The 9 Best Wood Carving Sets

Updated December 28, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

9 Best Wood Carving Sets
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
There is probably no building or artistic material that has the versatility, beauty, and warmth of wood. Whether your skill is in making bespoke furniture, creating and installing crown molding and baseboards, or whittling beautiful sculptures, one of these carving sets will allow you to shape this lovely, natural material into anything you can imagine. 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.

9. Gimars SK5

The beginner on a budget may want to consider the Gimars SK5. Its twelve pieces include all of the chisels and gouges you need to work on your first projects, and the price is quite low. The blades arrive sharp and the handles are nice and sturdy.
  • aesthetically pleasing handles
  • designed to be used on soft wood
  • not a good choice for professionals
Brand Gimars
Model pending
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Flexcut Deluxe

Every piece in the Flexcut Deluxe fits comfortably into the palm of your hand and is great for those long carving sessions where using other models might result in cramping and soreness. They arrive super sharp and ready to use.
  • handsome wooden storage box
  • made in the united states
  • slightly overpriced for 9 tools
Brand Flexcut Tool
Model KN700
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Sculpt Pro Professional

The Sculpt Pro Professional packs fifteen well-made tools into a durable roll-up case that makes transport and storage convenient and puts its contents on display for easy access while you're working with them. It's comprehensive and good for beginners.
  • comes with three files
  • blades made of stainless steel
  • some edges are not straight
Brand Sculpt Pro
Model PTK_18CH245
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Two Cherries 11-piece

The Two Cherries 11-piece is a good choice for the serious craftsman looking to make a lifetime purchase. These tools can be used for furniture making, artwork, or for finishing details. Their steel blades have been tempered to 61° Rockwell.
  • octagonal handles prevent rolling
  • hand forged in germany
  • some come with superficial damage
Brand Two Cherries
Model 515-3441
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Flexcut SK107

The Flexcut SK107 includes everything a beginner needs to jump right into their new hobby. Its palm handle can be fitted with any of the 10 interchangeable blades and it even comes with a block of wood with a design printed on it, which makes for an easy first project.
  • blades are easy to switch out
  • detailed instruction manual included
  • roll-up storage pouch included
Brand Flexcut
Model SK107
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Shinwa Power Grip Tools

The Shinwa Power Grip Tools are a good size for doing detailed work. They are smaller than most full-sized hand carving equipment, but they are still large enough to deliver power and precision at the same time. They can be held as you would hold a pen or pencil.
  • laminated steel blades
  • comfortable grips prevent fatigue
  • blades arrive very sharp
Brand Shinwa
Model pending
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Xacto X5175 Deluxe

The Xacto 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. The single handle can be mounted with any of the fifteen included blades, routers, and gouges.
  • textured grip on handle
  • compact and convenient
  • magnet keeps blades in place
Brand X-Acto
Model X5175
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. VonHaus Chisel Set

The tools you'll find in the VonHaus Chisel Set are suitable for both artisan and carpenter alike. They are precise enough to be used for decorative carvings yet are durable enough to be used on a worksite for shaping structural materials.
  • sharpening stone included
  • comes with a honing guide
  • blow molded plastic storage case
Brand VonHaus
Model pending
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Pfeil Brienz Collection

For the true artisan who demands the finest equipment available, the Pfeil Brienz Collection is certainly worth your consideration. This twelve-piece Swiss-made set contains finely ground and polished tools that can be handed down through generations.
  • european hardwood handles
  • electronically hardened steel blades
  • perfectly weighted
Brand pfeil Swiss made
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 5.0 / 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 December 28, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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