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Beginner looking for recommendations

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  • Beginner looking for recommendations

    I've only done around ten carvings so far but following tutorials has been very helpful. I followed CarvingandSuch's wood spirit video on youtube for the faces I did (as seen in pic), and MisterSplinters turorial on youtube for the owl. I've made a couple of little santa's myself as they are easy enough for me to do without a tutorial. I feel like I'm off to an okay start but I really want to tackle eyes/faces since that's what I find the most intimidating. Right now I am working with just a cheap knife from a whittling kit. I would like to get a better quality detail knife for working on faces but I'm not really sure what to look for. Any recommendations for a good detailing knife or any tutorials on doing eyes/faces would be appreciated. Thanks!


  • #2
    When I started bought most of my tools used on eBay as I figured out which tools I preferred a lot of them got resold on eBay. Some of the tools need a little work to be ready to carve. I considered that a bonus as I learned how to sharpen early on tools that I wasn’t in love with. Every brand has carvers who love them and those who don’t. Some carvers don’t mind spending a little extra others take pride in only using cheap pocket knives. So again my recommendation is spend a little time on eBay buy some used knives. Maybe a #3, #11 and #15 gouge try them keep the ones you like resell the rest you could even make a buck or two along the way.
    Living in a pile of chips.


    • #3
      Nice carvings! Any knife by Helvie or OCC Tools will suit you just fine. Paul at Deepwoods Ventures, makes some really nice knives as well. Any of these 3 will come carving sharp, and all 3 offer soup to nuts versions of general carving and detail knives.

      I am the poster child for trying to get by with a 'Cheap' knife. If I would have purchased quality in the beginning, I would have not suffered through the learning curve!

      Good luck on your knife search!


      • #4
        Nice work on the carvings in the photos!

        Since you are asking about a knife for faces/eyes, look for one with a straight cutting edge and 1 to 1.25 inch long blade. I also like a short (1 to 1.25 inch) upsweep blade for shaving off very thin chips on the face. I think both of these should have thin blades - somewhere between 0.030 and 0.035 inch thick with a flat grind all the way from cutting edge to blade back. Helvie makes both of these. If you have smaller hands, like most women, you can find smaller handles at Helvie also.

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        • #5
          I want to compliment you on your first attempts, you have the potential of doing well at carving! As you can see there are many opinions on knives, I'm wondering if there is a carving club that you could join and get some hands-on experience at to different knives blade styles and handles. Be sure to keep a strop & compound in your quest.
          . . .JoeB


          • #6
            Welcome to the world of carving, enjoy your journey. It looks like you are well on your way so try new projects and tools and expand your horizons. Practice, practice, practice.

            Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.


            • #7
              Your very nice pieces are well carved and the finish really sets them off. The nature of your question and the fact that it looks to me that your carving was accomplished only with a knife, means I should welcome you to the world of whittling. All of the knives mentioned are good knives.


              • #8
                Thanks for all the kinds words and recommendations!

                Claude, what a helpful response! There are so many different knives out there that it's hard to know where to start, you've given me a lot to go off of, Thanks!

                JoeB, Thank you! I sure wish there was a carving club near me unfortunately there isn't.


                • #9
                  Thomasine: Welcome. Your carvings make me feel so clumsy, I wouldn't know where to start, let alone make that level of detail. Gotta love that owl.
                  Brian T


                  • #10
                    Nice carvings they look great. I am very new to carving as well so my experience is low, I use a Mike Shipley 1 1/4 inch knife. Just some stropping keeps the edge crisp.

                    Best of luck


                    • #11
                      Welcome to the forum. Excellent work and glad to see it. I follow Doug Linker and Gene Messer on youtube for tutorials and they are great for beginners.

                      Great forum here and great members.
                      Living among knives and fire.