Having a hobby is an undoubtedly rewarding experience. You get to express your creative side and participate in something you genuinely enjoy. Wood carving is no exception, and if it’s something that appeals to you, you’ll definitely have to get the proper tools for the job same way one would need with woodworking projects.
Given the sturdy nature of wood, you’ll need to invest in some decent-quality pieces that won’t let you down mid-project. You can’t exactly trust any old thing that you have lying around in this case – the classic household items are generally not going to cut it.
What Wood Carving Tools Do You Need?
Depending on how ambitious you are with this new pastime, the degree of your equipment collection will vary. But even if you’re not planning on taking it too seriously, you still need to have the following basic wood carving tools to make sure your project ends up just right:
As the name suggests, this tool looks like a spoon and can be used to carve out bowls and other forms that involve a concave shape. This one is mainly used for scooping out wood, hence the resemblance to the kitchen utensil.
The cutting edge is generally quite sharp and can be used in a very similar way to the gouge chisel. The only difference is that it’s more effective for taking out wood from the inside rather than the outside. The build quality of this wood carving tool is inherently superb, as it won’t break or bend even with a lot of pressure.
This is essentially a hand chisel with a curved blade that can be used to gouge and shape the wood. It closely resembles an ice cream scoop in terms of shape and functionality, with the handle being used to push the blade in and create holes.
Now, even though this carving tool looks safe enough, you still need to be careful with it. The blade is quite sharp and can cause some serious damage if you’re not handling it properly. That’s why protective finger tape is a must with this one – you should always wear it while using the chisel.
And remember – it’s normally used for push cuts. This involves pushing the blade in and away from your body, with the edges of the blade scraping against the wood. If you start hammering it, you can end up damaging both the tool and your project.
This is often considered as one of the general wood carving tools, mainly because you can use it to do a bit of everything. It’s usually quite small and has a pointed blade that looks like a triangular wedge with an extra-long handle.
Since it’s so sharp and precise, you can easily use it to make delicate cuts and shape the wood however you want. But be aware – the blade is extremely thin, and you will have to sharpen it regularly if you really want to get a good result. You can also use it to shave away chunks of wood, which is quite useful for sculpting purposes.
The hook-shaped blade on this tool creates a perfect foundation for detailing projects, especially in the case of spoons and other hollowed-out objects. It’s quite similar to the whittling knife in terms of its shape and size but has a different purpose.
This one is used for shaving off small pieces and creating elaborate details. It’s designed to fit comfortably in your hand, so you can always maintain a steady grip while carving away. It usually doesn’t come with a great price tag either, then again it all depends on the quality, of course.
Perhaps the most recognisable aspect of this utensil is the sheer difference in size between the blade and the handle. Instead of a small handle and a larger blade, this one is equipped with a large handle and a small blade.
The handle is strategically designed to provide maximum comfort while cutting as it safely rests in the palm of your hand. On the other hand, the blade itself is quite sharp and can be used for a number of purposes – from finely detailed cuts to aggressive shaping. The flat blade is ideal for creating even surfaces and it’s very easy to sharpen.
Protective Finger Tape
This particular item isn’t a tool of the trade per se, but it does offer an extra layer of safety when you’re working with sharp blades. It’s made out of a very thin material that sticks to your skin and prevents any accidents. It’s a must-have for anyone who takes their craft seriously, as it can save you from some nasty injuries.
Generally speaking, the tape should cover your fingers, palms and knuckles (if necessary) while you’re carving. It’s also a good idea to wear it when you’re cleaning the tools – it can protect your hands from getting scratched up.
Specialised Carving Blocks
None of the wood craft tools will do you much good without the right kind of carving blocks. Depending on the type of project you’re working on, you may need different types and shapes to accommodate your needs.
For example, if you are working on a spoon then you will need a rounded block to carve out the bowl of the utensil. The same goes for cups, bowls or any other hollowed-out objects – you will need a block that fits the shape you’re trying to create. Of course, you can choose random blocks to start with but this can be time-consuming and inefficient.
Also, it’s important to buy blocks made of the right type of wood. You may not be able to get good results if you use softer woods, such as basswood or balsa. So, make sure to invest in blocks made of hardwoods like oak, walnut, cherry, or mahogany. These will hold up better to the pressure and won’t break or bend even with a lot of pressure.