November 29, 2021

What knife do you use for wood carving?

If you have already been through our post reviewing some of the top carving knives and are still wondering, What knife do you use for wood carving? This post will shed more light on this. By the end of it, you will know what types of knives are available and what they are used for.

Types of wood carving knives

Morakniv El

Chip Carving Knives

A chip carving knife is a carving tool that removes small material from a flat surface in a single piece. The blade helps you get cuts of your choice and carvings over the wooden surface.

If you are working on a detailed task, look for specific knives for chip carving. Make use of a knife with a comfortable grip and razor-sharp blade. Detail knives or stab knives have a small carving blade.

Stab knives have a straight-edge blade, and a detailed knife penetrates much deep into the surface. Pocket knives are utility knives made for mobility and are not affordable. For a budget-friendly project, compare the above chip carving knives.

Whittling Knives

A whittling knife allows you to play around with wood lying around. You do not need the skills to use the knife. It gives you room to be creative outdoors. When you want to use the carving knife, gather your tools and material. Make sure your blade is well-sharpened.
Whittling knives come in different forms. Knives designed for whittling tend to be non-folding knives. That makes them less convenient for on-the-go wood carving. A fixed blade makes them more sturdy, and their handles sit more comfortably than pocket knives. There are also folding knives that are ideal for whittling, and some pocket knives.

Bench Carving Knives

When buying a bench carving knife, consider the quality of steel in the blade. It determines if you can bring the knife to a very sharp, fine point with a sharp edge. Use your hand to adjust to a knife handle if it does not fit.

You cannot do anything to improve a poor-quality steel blade or force it into holding an edge. Consider a bench carving knife with an ergonomic handle. The handle should not be too wide for a comfortable grip in my hand, and the extension of the knifepoint beyond the handgrip is too long.

A long-bladed bench knife is for debarking walking sticks, for long whittling cuts, and shapes. It is ideal for beginners, long whittling strokes as debarking walking sticks, or rounding over the corners of a practice block. The long blade pushes fingers away from the wood. You can use it for rough-out work but avoid detail or shaving work.

Carving Chisels

Straight-edged woodcarving chisels are ideal for defining straight lines and border work in relief carving. It also makes intricate shapes and designs for fine art. Keep the knives sharp, as they are for fine detail work. You are allowed to use them to draw on wood, or even do a full mini-sculpture. Wood carving gouges work on both green wood and dry wood.

Carving Gouges

Gouges carve grooves without the corners of the tool digging into the wood. They remove excess wood from a flat surface, where the corners of a flat chisel dig in and get stuck. It allows you to stop-cut around round objects. Gouges are called Spoon, Macaroni, and Fluterini, and a spoon gouge makes concave cuts in tight areas.

Wood Carving Knife Brands

  • Flexcut
  • BeaverCraft
  • pfeil Swiss made
  • Mora
  • Opinel
  • Ohkubo
  • Woodcraft
  • Ramelson
  • Harima
  • WoodRiver
  • Hotak

Can you use any knife for wood carving?

Yes, you can use any knife for wood carving. A simple and available knife used by both beginners and experienced woodcarvers is the pocket knife. It is easy to carry and found anywhere. Using it with different blades allows you to make a variety of cuts.
When you decide to use any other knife for carving, It should have good quality steel, which takes a good edge. It should be narrow from top to bottom to allow cuts in concave areas. Make sure there is no hilt or blade guard since they are not for carving.
A thin blade works better for most cuts. Short carving blades make beginners feel safer, but this does limit the cuts you can do.

What are the different types of carving knives?

Carving Chisel

A carving chisel is a carving tool with a flat blade. Carving chisels are beveled on both sides of the blade instead of having a bevel and a flat back. They have a cutting edge that is square to the sides. They also come with a skewed edge for cleaning out tight corners where there is little clearance.

Carving Gouges

The carving gouges have varying degrees of blade curvature and make concave and convex shapes and surfaces. The higher the number, the tighter the curve. Higher numbered gouges are good at cutting channels and deeper details.

Long Bent Gouges

They have curved blades along their length. This shape allows them to hollow out and make deeper cuts, unlike a straight gouge. It is ideal for relief carving.

Spoon Bent Gouges

Spoon-bent gouges have a straight blade along its length and curves at the end, which looks like a spoon. They are used for hollowing and deep cutting, although they excel at cutting in hard-to-reach areas.

Fishtail Gouges

It is easy to see how the fishtail gouge gets its name. The blade starts thin at the handle, flaring out towards the end to reach its widest point at the cutting edge. Available in either chisel or gouge form. The unusual shape of the blade gives clearance in hard-to-access areas. They excel where full-width blades would have difficulty fitting.

Carving Knives

Carving knives are for whittling, chip carving, letter carving, and detailing. They come with different blade shapes, each one designed for a specific purpose. Think about what the knife will be used for and select a blade shape that suits your needs.


V-tools make a V-shaped cut with an angled bottom, V tools are used for detailing and adding decoration. They come in different angles ranging from 30 and 45 degrees.

Can you carve with a pocket knife?

Yes, you can. Use different blades for many cuts.

What is the primary tool used by woodcarvers?

The first tool a wood carver starts with is a knife. It is for whittling and chip carving. There are different types of knives, and the carving knife is the ideal one for the projects. Choose one that fits comfortably. It should be of high-carbon steel that will hold an edge for a long time.

How do you use wood carving gouges?

  1. Sketch a design on paper.
  2. Choose the best wood for your project.
  3. Gather your tools and make sure you have enough workspace.
  4. Sharpen your blades.
  5. Make a plan for your design.
  6. Follow protective measures.
  7. Cut along the grain.
  8. Start carving.
  9. Finish with detailing.

Do you need a special knife for whittling?

If your budget allows, but there is no need to buy a specialty knife to whittle. You can use a second pocket knife for everyday use. Keep it sharp.

What is a sheepsfoot blade?

A Sheepsfoot blade is a blade shape with a straightedge and a spine that curves down to meet it at the point. Sheepsfoot blades are useful for slicing material. They cut the potential for accidental piercing with the point.

David D. Hughes
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