Paul Beebe #11 Carving Knife for Lee Valley

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Review by just_adam posted 11-07-2009 06:16 AM 9362 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Paul Beebe #11 Carving Knife for Lee Valley Paul Beebe #11 Carving Knife for Lee Valley Paul Beebe #11 Carving Knife for Lee Valley Click the pictures to enlarge them

Hello and this review carries my initial impressions of a fine carving knife made by Paul Beebe for Lee Valley Tools in Canada. At the time, it cost me about $33USD and presently it is in there on line catalog at this address:,130,43332,44073&ap=1

I’ve used all sorts of knives in my meandering about the wood. Opinels, Ken Onions, single edge razors, XActos…James Krenov wrote a great passage about using knives in one of his books and it resonates fully with me. Good stout carving knives are invaluable for woodworkers like me to assist in micro adjusting joints; trimming corners, general detail stuff. They can be so agile in deft hands.

Take trimming dovetail joints, case in point. My tool of choice so far had been a simple beveled edge carving knife that I got at Haida tool in Berkeley. It works great but I wanted something with a nice, sharp, stout blade whose edge is at least projected directly out from the hilt of the handle. Much of my detail work is minute cutting with the blade turned towards me, like so:

carving inward

The #11 Paul Beebe blade (There are a small handful you can select from Lee Valley) projects a small bit towards you off the line of the handle, and when I saw this, I knew it’d be a great start for those small, inward turned cuts I make!

Well I got the tool this week in the mail. You know you have something well prepped when it cuts you without even knowing as you’re extracting the tool from it’s packaging, eek! Yes, this thing comes sharp!

I love the heft of the knife. The wood handle is dense and lends a good feel in my big clumsy paws. I measured the handle at about 6” long. It’s thick enough to feel good and secure in my hand without having to hang on tight. I hate handles that are small or narrow in cutting instruments. It forces my fingers to work too hard at wrapping around the handle. This handle feels great in my hands. I could carve for hours with it. I might consider rounding off the palm side edges of the handle at some point, but for now it seems OK.

And the blade itself is so great, too. The slight curve of the edge allows me to take very tight, minute curls of material off of my project, and it’s razor sharp all the way to the tip. When I was a kid, one of the greatest challenges for me was to carve propellers for model airplanes with my dad in the shop. So now whenever I want to run a carving instrument through it’s courses, I see how well it performs in and around the blades of a propeller:

I tried to show the generous tang of the blade as it reaches into the handle. It looks sturdy and I’ll only know over time how stable it is. So far, so good:

My Bottom Line is that this is a great tool for the money, but I’ll follow up later on after I’ve carved a few more miles of mahogany!!!

-- Oakland, CA

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5 comments so far

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#1 posted 11-07-2009 04:20 PM

Great review and nice photos too.


View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 4157 days

#2 posted 11-07-2009 05:42 PM

Looks nice. My main go to knife is a kitchen knife I cut down to length. The handle is cracked and I believe I overheated the steel when cutting it as it dulls rather quickly, so yeah, I need a new one. Since you said you have used all sorts of knives, I’m guessing you see this type of knife with a slightly curved cutting edge as being better than a straight edged, chip carving type knife, or do you see both as having advantages in different areas? Sorry, I’m on a very limited budget right now and I’m trying to get an idea for something rather inexpensive for Santa to bring me this year.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View just_adam's profile


24 posts in 3914 days

#3 posted 11-07-2009 06:08 PM

Hi DaleM – I was vacillating between a straight edge and this slightly curved edge one, too. I’m not what you’d call an expert carver, so keep that in mind: I’m guessing what knife will work better depends on what kind of carving you plan to do most of.

For me, I wanted something that would be able to take very fine pieces of material off around compound curves. I’ve found straight edges can sometimes “get away from me” and end up removing more than I want, so I end up having to correct a too deep cut made.

I also want something that can trim “facets” of wood like to relieve a dovetail pin that is too tight, for instance. Here I typically have to remove a long, thin wafer of material if the pin/tail is too thick, or to trim some material of the “shoulder” of a dovetail if need be. For this type of maneuver, a straight edge might be easier to control (heck a pairing chisel might be the answer here), but I think I will be able to control this knife enough to make it happen.

So I guess my answer is to ask the Lee Valley guys. See what they think, and also maybe cruise around the forums on this site and see what people say. Regardless, I think you will be elated with the performance over your repurposed kitchen knife! That is pretty cool, by the way, I’d make a little shadow box for it and put it on display somewhere as a homage to “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”


-- Oakland, CA

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 4157 days

#4 posted 11-07-2009 06:59 PM

Adam, thanks for the reply. I will probably go with the curved knife too now that I think about it and I do have plenty of chisels, and my current knife, if I need a straight edge, or get a straight one later on if I think I still need it. I’m actually thinking more trash can than shadow box someday for my knife, but your’e probably right because I can’t seem to throw anything away.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4043 days

#5 posted 11-07-2009 07:08 PM

Cool review. Nice knife…and great propeller

I have one of the murphy knives from little shavers and it works really great…plus you get free sharpening (you only have to pay postage) – I sharpen my own…but it’s good to have in the background if I need. I am glad I bought their set of tools as I use them all the time for trimming, shaping and texturing….I am playing with carving (as said…it is nice to have a use for smaller pieces left over)....but I have a bit to go before I would consider myself a carver. (It’s a problem when you have all kinds of interests but not enough time to explore them all….)

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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