The 10 Best Wood Carving Sets

Updated March 05, 2018 by Sam Kraft

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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Few building materials possess the versatility, beauty, and warmth of natural wood. Whether your skill is in crafting bespoke furniture, creating and installing crown molding and baseboards, or whittling stunning sculptures, one of these carving sets will provide you with indispensable tools for woodworking projects in which precision is vital. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best wood carving set on Amazon.

10. Gimars SK5

The beginner on a budget may want to consider the Gimars SK5. Its 12 pieces include all of the chisels and gouges you need to complete your initial project. Plus, the blades are quite sharp and the handles are nice and sturdy.
  • each chisel has a safety cap
  • designed for use on soft wood
  • not professional level quality
Brand Gimars
Model pending
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Mudder Tools

With 17 total pieces — including a flat knife, an oblique knife, and a triangular one — the Mudder Tools provides plenty of options to help you take your hobby to the next level. A lightweight, durable storage case for transporting your gear is provided.
  • comes with 4 whetstones
  • can be used on clay and cork
  • blades may chip with extensive use
Brand Mudder
Model pending
Weight 12.3 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Sunreek Sculpture

The blades that come with the Sunreek Sculpture are pretty sharp right out of the box, but you may need to sharpen them a bit if you’re doing some extremely precise work. They vary in length, which is helpful for taking on a range of woodworking endeavors.
  • includes an elbow arc knife
  • comes with a total of 8 tools
  • blades can get a little loose
Model SK-CD08
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Flexcut SK107

If you’re in the early stages of exploring a new hobby, the Flexcut SK107 comes with everything you’re likely to need. Its handle can be fitted with any of the 10 interchangeable blades, and it even comes with a block of wood to help you get started.
  • blades are easy to switch out
  • instruction manual is very detailed
  • handy roll-up storage pouch
Brand Flexcut
Model SK107
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

6. Shinwa Power Grip

The tools included with the Shinwa Power Grip are a convenient size for precise work and fine details. While they’re smaller than most full-sized hand carving equipment, they’re still large enough to deliver power and accuracy at the same time.
  • strong laminated steel blades
  • comfortable grips prevent fatigue
  • can be held like a pencil
Brand Shinwa
Model 10609003286
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. X-Acto X5175 Deluxe

The X-Acto X5175 Deluxe comes from one of the most trusted names in precision tools — and this versatile, affordable set lives up to the brand's reputation. You can mount any of the 15 blades, routers, and gouges to a single handle that’s easy to wield.
  • heavy-duty saw blade
  • includes 4 separate routers
  • magnet keeps blades in place
Brand X-Acto
Model X5175
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. VonHaus Woodworking

The tools you'll find in the VonHaus Woodworking are suitable for both carpenters and artistic folks alike. They’re precise enough to be used for decorative carvings, yet they’re durable enough for work on a job site that requires more force.
  • sharpening stone included
  • comes with a honing guide
  • well-organized storage case
Brand VonHaus
Model pending
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Sorby Micro

If meticulous details are of the utmost importance to you, check out the Sorby Micro. Each of the 12 tools is compact, at 6.5 inches long, which allows you to be more precise than you would be with full-sized chisels. Each cutting edge is honed and buffed for sharpness.
  • rounded easy-to-grip handles
  • blades are resistant to rust
  • sleek and attractive in appearance
Brand Sorby
Model P512
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Flexcut Deluxe

Every piece in the Flexcut Deluxe fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, which is great for those long carving sessions that might result in soreness or cramping with a different model. The kit includes three sizes of gouges for a variety of applications.
  • handsome wooden storage box
  • made in the united states
  • suitable for lefties and righties
Brand Flexcut
Model KN700
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Two Cherries 12-Piece

The Two Cherries 12-Piece is a logical choice for the professional craftsman looking for a long-lasting set. These tools can be used for furniture making, artwork, or for finishing details. The steel blades are heat-treated, so they’ll stay sharp longer than most knives.
  • octagonal handles prevent rolling
  • handcrafted in germany
  • light and well-balanced
Brand Two Cherries
Model 505-0012
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Understanding The Different Woodworking Tools And Their Uses

As with any activity that involves the use of tools, understanding how each tool works and its intended application is vital. It often means the difference between working hard and hardly working. The saying, "You are only as good as your tools" is just as true in woodworking as anything else. While we aren't saying that skill doesn't come into play, using good quality tools and the right tool for the job will play a major factor in how successful you are as a woodworker.

Woodworking tools come in three basic types: chip carving knives, gouges, and chisels, each of which serves a very different purpose. Chip carving knives are used to shape the wood by removing small chips and are the most basic of carving tools. They are comprised of a blade, usually less than two inches long, and a long handle designed to fit comfortably in the hand. Chip carving knives come in straight and slightly curved varieties. Higher quality models will be made from lightweight, yet durable carbon steel, while lower cost models may be made from other forms of steel, which are just as durable, but heavier.

All gouges have a curved front cutting edge that can be used for cross-grain and with-grain cutting. They are generally used to scoop out areas of wood, creating indentations. In woodworking terminology, the curve of a gouge is referred to as its sweep. The deeper the sweep, the more wood it can remove with each cut. Tools with a large sweep are used for digging holes and roughing out areas before using a model with a shallow gouge for smoothing and finish work. Gouges come in different types, including straight, fishtail, bent, and spoon. They can have either a V-shaped or U-shaped tip. Each type and tip shape is best suited to a specific purpose.

Chisels are designed for use in conjunction with a mallet or small hammer to remove thin slices of wood. Unfortunately, many people use them incorrectly and try and cut through large chunks of wood at one time using the force of the hammer. This will dull the chisel quickly, and also results in imprecise cuts. Chiseling should often be done against the grain.

Woodworking Tips For Beginners

If you are just starting out as a woodworker, there are may things you can do to make carving safer, easier, and more fun. Wearing a carving glove is one such thing. It is not uncommon for even advanced woodworkers to slip here and there. When carving wood, you are applying force with a sharp object into a medium that will chip or carve away at some point. Until we are familiar with our tools and the type of wood we are using, we often don't know exactly how much force will be required before the wood gives. Placing a carving glove on the hand holding the piece can save yourself from needless injury. This way, even if you do slip, you won't wind up cutting your hand. Another option is to use a vice to hold your wood. If you choose to go with this method, placing a pad or small cloth between the vice and the wood can help prevent any damage to the wood's surface.

In woodworking, there is nothing more dangerous than a dull tool. Wood can quickly dull the edges of even the best of tools, though. A good rule of thumb is to sharpen or hone your tools after each hour of use. This can be easily accomplished using a good sharpening stone. You can also use a belt sander if you prefer a less manually intensive process. Just be sure to use proper honing techniques.

If you ever drop a tool, never try and catch it. instead, just let it fall, and if wearing open-toed shoes (which we don't recommend), jump back. A dented tip is much easier to repair than a finger or toe.

When cutting away at wood, always use your wrist to control the knife and not your elbow. When the force is coming from the elbow, there is a greater chance of slipping. Using the wrist allows for better control and more precise cuts. Not only will your hands thank you for not needlessly putting them in danger, but your work will come out looking better, too. You should also cut with the grain whenever possible. It is easier and won't rough up the wood's surface as much. Sketching out your cuts with a pencil before you start can also be helpful. It ensures you have a solid game plan of what you need to do and what you are trying to produce.

The Main Types Of Wood Carving

There are four main wood carving techniques, and each produces a very different result. Before you start purchasing materials and tools, you should determine which technique is most appealing to you. For most, the first technique that comes to mind when thinking of woodworking is whittling. Whittled objects tend to have sharp, textured cuts with visible knife strokes in the finished piece. This results in sculptures with an angular appearance. True whittling should be accomplished using solely a knife and no other tools.

Relief carving is the process of caving figures and shapes into a flat or curved piece of wood so that the objects project out slightly from the background. The back of the worked piece is left untouched. Carving in the round is another technique and is much like relief carving. The main differences are that the finished products often have a rounded appearance and they are carved on all sides.

Chip carving, sometimes referred to spoon carving, makes use of both knives and chisels to remove chips of wood in single pieces. It is often used to create highly intricate patterns on plates and other flat surfaces, but rarely incorporates figures or lifelike objects.

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Last updated on March 05, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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