August 30, 2021

How to Make Your Own Wood Carving Tools

When you want to make your own wood carving tools, follow the instructions from the manufacturer. The wood carving tools are into two categories, and these include standard and advanced tools. Pay attention to detail when making both. A single mistake will cost you the material. Even if you are a seasoned woodcarver, making the tools is flexible since you do not have to use them. 

Why make your own wood carving tools?

Making your own wood carving tools is more affordable than buying. Good quality tools are hard to get if you are running under a tight budget, and that is why homeowners choose to take their time buying materials to make the tools. 

As much as it takes time, you will gain experience as you make more tools. The process is fun, and in the end, it is worth it. These are manual tools that do not need industrial machinery. That is an advantage to homeowners who want to make their tools. 

It means you are not going out of your budget as you start the project. However, more advanced and complex tools are better when you buy them in-store since making them your own is not practical. Experienced woodworkers know how to make the tools due to experience and more advanced machinery. 

Woods for carving

  • Basswood
  • Black walnut
  • Aspen
  • Butternut

Carving tools a beginner needs

Carving tools differ in shape, width, and profile of the cutting edge. The mallet makes a tool unique. 


Mallet is a small hammer used in wood carving for tapering and designing wood. The effective tool has been in the game for a long time, and it has gained popularity due to its customizing feature. 

It has specifications that allow the user to have more control over your work. There is a need for specific materials when making the tool. Take one piece of oak wood dowel and one galvanized pipe. 

If you are looking forward to more power, get a bigger dowel size for the mallet. Amongst the tools you need is the hacksaw, glue, sandpaper, screws, or nails. 


  • Cut the wooden dowel into five pieces of 7.25 inch length using a hacksaw. These become the handle of the mallet. 
  • Take that pipe and cut off threaded ends on the pipe. Cut it into five pieces of 1.375-inch length.
  • Place the wooden dowels below the pipe pieces, and they should be horizontal, forming the head of the mallet. The wooden dowels should be positioned below them vertically.
  • Use screws or nails to tighten the dowel against the inside of the pipe. Apply glue on the seams and cracks as you secure the bonding strength of the nails.
  • Let the glue set in overnight.
  • Remove residue stains from the mallet using sandpaper
  • Wax or oil the mallets to avoid oxidation and seal blemishes. Do not worry about the invisible ones.
  • Heat the mallets 350 degrees for 2 hours. Cool them off
  • Carve the dowels.

Carving knife

A carving knife is simple to make. Take a 1095 knife steel 5/8 inch by 3 inches long, 2inch long brass rod and wood. Gather your materials and tools as you prepare your project. 

Hardwood is ideal for a carving knife. The tools include a hand drill, mill file, bench vise, hacksaw, three clamps, mini files, marker, snapper, and a 1/8 inch diameter drill bit. 


  • Define the shape of the blade using a file.
  • Outline the edge of the blade using a marker.
  • Draw the middle of the edge of the blade and mark centerlines using a drill bit.
  • Clamp the blade to your workbench and file it as you follow the outline you marked. 
  • Remove scratches using sandpaper.
  • Make the handle of the blade.
  • Heat treat the blade till magnetic properties disappear.
  • Clean torch stains And quench the blade using peanut oil. 
  • Use glue to fix the blade and carve the caving blade j to your shape.

Other tools

Bench knife

A bench knife is a tool that specializes in wood carving. It comes with a short blade that looks like a scalpel. Beginners do not have a tough time using the bench knife due to its ease of use.

 It is about 3/4inch in size and does not confuse the tool with the one used for cooking. It has an ergonomic design that allows easy handling. It comes with a large handle that comes with a good grip. That makes working on detailed designs easy and enjoyable. 


A chisel comes in multiple shapes and sizes and has a bladed edge that cuts through the wood. The sharp cutting edge is attached to a handle that makes operating the tool easy. 

Keep it sharp, and you are allowed to use it together with a mallet to drive the bladed edge through the wood. The style of the chisel depends on the shape of the cutting edge and the width of the blade. 

Pros of making your own wood carving tools

  • Interesting
  • Builds your creative skills
  • Detailed
  • No industrial machinery


  • Time-consuming
  • Poor quality tools
  • Needs experience


  • Keep your carving knives sharp using a whetstone because if you leave them blunt, the tasks will be challenging to complete.
  • Follow instructions and safety precautions so that you enjoy your projects without cuts and injuries. Use power tools to make the tools, and safety wear is necessary. Put on safety goggles, gloves, and aprons so that chemicals from glues and epoxies will not get on your skin and clothes. 
  • Look out for heavy machinery online and talk to professionals who have their tools ready. That helps you invest in tools.
  • Standard tools are your starting point. Packages that come with multiple tools may be on discount, but some tools might not be necessary. Buy single tools so that you do not clutter your workspace with tools you do not use. 
  • Stay away from more advanced tools that need heavy machinery and well-experienced wood carvers when you are just a beginner.


The wood carving appears to be difficult, but with time to gain experience and skills. With more practice and dedication, it becomes easy and enjoyable. The more you put more effort, the quicker you become in making your own wood carving tools. Start with the standard tools, building up your confidence to acquire knowledge as you tackle complex tools.

David D. Hughes
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