August 30, 2021

How to Make Your Own Wood Carving Tools | Why and How To

DIY wood carving tools

Of course, you need a piece of wood to carve. But what about carving tools? Where do you get them? You can buy carving kits at the store, but they are expensive and do not always include the necessary tools. In this blog post, I’ll show you how to make your own carving tools with simple materials you probably have lying around the house. You can build your kit exactly how you want it at a fraction of the cost of commercial carving kits. So let us get started! Let’s look at how to make your wood carving tools!

Why make your own wood carving tools?

Making your own wood carving tools is more affordable than buying them. Good quality tools are hard to get if you are running under a tight budget, so 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 the cutting edge’s shape, width, and profile. The mallet makes a tool unique. 

Mallet

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 has gained popularity due to its customizing feature. 

It has specifications that give the user more control over their 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 a hacksaw, glue, sandpaper, screws, or nails. 

Steps

  • 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 the 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 at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Cool them off
  • Carve the dowels.

Carving knife

How to make a 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. 

Steps

  • 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. 

Chisel

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, making 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 chisel’s style depends on the cutting edge’s shape and the blade’s width. 

Advantages of making your own wood carving tools

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

Disadvantages of making your own wood carving tools

  • Time-consuming
  • Poor quality tools
  • Needs experience

Tips

  • Keep your carving knives sharp using a whetstone because the tasks will be challenging to complete if you leave them blunt.
  • Follow instructions and safety precautions to 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.
  • Buy single tools so that you do not clutter your workspace with tools you do not use. Standard tools are your starting point. Packages with multiple tools may be on discount, but some tools might not be necessary. 
  • Stay away from more advanced tools that need heavy machinery and well-experienced wood carvers when you are a beginner.

Verdict

Now that you know the basics of what you need and how to make a carving knife, it’s time to get started. Remember, these are just the basics. You can find more detailed instructions on how to make specific tools elsewhere on the Internet. And if you have any tips or tricks for making carving tools, please share them in the comments below! We hope this article has sparked your interest in woodcarving and given you the knowledge you need to start making your own tools. Have fun with your carving!

David D. Hughes
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