Hirsch - Werkzeuge Carving Gouges (Rating: 5)

My first foray into 17th-Century New England carving was a blast! I hesitated for years taking that first step, due to indecision as to what tools to use. I have always been an advocate of, knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself. Well, I'm now convinced that that does not necessarily apply to carving tools. Having used some rather inexpensive tools with most disastrous results, I decided to give the Hirsch Werkzeuge carving tools a try, and I'm sure glad I did.

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Hirsch carving tools have been manufactured in Germany continuously since 1780, and are regarded by many as Europe's finest woodcarving tools. These tools are made of high carbon tool steel and tempered to a Rockwell hardness of 61. Fitted with large octagonal handles for a sturdy grip, the gouges are finely polished inside and out, and after just a minimum of stropping, you can achieve a razor-like edge. My first carving was in ash. These tools cut through the stock like butter!

I purchased my set from Highland Woodworking, Atlanta, GA. Ranging in price from $22.99 to $96.99, they are well worth the money.