Need some advice please

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Forum topic by GaryBuck posted 12-17-2009 01:12 AM 1260 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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268 posts in 3194 days

12-17-2009 01:12 AM

Topic tags/keywords: carving tool

Another bad night up at 2 a.m. in pain and couldn’t lay there any longer so I got up and turned on the create channel and one of the wood worker shows had a woman doing carving. This is something I’ve always wanted to try. Not the sculptures but the carving on flat boards to add that extra touch to my projects. I’m disabled and don’t get my disability so cost factor is a biggie. Can someone give me some advice on what tools I should be looking at, name brands, what would be a good starter set up,where to get them, etc.etc. I don’t want to get such a cheapie that they don’t work worth a crap or need resharpened every stroke but I can’t afford the high dollar ones either. Any sugestions would be greatly appreciated. Oh and any sugestions on what kind of soft wood to start out on for practice till I get the feel of it. Thanks

Gary Buck

5 replies so far

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3326 days

#1 posted 12-17-2009 01:30 AM

I’m told that basswood is excellent for carving and its pretty inexpensive. If you are anywhere near Albany, NY, I’d be happy to give you some. As far as the tools are concerned, I found a bunch at an estate sale at a pretty good price and they were Sorby’s and Marples. I sold them about 2 weeks ago or I would offer them too.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View GaryBuck's profile


268 posts in 3194 days

#2 posted 12-17-2009 01:43 AM

Hey sikrap, day late a dollar short and ugly to boot, that’s the story of my life L.O.L. But thanks for the tip. What did you think of those name brands? And for a fair to decent starter set about what price range am I looking at? New,and/or used so I’ll know what’s a good deal. I’m in K.C. so N.Y. is a tad bit of a drive for some wood but thanks for the thought. L.O.L. I got a boat load of pine what do you think of that for some practice wood? Thanks for taking the time to answer.

View cornytheclown's profile


1 post in 3075 days

#3 posted 12-17-2009 11:06 PM

I believe you are talking about chip carving. Putting designs on box lids..panels etc…..

Chip carving knives are the tools you would be looking for. Im sure there are plenty of links to tools of all price ranges on the net.

I saw a video on you tube once where a guy was doing some nice decorative stuff with just wood chisels and a utilty knife.

View Elksniffer's profile


101 posts in 3365 days

#4 posted 12-18-2009 12:31 AM

I took a beginners woodcarving class last spring from a longtime carving teacher. We carved a relief carving into basswood and a woodspirit in cootnwood bark. It was enjoyable and not as easy as it looks. His recommendation on tools was Flexcut, reasonably priced and held an edge as well as the more expensive. He said to get four or five of the basics to learn with. Get individual chisels, not the sets with one handle and multiple tools. The size carvings dictates somewhat the size width of chisels you want to buy. The two basic chisels we used the most were gouges and V- parting. The gouges have a round cutting shape measured in sweep, #9 is a small radius and #7 would be a wider radius. So you might get a 1/2” #7 and a 3/8” #9. A 1/4” V- parting chisel, to get in tight spots maybe a smaller one. We did all the outlining on the pencil lines with a X-acto knife shaped like a pen. The flexcut tools are small palm sized tools.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3302 days

#5 posted 12-18-2009 01:34 AM

The basswood is a great choice to carve in, The only thing I don’t like about it is the smell, but I guess you can’t have everything. Another wood I love to carve is Alder. In fact it is my favorite. Many people carve in Birch, but I hate it, even though I can get an acceptable results with it. its just kind of tough and resistant. I would not recommend you start with soft woods unless they are very tight grained like old growth pine. And if you do go that route you should stick with inner harder part of the log. I have recently been carving just the edges of some scroll sawed patterns in regular pine. The results aren’t too bad, but I certainly wouldn’t waste my time trying to do relief carving with it.

When it comes to carving tools it is better to have fewer high quality ones than many cheapos. Another very very important consideration is that you will need to think about how you will be keeping your chisels razor sharp. If you don’t you will not get a good result and you will not enjoy it either. You don’t need an expensive solution to sharpening, but it is very important aspect of carving. You probably already know all this, but I’m just mentioning in case you don’t. There are some good blogs on LJ on this subject. If you are thinking about chip carving you can get by with one short blade knife and bench chisel in whatever sizes that work for your project.

Carving can be frustrating to learn, but it is pure therapy when you get the hang of it. I wish you good luck and success with it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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