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Best Brands of Knives for carving

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  • Best Brands of Knives for carving

    I've seen the Davis Bros., HELVIE KNIVES, and others like OCCT. What are some of the best brands of carving knives?
    Last edited by Froissart; 09-05-2021, 12:43 PM.

  • #2
    Welcome. Where are you from? Which style of wood carving appeals to you the most?
    Not all blade smiths make all blades and carving styles sometimes need particular knife shapes.

    What sorts of preparations have you made to keep the edges "carving sharp"?
    Might be every 30 minutes in a day.
    Brian T


    • #3
      Hi, Northwest Montana. Chip carving, Carving Gunstocks of muzzleloaders, realistic fish, and songbirds, quite a range. Haven't purchased new tools for 30 years so I'm not familiar with the brands I see.


      • #4
        I started carving with a no-name pocket knife. I soon learned I had to shape and sharpen it for what I was carving. The knife I use now is double edged. I do not recommend either for carving.
        It doesn't matter if the "carving experts" suggest buying a Buck, Barlow, or Helvie, your choice of a knife will not make you a carver or even assure your enjoyment of carving.
        Do as Brian T suggests (above), decide what type of carving you want to do first.

        Edit: I see you have answered his suggestion. Buy a #1 chip carving knife.
        Last edited by pallin; 09-05-2021, 02:45 PM.


        • #5
          It depends on what you like. You mentioned OCCT and a lot of carvers love em.

          I like my Helvie knives but in the current market you’ll be paying close to $200 unless you get lucky and get one directly from Helvie.

          I like BK Thurman knives.

          But hands down, knife or gouge the finest tools I own were made by Diobsud forge.

          Ultimately you’re probably going to try a few different blades before you find the one that suits you.
          Last edited by Nebraska; 09-06-2021, 07:38 AM.

          Local club


          • #6
            First Nations wood carvers, and others here in the Pacific Northwest, need to use three classes of carving tools.
            1. Elbow adzes, possibly a D adze as well.
            2. Crooked knives. You come to own dozens of shapes.
            3. Straight knife. Usually quite a robust short blade.

            While the crooked knives and the adzes may be of no interest, the straight knives are impressive.

            Have you made any of your own knives? There's a lot of top quality junk steel out there,
            like reciprocating saw blades, farrier's hoof trimming knives, big wide bandsaw blades and so on.
            Brian T


            • #7
              Yes, my kids and I have made a couple of knives. Lots of fun. My oldest wants to make more so we've collected auto spring steel and other steel from saw blades.


              • #8
                So what is your sharpening procedure for knives?


                • #9
                  You could ad Drake and Pfeil knives to the ones you named in your post. Any of those will be a good carver. If we have carved for a while most of us have a collection. There is a well known caricature caver who does most of his work with a box cutter. I started with Xacto set. The type of carving will also Be a factor in your choice. There are a lot of you tubes on sharpening and strop carving knives and tools. If you have a problem every one here will try to help.
                  We live in the land of the free because of the brave!


                  • #10
                    I was taught freehand sharpening for wood carving tools.
                    Gouges get done on flat abrasives just fine, like all the straight knives.
                    Crooked knives get done on rods and tubes.
                    Adzes get done with a tennis ball.
                    I was determined to practice and learn and get to be quite good at it.

                    Various grades of 3M wet&dry fine automotive finishing silicon carbide sandpapers
                    are economical and very effective from, say, 600 to 1500 grit.

                    Active carving, I probably hone a crooked knife every 30-60 minutes in western red cedar.
                    Even at 40 rings/inch, it's really soft like an over-ripe tomato so dull just won't work at all.
                    Brian T


                    • #11
                      I do not use knives for chip carving, get a Flexcut chip carving set.


                      • #12
                        I've heard good things about

                        Flexcuts are good too.

                        I made chip carving knives using utility knife blades. The blades are thin, flexible, and they're cheap and easy to make for what you want.

                        I also have a Flexcut skew knife blade I rehandled. And then there's the knife I made from a reciprocating saw blade.


                        • #13
                          I saw on eBay the DON MERTZ COLLECTION HELVIE KNIVES are going for 400.00 to 600.00. What's the reason?


                          • #14
                            I probably hone a crooked knife every 30-60 minutes in western red cedar.
                            Are you putting abrasive on the cedar?


                            • #15
                              Poor description, sorry. I can feel the edge of the knife "going away." It just gets harder and harder to get a thin slice. Same for gouges, but I would not notice so much if I was using a mallet.
                              Frequent honing keeps the fun level up.
                              Brian T