Our Guide To Choosing A Good Whittling Knife
If your looking at getting into whittling, choosing a good knife for the job is an important part, therefore you need to consider what makes a decent whittling knife since it can affect the product of your work.
A good whittling knife should be two to three blades which are centre placed, a locking mechanism to keep you safe and preferably a sheep foot shape.
To find out more about what goes into a good whittling knife, we’ve put together a guide below, discussing exactly what whittling is, which kinds of knives you can use, features to look for and some tips for whittling.
What Is Wood Whittling?
Before we get into the ins and outs as to what makes a good knife for wood carving, let’s first discuss what wood whittling is so we can choose an ideal knife blade for the job.
Wood whittling is the art of carving wood with a sharp knife, you repeatedly shave slivers to make creations.
What Knife Can I Use For Wood Whittling?
There are many different kinds of knives you can use for wood whittling, these are also known as simple carving knife, we’ve listed them down below to help you out.
- Drake Knives – These are premium knives that are smooth and easy to hold thanks to their small point and compact size.
- Flexcut carving knives – Flexcut wood carving knives are a popular brand of whittling knives, they are affordable and have a large range of different-sized knives.
- Helvie knives – Helvie knives are honed and razor-sharp, they hold their edge for a long time.
- Beaver craft knives – These whittling knives are simple with thick blades and a small handle, they are also selling affordable whittling knive kits.
- Lee Ferguson knives – A high carbon steel knife, these quality knives are thin and compact with a 60 on the rock scale.
- Flexcut sloyd knives – The edge retention of these speciality knives is super sharp but they are slightly more expensive than other knives.
- Mastercarvers – These are pocket knives with a locked folding blade, they have a classic look and are equipped with a hardened 440C steel blade.
What Should I Look For In A Whittling Knife?
When choosing a good whittling knife, you need to make sure you’re considering all the important specs and features in your knife to get the best results in your wood carving.
- Type of blade – When choosing a whittling knife blade, you will be faced with a choice of stainless steel or carbon steel blades. Carbon steel blades on pocket knives can be sharpened easily and maintain their sharpness for a long time, if you find these too expensive you can also find a mix of carbon and stainless steel blades.
- Locking blade – Having a locking blade on your knife for wood carving is important for safety, you should always be aware that even the perfect knife could close on your fingers at any point.
- Location of the blade – Avoid woodcarving knife options which have lots of blades, 10-20 blade knives will be uncomfortable to use for long periods of time, instead choose center-placed blades which only have 1/2 blades.
- Shape of the blade – We recommend choosing a sheeps foot shaped blade, this is similar to a utility knife, this is because they are excellent for small details, drop-point pocket knives are also great but bigger.
Top Tips For Wood Whittling With A Knife
If you’re a beginner at wood whittling and want to get the best result with your knife, we’ve got some great tips for wood whitting with a knife down below as a beginner.
- Use a leather strop – This is a piece of leather which aligns with the edge of a knife, it can help you achieve a sharper edge when paired with a polisher.
- Never cut too deep – Make small simple cuts when whittling, avoid cutting too deep otherwise you are at risk of injury or even damaging the blade.
- Cut with the wood grain – Always pay attention to where the wood grains go when cutting, this will take practice and on cheaper wood, it can be harder to stop the grain.
- Go slow – It’s best to start slow and small when whittling, avoid going for super large projects since this can be disheartening.
- Push with your thumb – Use your thumb to push the blade into the wood rather than your wrist since this can cause you to fatigue quickly if you are not careful.
- Use high-quality wood – Avoid using very soft wood, because it’s harder to add details even with a special carving knife, extra hardwood will be tiring to carve and dull your knife blade fast.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wood Whittling Knives
How much do wood-whittling knives cost?
This depends on the quality of the whittling knife, they will often cost around $40 but can be cheaper if you choose a stainless steel knife.
Should I use a strop or stone to sharpen my wood whittling knife?
Using a stone is better to sharpen a pocket knife than a strop, a strop is more suited to larger carving knives, this is due to the difference in size.
Can I use a pocket knife to whittle wood with?
Yes, pocket knives are excellent for wood whittling since they are smaller which makes them better for detail.
Overall, a good whittling knife should have carbon in it to make it more durable, we recommend using a locking mechanism for safety and a sheeps foot shaped blade for better cutting. You can use pocket knives or larger classic carving knives for whittling, it’s down to personal preference.