Wood carving knives
Where wood carving involves chisels, gouges, and even power tools, whittling requires only one tool, a sharp knife, and nothing else, though sandpaper is perfectly acceptable for smoothing off the sharp edges of a finished piece. It is fair to say that that whittling is actually a form of wood carving.
A whittling knife usually has a small blade, though the blade itself can be of the folding, or fixed variety. Some whittlers like the rigidity of a fixed blade, while other whittlers like a folding blade as it makes it easier to keep the knife in a pocket, enabling them to whittle whenever the mood or situation dictates.
The term ‘knife’ is used broadly in the world of wood carving, as the word also covers chisels and gouges. The actual blade of a wood carving knife, as opposed to a chisel or gouge, tends to be much larger than that of a whittling knife as aside from the level of detail being less intricate, many wood carvers like to use hardwoods, which are difficult to carve with a very small blade.
The range of wood carving knives is also extensive, owing to the wonder of wood as a multi-purpose material. While some wood carving can be seen as being purely decorative, other carving, such as carving a wooden spoon can be seen as wholly practical. Of course, you can combine the two to create a decorative wooden spoon. As for the wood carving knife you would need for a spoon, well the hook knife.
Wood carving, as a hobby, is incredibly popular, though for the younger generation there is a lot of competition coming from the digital revolution. For some, wood carving seems an almost prehistoric hobby or pastime, yet it is one of those fundamental skills that takes us back to our roots.
There are also two core attractions that mean wood carving will always have a consistent number of proponents. First, wood is a wonderfully tactile material to work with, while second, and perhaps the most important element, there is always a tremendous sense of achievement when you create something yourself – carving a figurine from a basic lump of wood is incredibly rewarding, no matter how simple it may be.
Why are there so many wood carving knives?
Similarly, if you are working with a hardwood, there are times when ‘hand power’ will be insufficient, so you will want to use a mallet – usually a wooden one – with either a chisel or a gouging blade, to make inroads into your project.
If you wonder just how many blades you need for wood carving, the simple answer is as many as it takes, as no two projects are the same. You may only need three to carve out a bowl, but twenty to create an intricate sculpture.