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Tools to start with?

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  • Tools to start with?

    I am often ask what tools to get to start carving. These are just my thoughts. Others well have a different opinion or thought which I hope they will share. First thing is to look at is what you are going to carve. You can do a of work with a few tools. I would buy the best tool I can afford. Tools like Pfeil, Two cheery, Auriou, Maple. Lamp are a few names for good bench tools. You can spend a lot of money on chisels and find you will not use them all. If you are going to do small objects Palm tools may meet you needs. I recommended to those wanting to start carving to start with 5 basic tools and a carving knife. I recommend Pfeil Intermediate size carving tool. They\'er life time quality will do detail on small and bigger carvings. they can be used with a mallet when palm tools can not. They will be usable whether you go to lager or smaller carvings. You can stat with less. I did. What ever brand tools you buy theses sizes will let you do many projects. A good start could be the knife the #12 the #7 and the #9.
    If you can I would do these.

    Pfeil Tools:
    #12 6mm V tool
    #1 8mm Skew
    #7 10mm gouge
    #9 5mm gouge
    #11 3mm veiner
    1 in to a 1/12 in detail carving knife.

    You may want to look at Chris Pye\'s site You can sign up for a month and view a lot of information on tool and their use. He has a new beginners section.

  • #2
    Re: Tools to start with?

    As stated, the first consideration is what you are going to carve. Many of us started out whittling, which requires only a knife. My personal advice would be to start with a project and tools that help you learn about woods and how they respond to carving. It is better to choose projects that can be clamped to a workbench to lessen the risk of cuts, which often occur with hand-held carving. That said, there is no combination that works for everybody.


    • #3
      Re: Tools to start with?

      One gouge that I use, is the #3, which is London-Pattern/Sheffield, not Swiss nomenclature. I have six different sizes.
      Like most carvers I have probably too many knives, some that only get used once and a while.
      All the tools that Carvingbarn mention will be used as well.

      The need for safety & sharpening equipment is also important.
      . . .JoeB
      . . .JoeB


      • #4
        Re: Tools to start with?

        When I started carving, I knew nothing about it. If you asked me what type of carving I wanted to do, I could not answer you. I did not know there where types. For people like me I would suggest the best thing to get is a good piece of basswood and an exacto knife and a glove. Next thing is to get some basic knowledge of the most used cuts. Learning the stop cut is the one biggest leap forward for a beginner. After playing awhile you have more of a feel of what you can do and what you want to do...then start building your tool inventory.


        • #5
          Re: Tools to start with?

          I too started with a $10 Xacto Kit. I did not know what I was going to carve. I started with wood spirits on a stick. In looking back I believe I would have learn faster and done better work faster with a small but better group of tools. You can start with a sharp knife and a box of Band aids. The list above are just a group of tools I would have like to have know about in my first year or so of carving.


          • #6
            Re: Tools to start with?

            When we have a beginner carving class, we provide a standard bench knife plus a 1/4\" equivalent v-tool and veiner. These tools are enough to get then started until they decide what types of carvings they want to do. A skew is added if they really like relief.

            While I now prefer Stubai tools, I have Taylor and even Harmen that I use regularly. I have used most brands and there are many good tools. I would not buy SETS of tools since there are usually some tools in them that you will seldom if ever use. A thumb guard, glove, and strop complete the recommended beginner package.
            From Missouri


            • #7
              Re: Tools to start with?

              I don\'t know if they are still in business, but Rick Ferry\'s Little Shavers had a beginners kit that had everything the new woodcarver needed from safety glove, gouges, knife, etc. All in a small carrying box and at a price of about $50 some 8-9 years ago.

              I have too many tools to attempt to determine which came from Little Shavers. I am sure someone on here could come up with a list of what was in that box.


              • #8
                Re: Tools to start with?

                I must have had a senior moment. Forgot I could google!

                Little Shavers is still offering the beginners kit for $89.__ Still one of the best bargains in woodcarving. I required this of the beginners I taught. If they decided woodcarving was not for them, only one did, they had not made a major investment.


                • #9
                  Re: Tools to start with?

                  I\'ve been carving for over 50 years now, and I remember when I first began wood carving I started out with nothing but an old book on whittling animal caricatures and a #11 Exatco knife (you know, the one that is about the size of a pencil). I carved for several years with that little knife and turned out quite a few carvings (I still have a lot of them today!). Over the years, and as I gained experience I added tools, mostly one at a time.
                  I moved up to a Murphy bench knife and started adding palm tools, like gouges, veiners and V-tools one at a time (I like to carve projects that I can hold in my hand so palm tools and a well made carving knife with a 1 1/2\" blade work well for me). Today, I have a ton of tools (many more than I actually need). Out of all the tools I have, I probably use about a half a dozen most of the time. 90% of my work is done with my carving knife (I love my custom made carving knives made for me by Tom Ellis...and I also like to use my very well made Helvie knives). As far as my palm tools go, the other 10% of my work is done with not much more than a 3mm or 6mm V-tool, a 3mm or 7mm #11 veiner, and maybe a #6 or #8 6mm or 7mm gouge. I don\'t use a carving glove...never have. I learned early on how to keep my fingers out of harm\'s way, but I would certainly recommend one for anyone first starting out in wood carving.
                  As I mentioned, I like to carve caricatures and ornaments that I can hold in my my tools are on the small side. The size and type of the project will determine the size and type of tools required. To me, it\'s not so much about the quantity of tools as it is the quality of the tools. For the person first starting out in wood carving I recommend starting with just a few basic tools, but whatever you buy, get the best tools you can afford.
                  Keep On Carvin'
                  Bob K.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tools to start with?

                    The decision of what tools to buy varies with every carver. one thing that applies universally however is you have to learn and master sharpening and edge maintenance if you wish to carve enjoyably and successfully. Tools dull quickly, and if you cannot restore the edge, you are doomed to fail. New carvers get discouraged easily when trying to use that great, sharp tool they bought after using it a few days after it gets dull. Study and learn sharpening before trying to jump deeply into a carving project. Just my opinion.


                    • #11
                      Re: Tools to start with?

                      This discussion has come up many times before. The true answer is no choice of tools will make you are great carver. The skills of carving are acquired over time and involve many factors: choice & maintenance of tools, knowledge of wood, how to make cuts, design vision, perseverance, creativity, etc.


                      • #12
                        Re: Tools to start with?

                        Thinking about it, Paul G has it right. The first tools you need, you have to provide, desire and patience. The rest will come.
                        . . . JoeB
                        . . .JoeB


                        • #13
                          Re: Tools to start with?

                          I wish it was as simple as to say get Ol Reliable--a fixed blade utility knife--and don t buy another tool. But I know better. It ain t gonna happen!

                          I also wished that I had just stayed with my original tools--Rick Ferry s starter set from Little Shavers. But no--I went off and have bought a bunch of tools over the years. Now I m just more confused than ever as to what tool I should start with. I usually just grab whatever tool that s the closest that ll get the job done.

                          Bob L


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by saiygen
                            First off all you have to be sure like what kind of carving you wanna do like small or big and according to that you should go for the tools.
                            These are the must have tools for carving.
                            1 table saw
                            2 biscuit joiner
                            3 router
                            4 miter saw
                            5 trimmer

                            I have read this guide where they have mention all the tools for the woodworking you can this out for more help.
                            Say what? Been carving for about 20 yrs withy thousands of carvings. Have or had most of the tools you mentioned and never "needed" them to produce a carving.
                            Bill K.
                            Every day should be unwrapped like a precious gift.


                            • #15
                              others are more qualifed but in america we use mostly knives in europe they rely on gouges more, my suggestion use your knife and then perhaps move into a v tool and a 3 3 or 5 gouge, the best advice is get really proficient with one tool before moving on to another get as much as you can out of that tool before jumping to another tool. if you cant sharpen a knife or do eyes with a knife a gouge isnt going to help you if you cant sharpen a v tool than how will you learn how to make deep cuta or outline with one. and you dont need 30 sweep to start with get some palm gouges and practice on a variety of subjects. otherwise you will end up with a drawer full of tools you never use or use well