What are Some Wood Carving Tools?

A planer is sometimes used on wood.
Hand planers, or jack planes as they're sometimes called, allow wood workers to manually shave down and smooth the surface of wood.
Carving knives are used for detail work.
An eagle carved into balsa wood.
Chisels are considered a type of wood carving tool.
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  • Written By: Diana Marie Jones
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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Wood carving varies in intensity from detailed whittling to larger hand work, and on the more experienced end of the spectrum, lathe work. A basic set of tools will prepare the novice woodcarver for advancement through increasingly intricate levels of wood carving.

The essential hand tools for wood carving and their descriptions are as follows:

The novice wood worker should anticipate paying a good amount for basic wood carving tools. While they are simple, it is important that the tools purchased are high quality. Comfortable handles are essential. Buying cheap tools will result in blisters and sores, impeding one’s ability to carve. Furthermore, good tools will last for many lifetimes if well-maintained.

The edges of chisels, gauges, and knifes are best maintained by careful storage and consistent sharpening. When storing, wood carving tools should be kept out of extreme temperatures, especially if they have wooden handles, and should be hung up or stored in a drawer with compartments or cloth to keep the tools separate. Allowing the tools to bang against one another in an unorganized drawer will dull the edges quickly. However, even with proper storage the edges will dull making for dangerous, imprecise work. It is important, therefore, to regularly sharpen the edges. Sharpening is a precise and difficult job requiring expert knowledge. In the beginning, it is wisest to have a professional tool sharpener handle the job and to gain knowledge on the task along the way.


With these basic tools, and the most important tool of all, patience, any novice will be on their way to wood carving beautiful works.


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