July 10, 2019

Best Knife for Whittling Tested and reviewed by users & experts

Are you looking for a new whittling knife? Perhaps your skills have improved, and you feel an upgrade is warranted. Or are you tired of your current knife and want to try something new? Maybe you want to start whittling for the first time and make sure you get it right the first time.

Whatever category you fall into, we wrote this article to help you find the best knife for carving whittling and one that fits your needs.

Here are our five picks for the best knife for whittling:

  1. The BeaverCraft BC C2 
  2. The BeaverCraft C4
  3. Flexcut Whittlin’ Jack JKN88
  4. Flexcut Right-Handed Carvin’ Jack, Folding Multi-Tool JKN91
  5. Flexcut Cutting Knife KN12

Most people get into whittling as a hobby that relaxes them. Depending on what you are working on, whittling requires different tools. Having the wrong type of knife will only serve to complicate matters.

There are many ways that you can go about picking your new whittling knife. The last thing that you need is to start getting worked up about something that you got into for the sake of chilling out. That defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

We have tested some of the best knives on the market. We spent hours researching to get information about other people’s experiences with these knives. This is done to understand that we will all have different experiences, all of which are relevant. 

Our Top Pick

Top Pick

If had to choose one, it would have to be the Beaver Craft BC C2. It was a close call with the others, however, this one wins based on safety. It is probably one on the two on this list that I would say would potentially be safe for a child to use.

The Beaver Craft BC C2

Five best knives for whittling

We wanted knives suitable for beginners and seasoned whittlers for our top five. We chose ones that didn’t stretch our pricing point too far off, whether on the cheaper or more expensive side. 

Versatility was also to be considered. We asked ourselves if this was the only knife I had, how much whittling would I be able to do? This is not necessarily limited to volume. We considered this in the sense of the type of end products that you would be able to produce.

Durability is important. The worst knives I have used were the ones where the blade snaps. In cases where the handle falls apart, there is room for repair. We, whittlers, love to tinker. We could carve ourselves a new handle. However, when the blade is gone, that is the end of the road. If it is a blade performing well, this can be shattering. 

Lastly, it had to be singular, as we are looking for a knife. We did not consider any knives that come as part of a set.

The BeaverCraft BC C2 

The Beaver Craft BC C2

This is a chip wood carving knife. It is designed to offer great versatility as a general whittling knife. There is very little intricacy, making it easier to focus on getting your skills right. We can safely say that it is one of the better knives to start with as a beginner.

The front of the knife is conveniently thinly pointed, which makes it a great pick for working on pieces of wood that require intricate touches. Working on detailed features on any piece will require this. 

The blade is made of carbon steel and then finished off with hardening. Thank God for that! It is carefully sharpened and polished. You can take it out of the box and put it straight to work without doing anything else. Beaver Craft is confident in this product and the rest of their greenwood line.

The handle is crafted from hardwood oak. This is what gives it that sturdy feel. It is finished off with linseed oil processing. The minor ridges make it easier to work with for long periods without feeling the pain. In a word, it is ergonomic! 

Where the tang is concerned, it is glued in at just over two and a half inches. You will not encounter any problems there. After hours of use, it looked as good as new. The knife fits into both adult and children’s hands. I would say anyone above the age of 8 should be alright. 

Pros

  1. Works right out of the box.
  2. It is effortless to use.
  3. Very comfortable handle.
  4. Beginner and child-friendly.

Cons

  1. More advanced users may find the need to grind it down a little.
  2. We found some blades to be dull.

BeaverCraft C4

Beaver Craft C4

Here is another one from Beaver Craft. It is sold as a general sloyd knife designed specifically for wood carving, green woodworking, WHITTLING, and roughing wood. This one has a thin pointed tip that will allow you to work on adding fine detail to confined areas. It curves around from the tip, creating an edge that can be used for making slicing cuts across any surface.

Like other Beaver Craft products, this is sharpened and polished before being boxed and shipped to you. The blade is made out of high carbon steel, making it firm. It is hardened to RC 58-60. 

The edge we mentioned earlier is very sharp. It would be ideal for cutting through soft pieces of wood in an easy motion. You can cut through oak and walnut.

This also has a hand made of hardwood oak. You will not be snapping this bad boy! Even with its hardness, it is designed to be ergonomic. For a finishing touch, it is processed with natural linseed oil.   

The handle is so comfortable that you will use it for long periods without feeling fatigued or uncomfortable. It is manufactured in Ukraine. Read a more detailed review of the BeaverCraft C4.

Pros

  1. Great value for money. As good as some better-known brands for a portion of the price.
  2. Easy to maintain, strop, and sharpen.
  3. Very sharp-edged blade.
  4. It is beginner-friendly.
  5. The shape of the blade is convenient. It gives it versatility.

Cons

  1. The Oak handle discolors your hands when used for long periods. It is a plight of the trade.
  2. Does not come with a sheaf, worrying about such a sharp knife.

Flexcut Whittlin’ Jack JKN88

Considering a blade that is made in the US? This one is straight out of Pennsylvania. Flexcut is one of the more popular brands of whittling knives. As such, we went into this with extremely high expectations. Keeping an open mind was key. Having a knife that can be put away when it is not being used is important for safety. The Jack JKN88 can be folded into itself when you are not using the blade.

It is equipped with two blades that are specifically manufactured for whittling. These are a 1 1-½  inch knife for detailing and a 2-inch roughing knife. You can tell which is which from the shapes of the blades. The entire thing is about 4 inches long. It is perfect for putting in your pocket and portable for whittling on the go. 

Here’s a more detailed review of the Flexcut Whittlin’ Jack JKN88. The blade is made of hard carbon steel. It comes well sharpened and ready to use straight out of the box. It does not come with any accessories. You will just receive the knife. I didn’t expect otherwise.

Pros

  1. Easy to store away.
  2. Portable, which is excellent if you want to whittle on the go.
  3. Very comfortable to work with.
  4. Well crafted and well-finished exterior
  5. Durable.

Cons

  1. Not suitable for children.
  2. Tends to be very hard to fold and unfold, which can be dangerous.

Flexcut Right-Handed Carvin’ Jack, Folding Multi-Tool JKN91

Flexcut Right-Handed Carvin' Jack, Folding Multi-Tool JKN91

If you are looking to push it a little further, as far as versatility is concerned, this may be the one for you. It is a multi-tool. Based on our goal to find a one size fits all knife, this could be the closest we will get to doing so.

This jack knife has six carving-specific tools on it. It has a chisel, a carving knife, a hook knife, a v scorp, a gouge scorp, and a straight gouge. All of these knives complement extremely well to give you an amazing tool. 

It does come sharpened and ready to be used straight out of the package. You get a sharpening strop and a Flexcut Gold polishing compound for maintaining it. The two will cover all your stropping and polishing needs. 

This is another product that is manufactured in the US. The icing on the cake is the leather case in which you can store the knife. It is worth mentioning that this tool is priced much higher than other similar ones.

There is an argument for buying a knife and getting the extras separately. The wisdom is that you would probably save some money. That being said, no one can argue with the quality of the product. If you are on a budget, you may want to look elsewhere.

Pros

  1. Easy to use and to store away.
  2. Comes with a strop, polish, and a leather case to carry it in.
  3. Easy to maintain with the provided tools.
  4. Well made and durable. 

Cons

  1. It isn’t easy to justify the price compared to others on the market.

Flexcut Cutting Knife KN12

Our final pick is from Flexcut as well. It is an amazing knife for beginners. As with the others, it is made in the US. The blade is 1-1/4 inches long and made of carbon steel. It has an ergonomic ash hardwood handle. This makes it very comfortable for carving for long periods. It is probably the most basic one out of Flexcut’s entire range.

You may note that this is not a blade that would do a great job detailing. For that, you would need something that has a thinner blade. You can sharpen it at a 25-degree angle for the best results. 

Like other blades, it does not come with replacement blades. This is contingent on the Flex Cut Cutting Knife being durable. The low pricing point is such that you would happily buy a new one, provided you got a reasonable amount of use out of this one. 

Finally, the blade is double beveled, making it useful for left-handed hitters. Here is a more detailed review of the Flexcut Cutting Knife KN12.

Pros

  1. Good price.
  2. Highly regarded among beginners and seasoned users alike.
  3. It is easy to hold onto the blade for prolonged periods.
  4. American made if that matters to you.

Cons

  1. The blade has come off the handle on some occasions.

The Buyer’s Guide for the best knife for whittling

It isn’t easy to narrow it down when it comes to what you should consider when picking your new knife for whittling. One of the key things that I would start with is safety. Whether you will use the blade yourself or others, you want it to be safe. Where safety is concerned, a sheath is a great starting point. 

Safety

If your blade comes with a sheath, that is great. In some cases, it will come without one. I’d say it is relatively important to order one with it. There is no magic to picking a sheath. The better ones or usually leather.

Durability

Once the safety factor is out of the way, the next thing to consider is durability. You do not want your blade to fall apart too quickly. There is no ideal period for durability. It will come down to how much you have spent on it. When you pay for a cheap knife, you can afford to buy one if it falls apart. This, of course, is not great for an expensive knife.

Summary

With our top 5, you have found a good carving knife regardless of your experience. The buying guide is designed to help you make the right decision. In summary, knives can be a big investment, and if you’re just chopping wood, a multipurpose knife may just not be worth its price. However, if you’re a wood carver or do a lot of fine, detailed work, then slicing, dicing, and chopping with a quality knife can be well worth it.

Enjoy Whittling!

David D. Hughes

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