Woodcarver Sean Syman of Syman Woodcarving channel said that wood carving is a lot simpler than the traditional woodworking. There is no need for huge power tools. Just the right wood carving tools that will help you to achieve the details you need.
All of them have specific purposes, but each wood carving tool can also vary widely. Besides the sweep and the width of the blade, there are other points that can affect a tool’s performance such as the position of the canel, number of bevels, overall tool size, and many more.
One wood carving tool that has a wide variant is the carving gouge. It will offer you the #1 to #11 sweep; with the former being a flat, curveless carving chisel and the latter sporting the largest curve. This sizing classification, nonetheless, might be very different from one manufacturer to another.
Moreover, carving gouges can also vary when it comes to the width of the blade. It could range from 2 to 40 mm which gives you the liberty to choose the right width perfect for your project needs.
If you are planning to buy some wood carving tools, however, sizes and types of tools are not the only things to consider. Some of the things you also need to think about are the materials, ergonomics, and overall value of the tools.
The material and ergonomics will determine your comfort and the efficiency of the tool in the long run. A quality wood carving tool should come with a durable material that can withstand the day-to-day demands of your work without losing its edge.
On the other hand, the ergonomics of the tool will allow you to deliver your task efficiently. For instance, most tools incorporate segments of flat surfaces in their handles to improve the grip of the user. With this, there is less room for errors that could occur from a slippery handle.
One great example of a set that embodies the said attributes is the FLEXCUT 10-piece set. The tools come with various sweep numbers and sizes of width which means great versatility for you in performing various depth of cuts and details. It is also a heavy-duty set of tools that can work effortlessly with hardwoods and can endure a striking hammer. Most of all, the blades are incredibly tough that it will take you less than an hour before you resharpen them.
The set mentioned, nonetheless, might not be for anyone as each of us have our own unique projects we are working on. With that, we tried to round up the 5 best sets of wood carving tools that will complement the needs of most artists. Picked for their versatility, quality, and great value, we hope to bring you the best options that might benefit you and help you be better.to get a closer look at each of them, take time reading the advantages and disadvantages we listed for your convenience. Here they are…
Best Wood Carving Tools Comparison & Rating
1. FLEXCUT 10-Piece Mallet-Carving Chisels & Gouges Set
Gouges (#3 x 1/2, #3 x 1, #5 x 1 3/16, #7 x 11/16, #9 x 1/2, #10 x 3/4, #11 x 1/8, #11 X 1/4), 45-degree V-tool, and 60 degree V-Tool
This FLEXCUT 10-piece set is one of the wood carving tool packages we can confidently recommend for large projects. Not only do the tools come with ash handles that can bear the pounding of a mallet, but they are also equipped with razor-sharp hard carbon steel blades.
However, the real deal about this is the size variability of the tools. It offers users the versatility they need to accomplish a particular form and depth of carvings without problems. The set boasts tools with sweep and blade width of #3 x 1/2, #3 x 1, #5 x 1 3/16, #7 x 11/16, #9 x 1/2, #10 x 3/4, #11 x 1/8, #11 X 1/4, 45 degree V-tool, and a 60 degree V-Tool.
The tools create wider and deeper, yet smoother deeper cuts. They are sharp that using them solely by hand is possible. Nonetheless, as mallet tools, they really do a perfect job. Great controls and excellent efficiency. Really, really sharp that the package even comes with a box of bandaids. (For real!)
Of all the sets we tested, this, by far, was the best in terms of keeping its sharpness for an extended period of time. When used continuously in carving cherry wood and oak wood, it took us at least 50 minutes before we decided to sharpen the tools we were using. Impressive and topnotch!
2. Schaaf 12-Piece Wood Carving Tools
#1 8 mm Straight Chisel, #1 8 mm Skew Chisel, #5 8 mm Gouge, #5 20 mm Gouge, #7 6 mm Gouge, #7 14 mm Gouge, #7 20 mm Heavy Bent Gouge, #8 4 mm Gouge, #8 10 mm Spoon Gouge, #9 10 mm Gouge, #11 3 mm Veiner, and #12 6 mm V-parting Tool
Hardwood Ash Wood
E-book Wood Carving Tutorial and Storage Bag
The Schaaf 12-piece set is made of alloy chromium-vanadium steel and even hardened to Rockwell C60. The blades have a decent thickness to deliver great precision and durability. Much better and have the best durability of all the items we tested. It will require you to sharpen it at least once after every project, but this is expected from any tool at this price rate. However, compared to other toolsets like the AUGSUN 20-piece set, it is more effective in keeping its edge even when used on hard materials.
It also comes with almost all the basic tools you would need in wood carving. What’s much better about it is that it comes with a number of the same tools with varying sizes. Generally, the set is composed of #1 8mm straight chisel, #1 8mm skew chisel, #5 8mm gouge, #5 20mm gouge, #7 6mm gouge, #7 14mm gouge, #7 20mm heavy bent gouge, #8 4mm gouge, #8 10mm spoon gouge, #9 10mm gouge, #11 3mm veiner, and #12 6mm V-parting tool.
Pro wood carving professionals would find this set more favorable for them and this is what we appreciate about this. Compared with other sets that come with a handful of various tools, we appreciate that this brand has realized the needs of most carvers with a set of tools in different size variables. A true 5-star set.
3. Lulu Home 16-Piece Wood Carving Tools
7 Long Shaft Tools and 5 Short Palm Wood Knives
Rool-up Case, 2 Files, Grindstone, and Mallet
Lulu Home 16-piece is the best all-in-one wood carving set ever. It can cater to small to medium-sized wood carving projects due to its excellent inclusions of a wide variety of tools. It comes with 7 long shaft tools, 5 short palm wood knives, 2 files, a grindstone, and a mallet.
What really caught our attention in this set is the tools’ ergonomic handles. Some people might not appreciate this but when you are working on tasks with extremely small details where precision is crucial, the shape and length of the handles matter.
It is also very thoughtful of the brand that it has included a grindstone and a mallet in the package. The mallet might not be what you are expecting, but the grindstone is very helpful. We just love it. The files also work wonders in smoothening your works and just in the right size to squeeze into tight spaces. Very convenient.
4. AUGSUN 20-Piece Wood Carving Knife Set
12 different wood carving knives
Whetstone, Carpenter Pencil, Wooden Ruler, Sandpaper, and Wipe Cloth
This AUGSUN 20-piece wood carving toolset is one of the best choices for professionals and hobbyists. It comes with 12 different wood carving knives, a whetstone, carpenter pencil, wooden ruler, sandpaper, and a wipe cloth. The last items might not add the greatest value to the set, but the knives are truly something worthy to get.
Each one is made of quality carbon steel and electrolytic coating and comes with 4.3" ergonomically designed wooden handles. All handles have flat surfaces which give you a better grip when working on intricate and sensitive details.
The knives have 3 to 7 mm width of blades and are very ideal for whittling projects. The blades are hard and are capable of keeping their forms longer even when used with wood materials like cherry wood. Upon trying it, we were satisfied by the strength of the edges. Of course, given the price of the set, it is obvious that it is not for heavy-duty projects so it would certainly need sharpening after some time. Nonetheless, we really appreciate that it took us a couple of tries before we felt the need to sharpen the knives we used. Using them on softer wood materials, however, is no problem at all. Does the work without flaw and still a great, great deal.
5. WAYCOM 12-Piece Wood Carving Tools Set
Sloyd Knife, Chip Carving Knife, and Hook Knife
Bamboo Box, Leather Sheath Polish, Leather Strop, Gloves, Blank Wood
This WAYCOM 12-piece set is assembled for specific types of audiences. It features a sloyd knife, a chip carving knife, and a hook knife. All perfect for carving fine and delicate details. Some might find it unappealing due to the limited number of tools but, then again, these three tools are more than enough for specific needs. Besides working on small details where the sloyd and chip carving knife are meant for, the set can also excel in terms of projects that require concave carving tasks like bowls, cups, and spoons.
This set would charm a lot of DIY and intermediate wood carvers who are devoted to the creation of such crafts. Despite the limited number of tools, everything is built with quality in mind. They all come with the right thickness of blades that sits between your need for durability and precision. The knives have great edges and points that can leave remarkable details in the best possible way, but also possess the right strength to maintain their sharpness.
We also appreciate that it comes with a piece of blank wood spoon canvass which might attract beginners. The bamboo box packaging and additional leather sheath polish, leather strop, and a pair of gloves are also great. They won’t really add too much appeal to the set, but the quality of the knives is the true highlight of this package.
Best Wood Carving Tools - Buyer's Guide
Apparently, the type of tools really matter. If you are planning to purchase tools individually, the better. This will allow you to get the specific kinds of tools that you just need. However, if you are looking for a set, make sure that the package offers ALL the essential items for your projects. Of course, finding that set would be almost impossible. Most sets would give you tools or sweep numbers and widths you wouldn’t even frequently use. Nonetheless, in purchasing one, at least assure you’ll get a fair deal by getting the most of what you need.
The size of the tool is the first thing to consider. It will determine how comfortable the tool will be in your hands as you grip it and also translates to your work’s efficiency. While big-sized tools could make you work faster, small and medium-sized ones would offer better control. The latter sizes are not only applicable for people with small hands but so as to any kinds of users. With this, especially if you are a beginner, we would confidently suggest opting for medium sizes.
The sweep and the width of the tools’ blades should always be based on the needs of your projects. Also, ask yourself for the common sweep numbers you are always using. Remember that the sweep will define how curve the edge would be: the lower the number, the flatter the edge is. So if you want a tool that will instantly allow deep cuts of grooves, go for higher sweep numbers such as #5 to #11. There are also #12 and #13 sweep numbers that stand for 60-degree and 90-degree V-gouges, respectively.
Having a durable tool is really essential: not just blades that can retain their sharpness longer, but handles that are solid. The reason for this is the fact that some of the tools would be used with mallets. It would be ideal if the handle has a ferrule and made of a very reliable material that would assure you it won’t break easily. This is a big plus for tools used for light-duty tasks and a need for mallet-carving tools.
Best Wood Carving Tools - FAQs
Some of the wood carving tools that beginners can use include carving knives, gouges, coping saw, chisel, V-tool, and U-gouge.
Tools from #2 to #4 sweeps have shallow curves, with #1 having a flat edge. Those that fall under #5 to #7 sweep numbers have medium depth and #8 to #9 sweep numbers offer great depth. U-gouges start at #10 to #11 sweeps and #12 and #13 sweep numbers stand for 60-degree and 90-degree V-gouges, respectively.
The numbers on the handles of the gouges denote the sweep numbers. If there are two numbers on the handle, they are the sweep number and the width of the edge measured in millimeters.
The chisel has a flat blade while the gouge has curved edges that range from sweep #1 to #13. The higher the number of the sweep, the deeper the curve will be.