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Forum topic by monson posted 11-09-2014 04:28 PM 1344 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1321 days

11-09-2014 04:28 PM

Hello all

Hey all new here and fairly new to carving, up to now i just done Canes, Walking sticks, and Staffs. Recently i have dove into finer carving (old men, wood spirits, leaves, flowers ect…).

Now to the question what brands of knives, gouges, V tools should i look for and what should i look out for? I already have a chisel set “footprint carving tool set NO. 30” by far high quality but they’ll do the trick for now, I’m more for a good set of knives like a hook knife maybe a 3 pc carving set so any suggestions will help.


8 replies so far

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2 posts in 1321 days

#1 posted 11-11-2014 01:26 AM

Well after using the carving set in the picture above i have come to realize that quality tools are necessary! even if your not sure if carving is for you or not. I have started carving a mushroom on the end of a walking stick and i’m practicing on a cut off peace doing a wood spirit. Some of the DAMAGE that has been done is the edge rolling over, and even a chip out of 1 chisel ( this set has touched nothing but wood). *sigh I’m thinking that my frustration is not coming from lack of ability but lack of proper (quality) chisels and knife.

So your opinion and thoughts are needed, is it me after all or is it the low quality tools i’m using? Tomorrow i will upload some pic’s of my beginner carvings.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 1575 days

#2 posted 11-12-2014 08:31 PM

I would like to see your work monsoon. I don’t do the type of carving that you speak of. I do have the identical set of knives you have pictured, only with the Woodcraft brand on them. They are useful along with better quality knives. Quality knives do make things go a lot easier.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2645 days

#3 posted 11-12-2014 09:51 PM

Monson, rolled edges and chipped edges? Wow, yeah, that’s only you if you’re carving petrified stuff… Sounds like you need good edges.

Wish I could help with recommendations, but carving isn’t something I’ve even tried to do at this point. Hope someone will chime in and give you some input!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3360 days

#4 posted 11-12-2014 10:13 PM

Two Cherrys and pfeil are both top brands and there are others too, but I can’t think of any names just now. I like Pfeil from Switzerland best because they are very good quality and there handles are not round and so do not roll of the bench easily. I suggest you buy them as you feel the need for them instead of getting a set which you may only use 3 or 4 on a regular basis as they aren’t cheap. Quality chisels can make your carving hobby much more enjoyable and the long shafts allow you to use your other hand to steer the chisel with. I also suggest you get some sharpening help. Is there a carving club in your area?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View koraile's profile


98 posts in 1688 days

#5 posted 11-16-2014 07:32 PM

I agree With stefang. Id just add that the pfeil v chisels are the absolute best ones you can get, generaly their irons and finish are the best of quality, i have a mix of old Taylor,stubai,and pfeil, and some homemade from piano wire, some from old car springs and old shaving razors, that my grandfather made. You can also look around for old Taylor irons, they have some of the best iron mix in them, Stubai is also recomended because of the iron mix, if the iron is to hard, edges break of, to soft, and you will spend yor life sharpening,it have to be hard AND flexible. But stubai dont have the finish pfeil have, you have to be able to sett them up( sharpen) from the ground and make handles yourself. So for a beginner that wants quality, pfeil is the brand, they cost a bit more, but you will have them for life, and Your sons might even have them trough their life to :) Good Luck!

-- Bard son of iver

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15881 posts in 3360 days

#6 posted 11-16-2014 08:49 PM

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jdh122's profile


1018 posts in 2844 days

#7 posted 11-16-2014 10:46 PM

Mary May basically says that anything made in Germany, Switzerland or England is good. Those little footprint tools actually can hold a decent edge – are you sure they’re sharp? The main problem is the small size. But if you want to do any real carving you need better gouges. It’s a bit depressing, since each one costs a decent amount and you need a fair number of them. But Mike’s advice about buying them as you need them is good.
There are sets of Chinese gouges on Ebay that are pretty reasonable and apparently the steel is quite good, although they need serious honing to be able to use them.
Flexcut is the other possibility, with one handle and interchangeable blades. Some people get the blades and make their own handles for them, which would be a fairly cheap way to get some good gouges.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View mpounders's profile


875 posts in 2922 days

#8 posted 01-09-2015 05:18 PM

Pfeil is very good, but others are also decent, especially for beginners. Flexcut, OCCT, Drake, and Ramelson make some decent tools and knives. Helvie mainly does knives also. I own and use all of these brands!

But, even cheap tools will cut well when the edges are shaped and sharpened properly. And there is a learning curve to learning how to get your tools “carving” sharp for the particular material you are using. A lot of cheaper tools may have a bevel that is too steep and they need to be ground flatter and properly honed. But a slightly steeper bevel may be needed when carving harder woods. Buy a fixed blade Stanley 199 utility knife and learn to carve with it; you can strop the blades and replace them when damaged. If your other knives or tools don’t cut as well as the Stanley, then they are dull or not sharpened properly.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

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