Where to purchase carving tools?

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Forum topic by opticsguy posted 02-15-2019 03:32 PM 1009 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 1138 days

02-15-2019 03:32 PM

I just started this new hobby of carving and have a good collection of carving tools from purchases made long time ago. I am finding now what tools I could really use and would like to purchase a couple of gouges. Specifically a bent gouge (sweep chisel?) #7 about 25mm to 30mm wide. I can only find the Sorby tools for around $70 to $80 each in my area and am curious about other brands, decent quality for a whole lot less.

Your experiences and recommendations please – thank you.

More information here, My recent new interest is carving bowls, I just purchased a hand adze for chopping out the innards of a bowl and combined this with some large curved chisels I purchased from a tool maker in the Philippines many years ago, This curved chisels are 2” to 3” wide with flat to curved formats. Also while traveling in China I picked up both new and old/used tools many for carving. I am now learning sharpening and made up some leather strops, both flat and curved for sharpening and my skills are increasing. I started carving about 2 weeks ago. Or less.

Than you.

6 replies so far

View Phil32's profile


1586 posts in 1145 days

#1 posted 02-15-2019 04:41 PM

Perhaps the widest assortment of carving tool profiles (shapes) is made by Pfeil in Switzerland. The exclusive dealer for Pfeil (Swiss Made) carving tools in the U.S. is Woodcraft. They are rarely seen on the used market.

However, if I were carving bowls, I would look into the adzes and crooked knives used by Pacific Northwest native carvers. They usually make their own from salvaged steel, but some excellent tools are made by Kestrel Tools in Washington.

-- You know, this site doesn't require woodworking skills, but you should know how to write.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

3007 posts in 1405 days

#2 posted 02-15-2019 05:20 PM

I would suggest not buying a “kit” of tools but to purchase
what you need when you need it – and go for quality vs price.
the majority of my tools are Swiss Made or Henry Taylor that
are well over 30 years old.
Mary May has some great videos on YouTube as well as other
very fine carvers.



-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

View Planeman40's profile


1559 posts in 4003 days

#3 posted 02-16-2019 03:45 PM

My preferred source is Wood Carver’s Supply ( They carry their own brand “Mastercarver” which are excellent and are much less expensive that the Swiss gouges. “Yer pays yer money and takes yer choice”! Take a look.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View jdh122's profile


1268 posts in 4060 days

#4 posted 02-16-2019 04:00 PM

For bowls I agree with Phil. I have a double edge bent knife from North Bay Forge and it’s amazing for working inside the bowl after the adze (on the other hand, it’s not much use for spoon carving). His prices are pretty reasonable, the steel takes a great edge.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View RedHotPoker's profile


1 post in 1004 days

#5 posted 02-16-2019 09:23 PM

Try looking through the online Lee Valley Tools catalogs for inspiration and variety choices.

They carry a wide range of awesome wood working and gardening tool inventory.


View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1224 posts in 1630 days

#6 posted 02-16-2019 09:47 PM

+1 on Mary May’s site. She’ll start you off with easy stuff and tools and build your skills. +1 on not buying a kit too. You don’t know what you need until you know what you want to carve.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

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