Best Wood For Carving
That all depends on what you want to carve. There are different types of knives that are made for distinct styles of wood carving ranging from whittling to chipping. Both offer completely different results yet are equally rewarding. Most people start with whittling, which is more popularly recognized as hand carving.
Types of Wood Carving Styles
1. Hand Carving
Knife Carving – Also known as whittling, is a technique where shapes and objects are carved with a knife or various knives to achieve specific details.
Check out our How To Hand Carve Wood
I’d advise a fixed blade or a folding knife that has a locking blade, these are probably the safest to use if it’s your first time cutting wood with hand utensils. There are a number of blade shapes necessary to achieve various tasks, if I were to recommend a single knife to begin with, it would have a short blade with a flat cutting edge and a drop point – popularly referred to as “Cutting” blades.
Top 3 Best Wood Carving Knives Reviews of 2016
Flexcut Whittlin Jack Knife ( Check for Prices | Read Review )
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From here, we begin to cross over into the next type which is known as “Chip”.
2. Chip Carving
Chipping – it is a type of relief cutting where small, typically symmetrical, pieces are removes or “chipped” out of wood. This style offers results that can be amazingly rewarding because of the beautiful and complex patterns.
Knives that are needed for these projects can differ a bit from the ones used for completing projects like figurines, although chipping blades remain quite useful in various types of assignments. Most of the blades used for this style are “draw” types, which essentials means the blade is supposed to be drawn in the directions towards the user. Some other ones are like small chisels, but all mainly designed to precisely remove small material bits, usually at dramatic angles.
The essential tools you’ll need to begin chip carving is a primary carving knife and a stab knife.
3. Relief Carving
Specifically, people use this technique to draw pictures in wood. While smaller pieces are still achievable with knives, a lot of the tasks in this style are done with chisels and gouges.
- “Chisels” for the purpose of this beginner introduction, let’s consider chisels to be a flat blade, much like the ones we are typically familiar with, except for cutting wood, these can come at different angles to fix our needs. You can find out various types that best suit your project on Amazon.
- “Gouges” quite similar to chisels except with a U shape or a V shape. The degree of the curve (V) is called the “sweep”. As shown in the picture below:
These types of tools typically accomplish shredding off long scrapes of lumber. Obviously the shape of each offer various kinds of cuts. You can find some awesome quality gouges by Pfeil brand in different sizes on Amazon.
- Gouges that are smaller are used with the palm of your hand as the force exerting the blade through the wood, some have the “palm” frame handles. When doing larger projects, they generally need larger tools. These bigger chisels and gouges use a mallet.
What to look for in the best wood carving knife?
This question comes up a lot among beginners who are not as informed on what elements make a quality knife.
This determines the sharpness of the blade. If a knife has good edge retention then this means it is sharp and is ready to be used for carving.
How do I know if my knife has good edge retention?
Grab a piece of paper, just a ordinary notebook paper. Grab your knife and graze the blade against the side of the paper, basically cutting the paper.
If it is a smooth, clean cut then this means your blade has good edge retention.
On the other hand, it could make a choppy cut that doesn’t slice well through the paper, which means you’ll either need to hone the knife or sharpen with a stone depending how bad it is.
Knife tang refers to how far the blade is extended into the handle of the knife. There are two ways which a knife is put together relative to it’s tang.
The first being:
The most ideal assembly of a knife is a full tang blade. It has a tapered end with two pieces of the handle which are put together around the tang of the blade.
Many advantages are seen with this type of construction of a knife, the main one being that the blade doesn’t come loose or fall out of the handle.
This is a morakniv knife with a full tang blade.
Flexcut is popular for having partial tang knives which means the metal only extends partially into the handle.
It is constructed in a much different manner. As opposed to that handle being put together around the metal, it is glued into the wood.
Trouble rises here since wood carving requires high tension and stress on the handle and blade that causes it to slip out.