet Union. Some things were good, but some were really bad. Russian Government imprisoned me at 19 for my beliefs. Yes, I was in jail first and then transferred to prison. It is kinda scary when only one opinion is allowed. Does not matter what opinion. It could be any. In my case, it was an opinion about the Creator. Yea, I believe in the Architect of the Universe. O, my friends… It was a very hard time. The Soviet Union broke apart and people did not have any food outside, just think what we had inside. The answer is nothing. How do you survive in conditions like that? The only thing I had, was my ability to carve. But how do you carve if you can't have any tools? You can't even get wood carving tools for beginners. No Chisel, no Gouge, no Veiner… nothing!!! It was a problem. It was a hard time for inmates, as well as for the administration people. The government did not pay them. It is still amazing. They did not get paid, and even so, show up every morning for work. One of those Administrators liked to “drink”. Pretty much had a problem with alcohol. But how do you buy if you don't have any wages? It was a problem for him and I found a solution for both of us. I asked him if he would let me get a potato a day for some type of relief carving. He said yes but you can't have any tools even basic wood carving tools. I knew a carving knife will be the right tool for me. Obviously, I could not have the whole carving knife set. But I most like could have only one small knife. I told him I will make a “legal” only 10mm (3/8″) blade knife from a broken hacksaw blade and carve with it. He was ok with that. But another problem arose. Where will I get wood for carving? I didn't need a log, all need a flat piece of wood and I could do something. The solution was easier than I thought. One inmate used to be a “Russian Mafia” guy and last 15 years this prison was his home. He had some connections outside and he could get some basswood. It is the best type of wood for carving. I could not wait to dig into the wood. My first carving project was a jewelry box. The administrator was happy. He could sell this box and get drunk. Everyone is happy. He asked me: “Would would be the next wood carving project?” I answered: ” I can carve mirror frames and maybe borders on coffee tables but I will need a carving set. He said: ” Good, let's do it but NO wood carving knife set or wood carving kit, period!”
To make long story short. I had only one knife. Later I was able to make a small gouge. It was my “essential wood carving tools kit” I was able to carve with those two tools a lot and it kept me alive. Carving for one potato was the best wage I could imagine. We would divide that potato in four and eat..
It is one of the reasons I love carving knives.
Really, it is enough to get started with wood carving. Later you can buy some wood carving gouges. Obviously, it will give you a chance to carve more complex projects.
A good beginners tool is a carving knife
One of the basic wood carving courses in the school of woodcarving is called “curly bird” and it is done with the use of only a wood carving knife.
In this course, students will explore the art of carving birds with curly feathers using only a wood carving knife. They will learn how to create different textures and patterns in the wood, and how to use the knife to create dimension and movement in the carving. This course will provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to create beautiful and intricate carvings.
If you would ask me:
What best wood carving knife?
The one you feel comfortable using. It could be any brand. I like to use Pfeil #12 chip carving knife. You might like to use Flexcut. It is a more important technique than what brand of tools are used. Just get any knife, get some soft wood like basswood /limewood and start your wood carving journey. After you master your knife you can try to get to the different style of carving.
So, if you want to start carving with a knife, it’s best to start with some simple projects. This will help you gain confidence and learn how to use the tools properly. You can then move onto more complex pieces of the woodwork as your skills improve. So don’t worry too much about making mistakes when starting out as they will happen anyway!