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So you want to know what the best knife for wood carving is. Well before getting ahead, because what’s the point of a carving knife if you have nothing to use it on? Check out the this guide for blocks of basswood or:
In order to find a quality tool, a little bit of this helpful knowledge will send you down the right path. Woodcarving is much easier if you have the right tools, but what should you look for prior to buying one?
Some of it boils down to personal preference, although there are definitely some pros and cons to the out there, so let’s take a look at those.
Folding, or Fixed Blade?
Folding knives have the obvious perk of being portable. They, on average, are already much smaller than the alternative. It’s not easy to tote around a 12” fixed blade in public. That is where the perks of the folding knives come in! They are about half the size of their counterparts, with the added perk of being able to fold up and fit in your pocket. Possesses the pleasant convenience of being discreet, small enough to fit in any pocket, and still versatile enough to accomplish most tasks. On top of these perks, they are much more likely to be legal where you live. In some places fixed blades are illegal to have in public, even sheathed! Although the main design of it that’s beneficial and unique is also it’s fault.
Many casual carvers use these simply because of their convenience. This is all good and right, but there are some drawbacks to consider as well. The part of the knife that causes its convenience is the same part that attributes to its flaws. Because it has a point of folding, that also naturally means it has a weak-spot. The point where the knife folds is a break in the metal that a fixed blade would not have. If a lot of pressure is exerted on the bevel it’s possible to damage the folding or locking mechanism, especially if its smaller, which most folding blades are. Also, knives that fold into their own handles give you the difficulty of cleaning them. Occasionally grit, dirt, lumber, or other materials will get into the handle. This can be very annoying to clean out on a regular basis, especially if you use it every day. The debris can block the locking mechanism and actually make it unsafe.
So to recap:
- Folding knives are more portable
- Are more discreet and cause less alarm in public
- Legal almost everywhere
- Have a tendency to be weaker
- Harder to clean and maintain cleanliness
- If the locking mechanism malfunctions, it can become dangerous.
Fixed Blade Knives
Although the fixed blade knife seems more menacing in the eyes of the public, and is in many areas outlawed. It stands to hold quite a number of perks over its folding counterpart. Lacking a folding mechanism, the fixed blade is as strong as a knife should be. One solid piece of metal is naturally harder to break that two pieces conjoined. Another perk that this style has over folding knives is that is can be longer. The best wood carving knives are longer and can accomplish more in wood carving, especially in making longer, flat edges. The style is also easier to clean, and stays clean longer.
So with everything we already mentioned about fixed, and folding knives, lets recap the fixed blade.
- It is cleaner, and easier to clean.
- More useful for larger carving projects.
- The blade is less likely to break, and won’t fold in on your hand.
- Could be illegal to have in public where you live, you should check first.
- It is far less portable, and you should always have a sheath to transport it anywhere.
Important Factors To Consider?
Once you are clear on the information about fixed and folding, there are even more things to consider when looking for the best wood carving knife. What type of metal? what shape? These are important qualities for considering options.
- Carbon steel is stronger than stainless, and is often used for survival knives and machetes, but it corrodes more easily. Try to steer away from stainless steel, although it is less likely to corrode, which is easily avoidable as long as you clean it often, it is very cheap and a waste of money.
- If you chose a fixed style, make sure it does not have a hilt or blade-guard. This inhibits the blades maneuverability and can get in the way of certain cuts.
- Try to go for longer and thinner blades. Unreasonably thick ones get in the way of some cuts, and shorter ones could be completely unable to perform other cuts. Make sure you strike a good balance to maintain strength.
With all of this new information, you are ready to go out and look for your next (or your first!) best wood carving knife. Make sure you do a thorough search, because quality tools are difficult to come by at times. Some of it boils down to personal preference, but hopefully these tips will help you choose a more effective cutting tool!