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How to Choose the Right Wood Carving Tools

Timber Knowledge Tips & Guides
01 January 0001 min read

If you're looking to purchase wood carving tools, it can be difficult to figure out which ones are best for your projects. There are so many different types of carving tools on the market today and it can be overwhelming trying to choose the right ones.


This guide will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision when selecting the perfect tools for your wood carving projects.


Types of Wood Carving Tools

There are various types of tools that you can use when carving wood. Each type differs in shape, size and how it is used. Here are some of the most common ones:

Carving Knives

The carving knife is the most basic and versatile of all wood carving tools. It is typically used to make fine cuts or incisions in the wood.


Knives come in various sizes, shapes and materials such as stainless steel, carbon steel and high-carbon steel.


Wood carving chisels are often used with a hammer or mallet for heavier work. They come in various shapes and sizes depending on the project, such as straight chisels for flat surfaces and V-shaped or U-shaped chisels for deeper cuts.


For more of guide to choosing the right chisels, listen to furniture maker Richard Buckinham share his expert knowledge in our video interview.

Power Carvers

Carving knives and chisels are vital hand tools for wood carving, but power carvers can speed up the process. These tools are electrical or air-powered and can be used for a variety of tasks such as carving intricate details, shaping curves and hollowing out larger areas.

Sharpening Tools

Sharpening tools are often overlooked, yet they are crucial for accurate carving and safe use. A sharp tool boosts performance and improves safety by minimising slips, making it easier to achieve the desired outcome.

Factors to Consider When Buying Wood Carving Tools

Before buying a wood carving tool, there are several factors to consider. These include: 

  1. Type of carving: The carving technique you want to use determines the best tools. For example, whittling requires small, thin knives, while chip carving uses small chisels and gouges.

  2. Wood type: The wood’s density impacts the tools you need. Harder woods require sharper and stronger tools, while softer woods can be carved with lighter tools.

  3. Project size: Miniature carvings use small, thin tools, like a wood carving knife. On the other hand, large heavy-duty gouges, chisels, and power carvers are needed for sculptures and furniture.

  4. Skill level: Beginners should start with simple tools, like wood carving knives and chisels. As your skill level increases, add to your collection of tools.

  5. Safety: Safety should be paramount. Always wear eye protection and good-quality gloves. Make sure all tools are kept sharp and in good condition and keep hands away from the tool’s edge at all times. 

  6. Budget: While quality tools can be expensive, it’s possible to find good-quality used tools at a fraction of the cost. If you're just starting out, look for starter sets or basic kits that include all the essential wood carving tools.


Features to Look for in Quality Wood Carving Tools

Quality is an investment in longevity and efficiency. The following features are often an indication of good quality:


  1. Sharp cutting edge: This is essential for clean cuts and details.

  2. Comfortable handles: Ergonomic handles that fit the hand and provide a secure grip are important for safety and accuracy. 

  3. Durable materials: Tools should be made from heavy-duty materials that can handle the rigours of wood carving.

  4. Maintainability: Tools should be designed to allow easy sharpening, honing and maintenance. Quality tools are designed to be sharpened repeatedly, and parts like removable blade inserts facilitate upkeep. Rust-resistant materials are a bonus.

  5. Storage options: Look for tool rolls, cases, and blocks to keep tools protected yet accessible when working. This keeps you organised and helps preserve sharp edges.

  6. Reputable brand: Research and choose brands known for durability, customer service, and overall excellence. Established brands often come with reliability and warranties. 


Woodshop Direct: Your Partner in Wood Carving Excellence

Choosing the best wood carving tools for your needs and skill level is key to getting the most out of your experience. Start with a few essential hand tools or a multipurpose power carver. From there, experiment with different carving styles and tools to discover the perfect fit for you. 


At Woodshop Direct, we offer a wide variety of high-quality wood, tools, and accessories to help you bring your wood carving ideas to life. We are dedicated to helping woodcarvers find the right resources for their projects, so reach out if you need help with picking the best tools and materials for your work.