Beginners carving set

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Forum topic by RJaltman18 posted 12-15-2020 03:19 AM 739 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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27 posts in 206 days

12-15-2020 03:19 AM

Topic tags/keywords: resource tip maple willow carving tool carving finishing sharpening arts and crafts rustic traditional

Need help choosing between quality chisels or going with razor blade carving set. It’s been a while since I’ve been on here and in some of my up coming finished projects I’ll be posting up hickory shovel handles (2) and a hammer handle and I’m working toward a carved hickory walking stick. All the help and advice is going to be considered in my decision when I buy my first set next year.

5 replies so far

View Phil32's profile


1329 posts in 918 days

#1 posted 12-15-2020 06:08 AM

Many experienced woodcarvers will advise against buying a set of tools. You will probably use only a few of them. I have over fifty, but use only 4 to 6 on a project. Buy one, and add to it when needed. Likewise, do not buy tools because are “razor sharp.” They will require honing within the first half hour of use. Learning how to sharpen your tools is an essential part of carving with hand tools.

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4455 posts in 4124 days

#2 posted 12-15-2020 04:50 PM

If by “razor blade carving set” you mean something like X-Acto knives, they will work, but you will go through a lot of blades, especially on hard woods like hickory. At least replacement blades are cheap. Do you plan on using a mallet, or smaller tools, like palm tools, if you end up not with X-Acto or the like? I’d almost just go with power carving on hickory. If you already have a Dremel tool or equivalent, you can buy lots of differently shaped bits. That isn’t too expensive. If you like power carving, then you could step up to a Foredom kit. I don’t have one, because I have done very little power carving, and that with a Dremel.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

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16728 posts in 2153 days

#3 posted 12-15-2020 05:03 PM

I’m with Steven, the Xacto blades are gonna last less time than it takes you to read this in Hickory ;-) I would look at more substantial tools and invest a good bit of time into making sure you know how to sharpen them.

If you’re not sure what you need and just want a decent assortment of good quality tools, the Schaaf tool sets are an excellent value. BUT the catch is you will have to shape and sharpen the edge on every one of them. Calling what they come with “rough ground” is being generous in some cases ;-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Phil32's profile


1329 posts in 918 days

#4 posted 12-16-2020 05:07 AM

The information on the OP’s profile page shows that we have discussed carving tool sets several times before.

HokieKen – My experience with the Schaaf gouges is quite different. I bought the four fishtail gouges, They were finished about as well as the Pfeil gouges I’ve bought. It was fairly easy to make them carving sharp.

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.

View mpounders's profile


989 posts in 3910 days

#5 posted 12-23-2020 10:36 PM

I carved a hickory cane once and won’t be doing it again. it was green and it was still a test of stubbornness. Not much fun in it at all. Power carving with some finishing details added with edged tools would be my suggestion. Xacto is not the way to go. I like Pfeil in full size tools and palm tools, but I own a lot of Drakes and OCCT tools also. All will come sharp and ready to carve, but you will need to continue to strop them. And don’t use them to pry out wood or you can damage the edges. I’ve seen mixed opinions on the Schaef tools and the edges needing some work, but Phil’s advice is usually good! If I was beating on hickory, I might rather use my cheaper tools!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

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