Tools for children wood carving

Tools for children wood carving
Wood carving is a great hobby for children because it improves their fine motor skills and creativity. And in this blog we want to share with you about the needed tools for children wood carving.
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Tools for children wood carving

All the tools your kids will need to learn wood carving

Teaching wood carving to kids doesn’t necessarily mean introducing them to proper wood carving tools right off the bat. As mentioned above, the best way to introduce kids to wood carving is through vegetables. Keeping in line with this training method, you should start off their whittling lessons with the following tools:

Vegetable peeler

The closest kitchen tool that resembles a carving knife is a vegetable peeler. As an added bonus, peelers are quite safe to handle even for children. Since the vegetable peeler will be used for carving, It’s best to buy one that is of high quality as the cheaper ones of low quality tend to break easily when used against hard surfaces extensively.

But do note that this is for the beginning phase only. Once your kid(s) get comfortable with carving with a peeler, they will eventually have to learn to handle a knife for proper wood carving.

Folding penknife/carving knife

For a safer wood carving experience for your kids, you should opt for a folding penknife with a safety-lock to replace the standard carving knife. A Swiss army knife can be an even better tool and can be used to add subtle touches if necessary. Just make sure you teach your kids to use the knife for wood carving purposes only, not carry it around all the time.

When choosing the right knife, the main factor to consider is the grip of the knife. If your kid(s) has a good grip of the knife and wield it comfortably, you should get that model provided the blade quality is good. If not, check other models until you find the right one.

Gouges and V-tools

While they may look scary, a gouge is basically a chisel rolled up to resemble a curved cutting edge. Gouges come in different sizes and can be taught easily to children by carving hard vegetables or fruits like pumpkins and watermelons. Gouges are a very important part of wood carving projects in general, so make sure your kid)s) master it before trying out projects like toys, spoons, etc.

Vtools are similar to gouges but instead of the blades having a curved shape, they have a V-shaped dent at the edge of the blade. They play an important part in teaching your kids advanced techniques such as grooving as well as adding finer details and textures to any kind of wood carving project. Like gouges, V-tools also come in different sizes.


Sandpaper is a go-to tool in any wood carving projects, even small ones. Keep some surplus sandpaper at home and you should be set for months at a time.

Tools for children wood carving

The safest way for children to learn woodcarving is through whittling. Power tools are not safe for children to use and you can’t use them effectively outdoors. Now that all the general guidelines and tool requirements have been covered, it’s time to focus on how to teach your kids the art of carving wood with knives and other basic tools.
children wood carving easy projects

Knife carving

Mastering the art of knife carving or whittling is paramount for your children to learn advanced wood-carving skills as they grow up and improve in the activity. The first whittling tool techniques that your kids need to learn is carving with a knife. The core principle of knife carving is to hold and use the tool in such a way that uses the entirety of the knife’s cutting edge.
When it comes to knife carving, there are two primary techniques in use- the pivot cut and the paring cut. When it comes to teaching your kid(s) how to hold the knife in a safe manner, the pivot cut which involves whittling away from the carving surface is the safer option as the cutting edge doesn’t face downwards in this technique. The paring cut in involves whittling towards the centre of carving surface which puts the thumb of the hand holding the carving surface at risk.

Make sure to teach your kids how to hold the knife properly for carving. The thumb of the hand holding the knife should be placed along the blunt side of the blade with the rest of the fingers firmly gripping the handle. The thumb of the hand holding the carving surface should also be placed on the blunt side of the blade so that both thumbs form a ridge using the blunt side of the blade as support.

When your kids has learned the proper form, instruct them to use the thumb of their knife hand as a pivot and push down the blade along the carving surface. The general motion should resemble peeling an apple or potato- this is where practicing with vegetables. Keeping both hands closed together around the blade allows the wielder greater control over the hand motions.

Gouge and V-tools

The most important function of gouges and Vtools is to remove the excess wood from the carving surface and provide depth and texture. The techniques for using both gouges and Vtools are the same. The two universally used techniques of using gouges and Vtools are the forehand grip and the backhand grip.

To effectively use the gouge, you need to teach your kid(s) how to hold the tools properly. For the backhand grip, the thumb of the hand holding the tool will be placed at tip of the handle while the curved part of the blade will be placed across the palm with the rest of the fingers wrapped around the blade of the gouge or Vtool. The tip of the blade should be pointing toward the wrist if held properly.

For teaching your kids the front hand grip, teach them to hold the tool like a pen around the curved tip of the blade like a spoon. In both grips the positioning of the tool is dependant on how the blade is held, not the handle. The best way to practice these two tools is on blank block of soft wood. Don’t forget to teach the importance of how much pressure to apply when using these tools depending on the wood.

Chisels and mallets

In larger woodworking projects chisels and mallets provide a degree of flexibility not offered by gouges and V-tools as those are more suitable for carving on smaller surfaces. On larger carving surfaces chisels and mallets provide an easier carving experience. Using chisels and mallets is similar to nails and hammers, except the chisels are not going to be pinned to the carving surface. Getting used to chisels and mallets basically boils down to practice and getting a feel for it.
The best way to the training interesting is use the pieces produced in the training process for a larger project to make something special for your kid. Help them understand the amount of effort and force required to give deep or light depth to the wood carving project. With enough practice, your kids will get the hang of it.