Carving tools

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Forum topic by Don Newton posted 11-25-2011 09:46 PM 1316 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don Newton

716 posts in 3824 days

11-25-2011 09:46 PM

Haven’t posted for quite some time and miss all of you guys. Great to see all of the new posters! Been out of the shop for a year or so and am working on some humidors that are coming along rather nicely, if I do say so myself. Was thinking of trying my hand at some carving but am at a loss as to what to buy as far as carving tools. What is a good quality beginner set that could be added to if all goes right? Hello to my buddies Scotsman and Junji, anyone heard from Junji?


-- Don, Pittsburgh

6 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3853 days

#1 posted 11-26-2011 12:31 AM

I’ve found the Flexcut tools to be very versatile. The shanks flex
which allows you to get out of a cut that would otherwise require
another tool. Each tool’s versatility is expanded. They have their
drawbacks of course, but I think you’ll find them a good value for
starting out.

View HerbC's profile


1790 posts in 3064 days

#2 posted 11-26-2011 12:43 AM

Looks like the last time he commented was shortly after the sunami…

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Byron's profile


92 posts in 2585 days

#3 posted 11-26-2011 12:49 AM

they’re pretty expensive but swiss made I feel are the best, in the end it all comes down to being able to get them sharp

-- Byron Conn, Woodworking/Furniture Design at Rochester Institute of Technology,

View carverdave's profile


8 posts in 2845 days

#4 posted 11-30-2011 06:17 PM

I agree with Byron, as far as Swiss Made tools, another quality tool that I love is


-- Dave C. Wesley Chapel FL.

View DS's profile


3033 posts in 2625 days

#5 posted 11-30-2011 06:26 PM

Bryon is spot on… I LOVE Swiss Made steel!!!

Too many beginners buy cheap gouges and give up when they get unsatisfactory results.
They blame themselves, or thier lack of “talent”, when they didn’t have the right tool for the job.

Carving should be about getting the vision in your head onto the wood on your bench—not about fighting with your tool to cut anything. You could mow your lawn with kitchen scissors, but you will work very hard and probably get unsatisfactory results too.

If you’re unsure about investing in something you may or may not like, I am sure the local Woodcraft store, (who carries Swiss Made and has Saturday workshops), would allow you to try them out in the in-store workshop.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3487 days

#6 posted 12-01-2011 04:04 AM

I just recently gave up on getting old properly shaped carving gouges like those from James Cam, Herring Bros, Charles Buck and Addis. Old carving tools in good shape seem to sell for two to three times what new tools sell for. There’s a reason for that and it’s carvers driving the price, the bottom has pretty much fallen out of the collector market. The old gouges have so many refined features over the new ones, the makers seem to have stopped properly finish shaping, a skilled grinding process, at some point. My best guess is this happened in the labor market shift following World War II.

I’ve bought Ashley Iles, Pfeil, Two Cherries and Marples gouges and looked at others but none are made right. Some of the Pfeil gouges would be okay but they use a chrome vanadium steel that’s too soft for the acute cutting edge angles one wants on carving tools. While I prefer London pattern I decided I could live with the Continental pattern tools. I ordered Stubai gouges that are made in Austria. The critical tapers still need to be refined but I found the Stubai tools need the least work. I’ve got them worked over and tomorrow will be the first time I actually use them for my work. I think they’ll be okay but I’m not sure yet.

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