Woodcarving is a great way to enter into the world of woodworking. There are thousands of options available to purchase which can quickly become overwhelming for someone just starting out. That overwhelming feeling typically causes two reactions – 1) the person just decides to not do anything and look into another hobby or 2) (probably the most likely) they purchase a bunch of tools that they don’t need. My goal on this page is to direct you to products that are good quality but budget friendly. I’m also trying to you ending up with a bunch of tools that never get touched.
The tools and wood I’ve listed below, will get you up and running for around $135 (as of August 2018). All of these items are available on Amazon, so if you are a Prime member, you could be carving your first item within a couple days! Also, everything I’ve listed below has great reviews and great quality for the price.
When you think of woodcarving, you may assume the only tools you need are a knife and a piece of wood. This isn’t the case though. Woodcarving tools fall into 3 general categories – cutting, sharpening and safety. When starting out, you may consider just buying the wood and knife and skipping the other two categories. This will quickly lead to frustration and possibly a serious injury.
- Cutting – There is an endless supply of carving knives and hand tools on the market. One type of knife may come in 5 different sizes. Some have gouges and angles that will make it easier to carve different designs in the wood.
- Sharpening – It doesn’t matter what brand or how expensive your knife is; you will have to sharpen the blade. Running a blade thru wood, dulls it very quickly. Expect to sharpen your blades regularly. Perhaps multiple times in the same sitting.
- Safety – Cut resistant gloves are REQUIRED, especially for beginners. A slip of the knife can quickly cause a deep cut on your hand or fingers. Gloves are cheap. Don’t skip on this area.
ADVANCED CARVERS! – If you are looking for more advanced wood carving tool recommendations, then please head over to this page.
- This wooden spoon carving set from BeaverCraft is an excellent starter kit. It’s priced around $51, but takes care of both you knives and sharpening stone. The variety pack of 3 different knives will be perfect to practice with as you begin understanding how your tools work with different woods. This set has excellent reviews!
- The next recommended set of tools for your new wood carving adventures is the Palm Tools set from UJ Ramelson. This set of 6 palm tools will give you practice using different sized gouges, chisels and skews. The set is priced at $50 and has excellent reviews.
- A thumb guard is a must for a beginner. These are the lowest priced item in our set at under $2. This cowhide thumb guard is made by G&F Products. It is a very high seller.
- These DeWalt safety glasses are shaped similar to a pair of sunglasses and should be lightweight enough to be able to focus on your carving.
- Cut resistant gloves are also needed. These gloves are designed to prevent a blade from cutting thru the material, thus protecting your hands and fingers from cuts and possible trips to the emergency room. These gloves are made by NoCry and run about $10 depending on the size you need.
- Here’s a set of various sized pieces of BassWood. This is an excellent wood to begin learning on. It’s soft and will allow you to learn how your knives cut the the wood. This pack sells for about $16.
Here’s a couple books that I recommend. There’s plenty of Youtube videos on beginner wood carving, but I feel these books provide an incredible amount of information. Both books are available on a Kindle, but I highly recommend a hard copy due to the extensive photos they contain.
- The Complete Book of Woodcarving: Everything You Need to Know to Master the Craft – This book has almost 300 pages of photos and information crammed in it. It’s also comes with 8 beginner projects.
- Caricature Carving (Best of WCI): Expert Techniques and 30 All-Time Favorite Projects – This book isn’t quite as popular but I think is an excellent resource. This will take you a step further than the other book and teach you how to begin making some small scale characters.