A satisfying art form for people who love working with their hands, woodcarving can be as casual or as serious as you choose to make it. Whittling can be a simple and meditative activity; carving and gouging can require your full attention for hours on end. No matter your background in this craft, it is a smart idea to equip yourself by buying a kit, which provides you with a variety of basic tools. Our picks below will help you find the kit that suits you best.
1. Waycom Wood Carving Tools Set
This is a smartly put together set that will delight woodcarvers of all skill levels. It includes everything you need to begin working right away: three types of steel knives, including a hook knife and a sloyd knife (for rough wood); a leather strop and polisher to keep your blades in tiptop shape; protective gloves that fit small to medium-size hands; and a flat walnut “spoon blank” intended for you to practice carving into a usable utensil. Each blade comes with its own leather sheath, and their handles feel sturdy and durable. You can feel the high quality of each item, including the minimal bamboo box that keeps each blade in its place.
2. BeaverCraft Whittling and Carving Kit
This is a perfect little kit to take with you on your travels and pull out when you want to practice your whittling skills. You get three knives: one for rough cuts, one for delicate carving, and one for general whittling. These arrive sharp and ready to use and are perfect for paring down small pieces of wood. When you’re done, simply roll them up in the protective pouch that comes with the set. You also get a leather strop and polisher to help you maintain these well-made blades.
3. Flexcut Carving Tools Deluxe Set
If you’re looking for excellent tools that will last many years, consider investing in this pricier set, made in Pennsylvania. It offers a wonderful assortment of four carving knives, including a pelican knife and a mini-detail knife, and five gouges. They have a nice weight to them and are attached to smooth handles designed to give you great control over your work. They are also so sharp that Flexcut provides bandages. Keep them secure and organized in the included wooden box, which has a handsome sliding cover.
4. Xacto Deluxe Woodcarving Set
If you are shopping within a lower budget or just want to try your hand at woodcarving, we recommend this tidy set. It includes a lot of tools you can use to sample different techniques. These include one knife handle and six different blades that fit on it, five gouges for digging into your wood, and four routers for hollowing it. They are good-quality tools that will give you the freedom to experiment, although if you decide to stick with this craft, you may eventually want to upgrade.
5. Morakniv Carving Kit
If the idea of carving from scratch is too intimidating, you might want to pick up a kit that starts you off on a project. This one from the Swedish knife company Morakniv invites you to carve a wooden horse—specifically, a Swedish Dalecarlian horse. It comes with a crude figure made out of soft Scandinavian pine that you have to shave down, which lets you get comfortable with carving while following precut lines. Use the included Morakniv knife, which consists of a thin and tapered steel blade, to work at the angled surfaces until you’re satisfied with your equine.