Basic Carving Tools for the Non-Carver

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Forum topic by Chris posted 05-09-2008 04:39 AM 1659 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1879 posts in 3986 days

05-09-2008 04:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: carving tools

So, I’ve been pondering how to take my skills up a notch and have decided one way might be to learn some basic carving skills in order to augment basic box, bowl & furniture designs.

You know, basic things like:
Egg & Dart, Letter Carving, etc.

The question is this:
With this goal in mind what would you consider to be a BASIC set of carving tools; not meaning brand but specific gouges numbers and such.


-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

9 replies so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3983 days

#1 posted 05-09-2008 05:43 AM

Can’t help you there, but I can say that Flexcut come very sharp and are relativley inexpensive.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3762 days

#2 posted 05-09-2008 06:17 AM

Thanks for the post Chris. I am interested in learning more about carving myself. Especially after viewing the ball and claw post and blog.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3986 days

#3 posted 05-09-2008 02:24 PM

Any other takers?

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3986 days

#4 posted 05-11-2008 05:49 AM

Ok… One last go of it to bring the topic back to the tops and see if I can get any bites! :)

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3881 days

#5 posted 05-11-2008 05:55 AM

Come on somebody in the know PLEASE ANSWER the question!!!! I am interested in starting a little carving too.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 3843 days

#6 posted 05-11-2008 06:43 AM

Much of the carving I do is with just a few tools. 1/4 and 1/2 bench chisels, 1/4 and 1/2 outcanel gouge(i’ll have to check on the number) 90 degree 1/4 and 3/4 parting tool. Now for lettering I use my plane blades to cut in the straights and then use the parting tools to begin the serifs and then clean them up with the bench chisels. Depending on the type of font you lean towards you can achieve a really neat brush look with the small gouge and you will be amazed at how quickly it goes, I use this technique for the asian symbols and lettering. I have a couple small signs that I have to complete next week, I will try and put together a quick blog for the tools and the simple techniques I use for the lettering, flowers and shells…Carving really is wonderfully relaxing work, almost as if a simple mallet gives our work cadence.

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View snowdog's profile


1164 posts in 3978 days

#7 posted 05-11-2008 01:59 PM

I am by far no expert but I have been gifted with many really cool carving tools (birthdays and Christmas mostly) but I find that I usually only use a few. The v chisels seems to come in very handy. I would suggest not getting to many to start. I wish I knew the number and sizes but like I said I am a novice.

I started with a pocket knife, get the flexcut knife.. and a thumb protector. The Kevlar glove has saved me from a few nasty slips also but I find that I have a lot more control with out the glove. I am also a lot more careful with out the glove. but the thumb guard seems to be a real skin saver :)

If you look at this it might give you some ideas.
FLEXCUT Scorp Set very handy
Leather Thumb Guards

When I started my biggest challenge was learning how to sharpen my tools.

Good luck

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View JimB's profile


35 posts in 3873 days

#8 posted 05-11-2008 02:54 PM

Google, Little Shavers. Rick and his wife will help you in lots of ways. Plus their site gives you a ton of info.
Also check the Woodcarving Illustrated website.

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 3781 days

#9 posted 05-14-2008 02:36 PM

I have been carving only about a year but I find it very relaxing.
I picked up some tools from “Wood Carvers” or “”
I purchased the 11 piece set of the flex cut tools and made a few of my own as well. You can see them in my pics.The flex cut tools have been a great time saver and stay very sharp, as Gary said your main challenge will be to keep them sharp.
A nice leather strop with a bit of green or yellow compound will keep them sharp fpr you. If you have anymore ?’s feel free to contact me I will help as much as I possibly can.
Good luck with your carving.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

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