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Carving tools

Scroll to bottom for general advice on buying carving tools.


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Woodcraft Supply has for many years had a very extensive listing of quality carving tools in their catalog. Shown here are a few of the basics, but follow the 'See More' links to explore the rest of Woodcraft's lineup. I found lots of fun looking stuff I didn't know existed.

Carving sets See more carving sets

Beginner's Carving Tools
Highly recommended for the new carver doing simple or detailed work. Set includes six tools: 5/16" chisel, 5/16" skew, 5/16" bent chisel, 9/64" straight gouge, 5/16" bent gouge, and 9/64" bent V-parting tool. Made of high quality tool steel, factory ground. Factory sharpened and ready for use. Overall length 6-1/8", blade length 2-1/2".
Woodcraft Carving Set of 12 Tools
Includes 1/4" No. 9 Gouge, 5/16" No. 8 Gouge, 3/8" Skew, 3/8" No. 7 Gouge, 3/8" Chisel, 1/4" V-parting Tool, 3/8" No. 9 Gouge, 3/8" No. 5 Fishtail Gouge, 1/2" No. 5 Fishtail Gouge, 1/4" No. 9 Gouge, 5/32" V-parting Tool and 5/32" U-Veiner.
Palm Handled Carving Set of 12 - Best Value
Includes 1/4" Skew Chisel, 1/16" Veiner, 1/8" V-parting, 1/4" #5 Gouge, 3/16" #7 Gouge, 1/8" #3 Gouge, 3/8" Chisel - Double Bevel, 3/8" #3 Fishtail Gouge, 3/8" #5 Fishtail Gouge, 3/8" #7 Fishtail Gouge, 3/16" #9 Fishtail Gouge and 3/8" #9 Fishtail Gouge.
Power Grip Carving Tools, Seven Piece Set
Contains a 3mm (1/8") #9 gouge, 6mm (1/4") #8 gouge, 7.5mm (5/16") skew chisel, 7.5mm (5/16") straight chisel, 4.5mm (3/16") V-parting tool, 9mm (3/8") #5 gouge and a 9mm (3/8") #3 gouge.


Individual carving tools See more individual carving tools

Shown below are just a few examples of the many different shapes of carving tools available.

PFEIL "Swiss Made" 6mm, Gouge, Fishtail, #5 Sweep
Fishtail gouges are very useful tools for cleaning out corners and undercutting particularly when side clearance is limited. PFEIL carving tools and sets are "Swiss Made". "Swiss Made" implies reliability and precision. PFEIL is undoubtedly the finest carving tool on the market, second-to-none in terms of manufacturing quality and durability.
PFEIL "Swiss Made" 4mm # 14 Sweep V-Parting Tool
These tools are forged and precision ground with straight sides and v-bottom edge. Principal uses include outlining, detailing, texturing, undercutting, rounding over edges, and applying decoration in chip carving. PFEIL carving tools and sets are "Swiss Made". "Swiss Made" implies reliability and precision. PFEIL is undoubtedly the finest carving tool on the market, second-to-none in terms of manufacturing quality and durability.
PFEIL "Swiss Made" 6mm # 28 Back Bent Gouge
The curve of the sweep back bent gouge is reversed so the cutting edge is convex instead of concave. Use this tool for carving or cleaning out the underside of a carving or cut where top clearance is restricted. PFEIL carving tools and sets are "Swiss Made". "Swiss Made" implies reliability and precision. PFEIL is undoubtedly the finest carving tool on the market, second-to-none in terms of manufacturing quality and durability.
PFEIL "Swiss Made" 3mm # 12 Sweep Bent V-Parting Tool
The cutting edge of this tool is formed with a short lengthwise bend, like spoon gouges, for use in places where the straight shank of the standard tool would be awkward. PFEIL carving tools and sets are "Swiss Made". "Swiss Made" implies reliability and precision. PFEIL is undoubtedly the finest carving tool on the market, second-to-none in terms of manufacturing quality and durability.


Power carving See more power carving tools See angle grinders

Power Chisel
A high powered reciprocating chisel will save you time and reduce fatigue while working on everything from detailed carvings to rough work. The new Arbortech Power Chisel operates at 12,000 strokes per minute providing smooth action and excellent control to make quick work of labor-intensive operations. The powerful 700-watt motor delivers a low vibration and deep penetrating cut.
AUTOMACH Power Carver
The newest advancement in woodcarving technology! The Handcraft Carver is rugged and reliable. Aluminum die-cast body is light and vibration free. Special reciprocating action of the cutter head carves through the toughest woods with just simple hand direction. Greater pressure causes a deeper cut. For safety, free-floating action keeps blades motionless until pressed against wood.
Arbortech Complete Mini Grinder Carving Kit
Complete Mini Grinder features a powerful 710 watt, right angle drive rotary grinder. Glass reinforced extension arm gives excellent visibility and strength. Includes extra 2" blade and an assortment of mini sanders. Click photo, look for video of tool in use.
Arbortech Industrial Pro Wood Carving Kit
Industrial Pro Kit includes a 4" Industrial Woodcarver with three carbide teeth, a Pro-Guard, and an adjustment key. The carbide teeth are sharpenable and replaceable. Does not include the Angle Grinder. Click photo, look for video of tool in use.
King Arthur Tools Lancelot Woodcarving Disc, 14 Teeth, 5/8" Arbor
Chain saw blade on a wheel. Fits any 4 or 4-1/2" angle grinder. 14 tooth model is for roughing out.
King Arthur Tools Lancelot Woodcarving Disc, 22 Teeth, 5/8" Arbor
Chain saw blade on a wheel. Fits any 4 or 4-1/2" angle grinder. 22 tooth model is for finish carving.


Carving education See more carving educational books

Koch Kolleg 5 "Hands"
Regardless of your carving experience, Koch Studio Kollegs can broaden your knowledge and increase your skill. Master Carver Kurt Koch has chosen a subject for each Kolleg specifically designed to increase your knowledge, confidence and skill. Numerous illustrations and photographs are incorporate in easy to follow instructions which detail proper tool selection, handling and application.
Koch Kolleg 46 "Standing Bear"


Professional (or serious amateur) carvers often have dozens or even hundreds of separate carving tools. The reason is that each different shape and size of tool makes only that shape and size of cut. If you want the cut a little bigger or smaller or a little different shape, you either have to fudge the cut with a tool the wrong size or have a tool of the correct size and shape.

That said, no one is going to go out and buy 200 carving chisels at $30 a pop right away. So, if you are just starting out with carving, here are two alternatives:
  1. Buy only the individual chisels of the shape and size needed for the specific job you are doing now. You may need only two or three.
  2. Get one of the sets of 6 or 8 chisels as shown above. These starter sets have the basics.
Later, you can add more as you need them, and as you learn more about exactly what you need.

There's good advice from a professional carver on this site at this page- Bill Schnute Interview

Check out the power carving tools, too. It's a different ball of wax from using hand tools, but it's fun cause you can move a lot of wood in a hurry. I've used the Arbortech rotary carvers on big chunks of wood and it's a blast.

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