Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: August 11, 2021
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What will cause wood carving to become more than a once-off activity and eventually your new favorite hobby? Is it your skill? Your natural talent? Actually, the success of a hobby often depends on the tools you use. Just imagine how frustrated you’ll become using a kitchen knife to achieve the masterpieces you see pro wood carvers create. Investing in the best wood carving tools for beginners is therefore vital for your hobby.
We’ll help you pick the best kit for your use, sharing our in-depth reviews on some of the best sets on today’s market. We looked at the number of tools in each set to gauge the value and versatility of the sets and we also considered weight to show you portability if you’d like to carry tools with you. Of course, characteristics like materials used and ergonomics will show you the value and quality of the tools. The buyers guide will help you make informed decisions and our comparison table makes for a quick reference guide. Ready to start carving?
This is our best wood carving kit for beginners because we simply love the versatility offered by such a wide range of tools. With seven tools you can use many different techniques to create impressive projects. You’ll have round, flat, triangle and shallow chisels to pick from.
You can be sure you’re buying quality because they’re made with double layers of steel. They’ll last you a long time. They’re also made by hand, showcasing exceptional workmanship.
The finish of the handles makes them look professional, so even newbies can feel like experienced wood carvers, helping you have confidence when you’re working.
This brand is experienced in making many tools, including scissors and garden tools, with activities dating back to 1927. All this experience helps them make their tools even more impressive.
What stands out? Have a look at the handles and you’ll see the unique shape. They’re designed to hold the way you’ll hold a pencil, providing you with immense control during the carving movements, as well as comfort. The shape also ensures you can apply maximum force with minimal effort.
What cons did we manage to find? Some wood workers may want other types of tools as well, such as a spoon carving tool. Also, if you’re not careful the blades may chip. Although small chips won’t affect the chisel’s functioning, it may deteriorate over time.
This set is slightly more expensive than some other best wood carving tools for beginners on our list, but it’s worth the price because of the quality you’ll get.
For starters, the 14cm handles make it comfortable even for larger hands. The handles are made of Hardwood ash and you’ll even appreciate the shape of the tools, since they won’t easily roll off your counter.
You’ll get a variety of tools, including straight, skew, gouge, spoon gouge, veiner and even parting tool chisels. This means a beginner can try different projects after investing in just one set of tools. Find our what your favorite type of carving is without spending too much money.
When it comes to quality you can’t go wrong with this hardened steel. This means they won’t easily break and you also don’t need to sharpen them as often as some other lower quality sets.
The manufacturer provides a tool roll to keep your tools in. This makes for easy transportation and since it’s made of canvas it will last you a long time.
What are its best features? This set works for beginners because the brand provides helpful information in an eBook. Learn about everything from carving stones to sharpening and carving techniques.
What could be improved? You may need assistance from a professional grinder to sharpen these which requires an additional expense. Hopefully after the first sharpening you’ll be able to do it yourself if the pro shows you how and sharpens it in a way that’s easy to maintain.
With its variety of tools, compact storage pocket, and straight forward instructions found on the company’s website, this tool kit of best carving tools for beginners can keep you busy for hours. You’ll get a woodcarving spoon, a sloyd knife and a chip detail knife, preparing you for multiple different projects. The handy glove will help prevent injuries.
It can also be easy to use for children, making it a fun activity for the whole family to get involved with.
You’re making a long term investment because the brand uses a unique smelting process and the blades have anti-corrosive properties. The brand even offers service cover for a year, so if something goes wrong with one of your tools, you may get it sorted without effort on your side.
Why is it special? It is excellent for people that have always wondered what it’s like to work with wood but thought it can be a little complicated. The thought of carving wood can be daunting but with the explanatory images on the website, wood carving couldn’t be easier. The set is perfect for anyone who may have never picked up a whittling tool before and is on a beginner’s level because it has ergonomic handles to help lessen the strain on your hands.
What are the flaws? Like with most knives, they can dull over time, giving you the task of sharpening the blades and with this set, it can happen rather quickly.
Whether you’re an experienced wood carver or just starting to explore this fascinating art, the BeaverCraft S01 Wood Spoon Carving Knives are perfect to add to any gift list. This is a complete set that contains everything you need to cut, whittle, rough, sharpen, polish and create your masterpiece. You even get a leather strop along with the compound to use during sharpening of your tools. Using this will ensure that your knives stay bright and shiny as well as razor sharp.
The sloyd knife or straight knife is made from high quality carbon steel and has a larger ergonomic handle to make using it a breeze even for beginners. The razor sharp hook knife’s handle has been improved since a previous model. The thicker handle makes it easier to maneuver.
Why did it make our list? It’s made from high quality materials and is sure to be durable. Considering all this set contains it is very affordable. To keep your knives in premium condition and teach you easy ways to sharpen them you will be sent a free e-book after your purchase.
What is not ideal about it? Unfortunately, this set is only available for right-handed people at present. Some people with large hands may find the knives a bit difficult to use. The only other downside is that the pieces can’t be purchased separately.
Firstly, we love the sturdy carrying case which is more durable than some of the fabric bags that come with many of our other sets of best wood carving tools for beginners. This makes it safe to carry with you and it’s so compact you can easily add it to your luggage or place it in a drawer so it’s on hand whenever you’re in the mood for carving.
The versatility is obvious, with multiple angled, gouged and straight tools. You’ll also have a rounded tool, a pinpoint tool and a parting tool.
Handles on these tools are made of solid wood, so they’ll last you a long time. This is another set of which the handles are shaped. This is for comfort but will also prevent them from rolling on your work surface, thanks to two round sides and two flat sides.
The brand includes safety caps, ideal to prevent accidental cuts and making it a little safer if you plan on buying these for a child. Just keep the caps on the ones you’re not using.
What makes it stand out? Apart from just the tools, this manufacturer gives you whetstones to use for sharpening, so all you need is in one kit. Each whetstone is of a different shape, so you can effectively sharpen different tools. There’s a semicircle, a triangle, a rectangle and a square.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? This set unfortunately won’t work on very hard wood, so consider the projects you want to take on before buying.
Puimenthiua’s 10pcs wood carving tool set comes with everything you need, including different tools such as a hook knife and a detail knife, to meet different needs. This makes it beginner-friendly because you can test out all your options after just one purchase.
Maybe you want to carve a face into the bowl you’re making? There is a tool for that in this set.
It is also suitable for children who want to learn more about woodcraft which makes this set perfect for family fun activities. The ergonomic handles ensure that you won’t feel hand fatigue very quickly.
The set comes in a roll-up bag making it easy for you to carry your set wherever you go. The bag also protects the tools and along with the rust-resistant properties of the blades you know you’re buying a quality set.
Why did it make our list? Safety is so important when using sharp objects which is why it is amazing that this set has step-by-step instructions on how to sharpen your blades properly in the description. The set also comes with a pair of slip-resistant gloves for extra safety.
What is not ideal about it? As beginner-friendly as this set is, it may be difficult to use if you’re left-handed. Some of the knives can be switched around from hand to hand but due to specific handle designs, some knives may only be used in the right hand.
Things to Consider
Now let’s help you make the best decision when you shop around for your best wood carving tools for beginners. Whether you’re buying for yourself or as a gift for someone else, we’ll help you understand this niche better, identify quality sets, as well as know what is relevant for your particular application. Read our buying guide as well as the FAQ section for some inside info.
How to start wood carving
Let’s be clear that you don’t need all the tools at the hardware store in order to become a wood carver. What’s more important than your range of tools is your skills with the tools you have. So, rather start by setting aside time just for wood carving so you can improve skills, get comfortable with your tools and understand the process.
Apart from cutting tools, a mallet is also a wise investment. You may use this to increase the force you place on a chisel. A regular hammer will damage your tools upon impact, so best to purchase a carver’s mallet. It can be relatively small and make sure it fits in your hand comfortably.
Make sure you have sharpening devices so you can maintain your tools. This includes having oil on hand to keep blades lubricated during sharpening. Also, if you know you won’t be using the tools for a while, leave a layer of oil on them to prevent corrosion.
You may need an axe to cut up larger pieces of wood. And don’t forget safety equipment which we’ll discuss below.
Along with a set of the best wood carving tools for beginners, learn about different types of wood and rather obtain wood from craft stores than a lumber yard. They’re less likely to sell wood with knots in them, making the wood easier to work with.
Educate yourself about wood, such as knowing birch and pine wood will be better for beginners since they carve fairly easy. Later on, you can try maple or walnut and birch.
Tips and tricks for beginner woodcarvers
A first step in becoming a wood carver is simply to improve your skills at performing basic cuts. This includes a V-cut, a sweep cut, a stop cut and a pyramid cut. This may seem tedious at first, but you’ll learn how these cuts create shadows and texture, so you can easily use them once you start creating your projects. You can create positive patterns—when you remove the background—or negative patterns if your design takes you below the surface of the wood. Play around with these methods to discover how it can be applied.
Learn the right way to hold your knife, so you feel comfortable and don’t strain your wrist by gripping too hard.
For beginners it’s best to cut across the wood’s grain. Later on this will play less of a role, but at the start, make it easy on yourself by ensuring you have more control and a smoother final outcome.
When you’re ready to start a first project, draw on the wood where you want to cut. These sketched guides will help prevent ruining the wood with faulty cuts:
Safety comes first
Safety is necessary for various aspects when it comes to wood carving. Of course you need to protect your hands from unnecessary nicks and cuts, so a pair of gloves is essential wood carving wear. An alternative is to use a finger guard on certain fingers. Many people find this more comfortable than wearing an entire glove. You can even wrap some cut resistant tape around fingers where you know you’re bound to nick yourself. Try all the options to find a method that feels most comfortable for you.
Also protect your eyes by wearing safety glasses. You’re working with sharp objects that you don’t want to accidentally hurt your eye if your hands should slip. Your carving will also produce fine dust and wood chips that need to stay out of your eyes to prevent injury and irritation. It’s also smart to wear a dust mask so the fine dust won’t enter your airways.
An interesting tip is that it’s actually safer working with sharp tools, rather than dull tips. Apart from sharpness simplifying your task, a dull blade may slip easier than a sharp one. So keep up the maintenance for safety and efficiency!
Features to consider while buying the best wood carving tool for beginners
Below you’ll learn about the most important features of wood carving tools and how to know which characteristics to look out for. Compare these aspects when you’re considering different tool sets to identify the best value for money.
To understand wood carving you must experience diverse techniques, so your beginners tool set should include equipment for all these methods. Look for the following to ensure versatility:
Carving knife: with the right carving knife you can cut but also smooth surfaces or shave off pieces of wood.
Gouges: The market has spoon gouges to hollow out a piece of wood while V-gougers help you make angular cuts. A U-gouge is the best for beginners and if you have different lengths and curvatures, you’ll be able to do a lot.
Chisels: With a chisel you remove tiny pieces of wood, of an angular nature.
Handle grip and material
The handle will determine how long you can work before experiencing fatigue, so make sure you research this about the set you plan on buying. Will it be small enough for you to hold comfortably and is it ergonomic to counter unnecessary fatigue?
Also look at what the grip is made of so you know if it will last long. Many manufacturers use wood. Just make sure it’s a solid wood that won’t damage easily.
As can be seen in some of our best wood carving tools for beginners sets, it’s also smart to have handles that will prevent your tools rolling all over your work surface. Look at the SCHAAF Full Size Wood Carving Tools Set for instance. With two flat surfaces, the tools will lie in place until you pick it up again. This is also a safety feature since you don’t want those sharp blades moving unless you’re in control.
Make sure to purchase tools made with quality metal that’s not too soft, or it will easily wear down. You also want metal that won’t easily corrode. This is why the SCHAAF Full Size Wood Carving Tools Set is so valuable, because the hardened steel will serve you well without too much maintenance and sharpening.
You need to purchase tools that will be comfortable for you to hold. If you’re buying a beginner’s set for a child, you should consider a lighter set or they won’t be able to use them properly. And without comfort it can even become dangerous since the tools will slip out of control easier.
You may think it’s only important to consider the durability of the blades, but don’t forget about the handles. You need a sturdy handle that won’t break under pressure if you happen to use a mallet during carving. Also, you don’t want the handle to chip easily when it falls or rolls against other tools, since too many chips can cause it to feel less comfortable to hold. So, if you pick a set with wooden handles, make sure the manufacturer used hard wood. Good options include ash wood, hornbeam or beech. Also look at the texture of the wood because if the grain is straight and without knots, there’s less chance of the wood splitting.
When it comes to the blade, as stated above it’s important to pick tools made of metal that won’t easily rust or become blunt or even chip during heavy duty use.
Thanks to a popular market, you can buy carving tools for beginners from many different price categories. So, you can buy according to your budget.
If you simply want to try out the tools to see if you’ll like the activity, opt for a set for around $30, like our budget pick BeaverCraft S01 Wood Spoon Carving Knives. If you want something more elaborate, with a wider range of tools and of high quality, you’ll spend around $100.
It’s really worth investing in the best wood carving tools for beginners that come with extras such as:
Sharpening tools like whetstones
You’ll also realize the value of a box, carrying case, pouch or roll strap you can use for storage. Wood carving is a hobby you can practice almost anywhere, since the basic tools don’t take up much space. So, take it with you on holiday. This is easier when you have an appropriate storage method.
Your pouch or storage box also helps protect your tools so they don’t get damaged as may be the case if you keep them with other tools in a toolbox.
When you’re working on hard wood you need blades known for its sharpness and strength. Without it your task will require a lot of effort, your tools can get damaged or the tools may simply slip off the surface instead of carving into it. On our list the SCHAAF Full Size Wood Carving Tools Set is one of your best options. The hardened steel will do a much better job than some of the cheaper sets.
When you’re working on small objects you need more control and it must be easy to guide the blade where you need it to go, like TIMESETL Small Wood Carving Set. For this, the shorter the blade, the better, which makes a small chip carving knife a smart tool to use. Also make sure you pick one that has an ergonomic handle that fits comfortably in your hand, so you find it easier to manage.
Many experienced wood carvers have a habit of sharpening their tool blades on a leather strop every few minutes. Simply place the blade on the strop and push it across a few times. If you’re using a U-shaped gouge, make sure to sharpen the entire surface by rolling it from side to side and doing a few strokes for each angle. For the inside of the U, you can use specially formed tools or bend the leather to fit inside the tool. Over time you’ll get a feel for when the blade doesn’t work optimally anymore, telling you to use your strop.
If you did work with a tool a lot and it became blunt, you’ll need stones like whetstones for sharpening it again. If it’s very dull, start with a coarse stone and then switch to a finer stone. You’ll place the blade on the stone at an angle and you can either push away from you, draw the blade towards you or move it in circular motions. After the stones you can finish off with the strop again.
Are you ready for your new hobby now? For the best possible start we suggest you try the Editor’s choice, the Mikisyo Power Grip Carving tools. The handmade set is exceptional in quality and they’re so comfortable to hold. The quality blades provide you with a variety of options so your one set of tools will be practical for many projects.
Of course, if quality is key then you can’t go wrong with the SCHAAF full size wood carving tools set. We appreciate the manufacturer’s attention to detail, such as providing safety caps for each one and with hardened steel, they’ll last you long.
Our Best Value item is also worth a try. The BeaverCraft S01 Wood Spoon Carving Knives set only has two tools, but it comes with a leather strop, so you’re set for maintaining your new equipment. The hook knife opens up many possibilities for future projects.
Now, get your best wood carving tools for beginners and start creating what you’ve always seen in your mind’s eye.