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The best knives for whittling should feel like an extension of a whittler’s hands. So much so that the artist will forget they even have one in their hands. Poor carving tools will deter and often times stop a whittler in their tracks. Either the handle is not a good fit or the blade is dull and cannot be properly sharpened. Regardless, having the right tools is essential to creating the image an artist has in their heads.
If you are new to the world of whittling, finding the best wood carving knife can be a frustrating experience as well. Wood carving is all about precise and accurate movements. Everything is deliberate. For beginners finding the right knife that allows these precise movements will take a bit of trial and error. Knowing what kind of blade and handle you prefer will only come with experience. For some, the natural feel of a wooden handle is beneficial. For others, a synthetic handle made from plastics and rubbers will offer a better grip to them.
The blade is another factor that can take time to get comfortable with as well. Some blades are designed to take off large portions of a word, others will be more detail-oriented. With smaller blades, you add detail and character to a piece. Some whittling knives offer both features, others are more specialized. Finding what blade combinations and variations work best for you will take time.
Unfortunately, finding a reliable knife can be frustrating. So, whether you are a veteran whittler or you are new to the hobby, we can help you find the knives you have been looking for, we think you will. Luckily for newbies and old-timers alike, we have gathered a list of the five best whittling tools that will satisfy all stages of whittlers.
Best Whittling Knives
1. Morakiniv Wood Carving 120 Knife – Layered Steel With Polished Handle
Morakniv is a Swedish knife company that has been making tools since 1891. With over 100 years of tool making experience, they have their art down to a science. With the wood carving 120 knife, you get centuries worth of history in your hands.
The overall length of the blade is 6.5-inches, with the blade rounding out at 2.4-inches. The handle is 4.1-inches in length, giving the user plenty of room to work with. Even users with larger hands will find the 120 knife will fit comfortably in their palm. The handle is constructed of oiled birch wood. Laminated steel is used in the forging of the blade. High carbon steel is layered with alloyed steel making the blade extremely durable. With a belt loop sheath, you will never misplace your 120 knives. The sheath is made from hard high-quality plastic.
The Morakniv 120 knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty. If something goes wrong with your knife you have some kind of protection backing it up. But with decades of tool making experience, there is no need to worry about this whittling knife failing you. There is also a very little risk for new whittlers with such a low price point. Click here to see the best price.
2. Bevercraft Sloyd Whittling Knife – Large Handle For Comfort and Control
The total length of the Sloyd is 8-inches, with the blade landing at 3.15-inches. Made from high carbon steel, making it much harder than most other stainless steel. While the steel is hard, it also takes well to sharpening. The Sloyd is made for greenwood whittling. Greenwood is from a fresh-cut or wood that has not been seasoned yet. Greenwood is typically softer, making it the best wood for whittling.
The handle is a monster. It is not only long but thick. With an ergonomic handle, there is no need to worry about the blade slipping from your hands. Each grove hugs your fingers welcoming them in. You can expect nothing but ultimate control of the blade as you slide against your favorite piece of wood.
For storage, you will receive a leather sheath specially made for the Sloyd. There is an option to buy the Sloyd without the sheath at a marginally lower cost. We highly recommend you buy the sheath kit, for several reasons. For one, safety, having a sheath ensures you do not cut or stab yourself or others. The sheath will also keep your knife sharp, protecting it from bumping against other objects and dulling over time. After all, the Sloyd is one of the best knives for whittling and you should protect it at all costs. Click here to see the best price.
3. BeaverCraft Whittling Knife – Small Blade for Exceptional Detail
Next on our list is yet another BeaverCraft knife. This chip carving knife is all about creating the fine detail in a piece, something you cannot do with larger knives. Whittling tools all have different uses for certain steps during the creative process.
With a 1.5-inch stainless steel blade that is high in carbon, users will not only get a sharp blade but a blade that stays sharp. This chipper knife is designed for cutting greenwood, which makes it great for cutting into fresh softwood. Besides, this chipper knife is fully capable of detailing seasoned wood as well. The sharp straight edge will cut into any type of wood you desire.
The handle is made from Ashwood, which is remarkably strong. In fact, they even use it to make baseball bats, mainly for its strength coupled with its lightweight. With the handle coming to 4.75 inches, it needs to be lightweight and comfortable. Thanks to the ergonomic handle and ash wood you get both. Not only is the handle long but it is also girthy. When it comes to detailing a piece control is important. Having a large ergonomic handle will give you the control you need for the perfect amount of detail you desire.
This chipper knife is great for beginners and professionals alike. The best knives for whittling will suit the needs of everyone, either new or old. Click here to see the best price.
4. FlexCut Right-Handed Carvn’ Jack Multi-Tool for Wood Carving – Premium 6 Tool Design
The Carvn’ Jack is sold for both left-handed and right-handed users. It weighs in at 3.5 ounces and comes with 6 different tools in one. To start the detail knife will give you the control and precision you need when finishing off your project. The straight gouge will help you take out a lot of material in one clean straight line. The chisel will help you take off chunks of wood in a more general less detailed sense. A v-Scorp gouge will help you reach certain angles a typical gouge us too large to reach. The final two tools are a gouge scorp and a hook knife. Overall there is essentially a wood carving kit in your hand.
Not only do you get 6 tools in one, but you also get additional accessories as well. First, you get a leather belt mounted sheath. You can carry an almost entire wood carving kit on your hip. So if you see any pieces of appealing wood, you can start carving immediately. Lastly, you get a sharpening strop and polishing compound. Not only do you get one of the best knives for whittling in the world, but you also get the best tools and accessories your money can buy. Click here to see the best price.
5. Morakniv Wood Carving 106 Knife – Laminated Steel for Extra Strength
Morakniv knives have been manufacturing cutlery for years know, with many different styles and types. Their 106 carving knife stands out in their line of wood carving knives and deserves your attention.
Made with laminated steel blade is not only strong but resilient. The 106 can hold an edge for longer than typical stainless steel blades. When you also consider the full tang build, the 106 is as solid as a diamond. The total length of the knife is 7.4 inches in length, with an overall blade length of 3.2 inches. The tapered straight edge is extremely sharp, allowing for smooth and controlled movements.
Morakniv takes pride in their connection to nature, that is why their handles are made from oiled birch wood. Each handle has the same shape but has its own unique design provided by nature. With an ergonomic design, the 106 feels like nature built it specifically for your hands.
The 106 comes with a plastic molded sheath to keep the blade nice and sharp and your flesh protected. The Morakinv 106 whittling knife will make a great addition to an already established a set of tools. Rather, if you are new to whittling the 106 will be a great starter knife for your new hobby. Without a doubt, the Morakniv 106 is the best knives for whittling around. Click here to see the best price.
Knives For Whittling – Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to whittling knives there are a plethora of different types for a million different uses. Some can complete multiple tasks, while others are more specialized uses. Whether that be the start of the job by getting rid of unwanted wood material or the end where precision and control are needed. Hopefully, we covered and highlighted a carving knife or set that you had in mind. If you are still undecided about what is best for you or are new to whittling tools, we will now cover the basics of whittling knives. Everything from the steel that makes the blades to the wood that makes up the handles, we got it covered. So, let’s get started, shall we?
Type of Steel
The type of steel used in a whittling knife will vary greatly from knife to knife. Not only that, there is a large variety that is used in the production of the best knives for whittling. . High carbon steel is commonly used in the making of whittling knives. This type of steel is very hard. This is very important for a few reasons. For one, retaining the edge of a blade for a longer period of use will not only save you time, but it will also keep you safe. High carbon is great at retaining edges. High carbon is not prone to snapping or breaking, so no need to worry about that in the middle of a cut. The best part of high carbon steel is in its ability to be easily sharpened when using the right sharpener. A quality that is hard to find in other steels.
That being said, there are plenty of other competent steels that are available. One easy way to understand what is in steel is to recognize the different components that make up a knife blade. We mentioned high carbon steel. While carbon is present in all steel high carbon just has more in it. Carbon is what changed raw iron into steel. It also gives steel its hardness and toughness.
Chromium is another element that is vital in whittling knives or any knife for that matter. It reduces the chances of oxidation. In fact, without chromium steel cannot be considered stainless without a certain percentage. It will keep the blade from most if not all exposure to moisture and rust.
The last important element to look for is Vanadium. Vanadium is usually found in higher-end steels in higher concentrations. It allows for a really sharp edge as well as being exceptionally hard. This will help to retain an edge for a much longer period of time compared to cheaper steels. All in all the best knives for whittling will have all of these elements. Some will have different levels of each element giving each type of steel and knife blade a unique set of characteristics.
The overall quality of a knife is more than a sum of its parts. You could have the best steel in the world or the finest wood that money can buy, but if these pieces are assembled in a lackluster form the user will suffer. Conversely, you can have average materials go into an expertly built whittling knife that performs better than a poorly made knife with high-quality materials.
The design plays heavily in the quality of a knife. The way a knife feels in your hand and runs across a piece of wood all depend on its quality. The handle must be ergonomic and fit in the hand with ease. The blade must be sharp out of the box and for 100s of uses down the line before it needs its first sharpening. The quality of a knife is dependent on what it is made from, how it is designed, and how it is built. All of these things must come together to make the best knives for whittling.
The type of blade you use while whittling will depend on the stage of the project that you find yourself in. Typically you will start with a basic whittling knife to remove the first layers of wood. Once you get the first layer to remove it is time to start shaping the wood even more. Usually, a gauge of some kind will be used to create the perfect grooves you need to bring in more detail. The further you get to completion the smaller the knives you are using will become. This is necessary for the amount of detail that is needed. This will, of course, depend upon what you are designing. If you are making a wooden spoon fine detail is not really needed. But if you are making a small sculpture the finer tolls will need to be pulled out.
Ultimately you will find the number of knives and tools you use us greater than one. You will build a collection in no time as you progress through the hobby.
Are Opinel knives good for whittling?
In short, yes! You will find that many knives that are not specifically made for whittling can be used for the hobby. The shape of the Opinel, specifically the Opinel 7 is almost identical in shape and size to most knives designed for whittling. That being said, it is when you need to get down to the minute details that you will need a more specialized knife or tool. If you are only trying to fashion a spear you could technically use a Bowie Knife if you wanted. To finish this long-winded answer, most small knives like the Opinel are good for whittling.
What is the difference between wood carving and whittling?
The main difference between wood carving and whittling will be in the size and scope of your projects. Wood carving will usually involve a large log or piece of wood that will require a hammer and wood chisel. The finer details will be worked out with some smaller tools like knives, but for the most part, larger tools will be used when wood carving. When someone whittles a piece of wood they are typically going to be doing it by hand which a whittling knife. Whittlers usually make smaller pieces of art or trinkets that may serve a practical purpose. Whittlers at times will use small chisels and hook knives for finer details.
What do you need to start whittling?
There are 4 basic things you need to start whittling. The first is your hands, without them this hobby will be almost impossible. The second most important piece is wood. This process will take some time. Figuring out what type of wood you prefer to work with, finding a reliable source of that material, and then mastering it will all take time. The third thing you will need is a good set of whittling knives. Of course, one knife will do just fine, but building a nice set will give you much more variety and ability when working on a project. The last and most important thing you will need is an imagination, without that you could not think of all of the cool things you want to make.
What are the best wood carving tools for beginners?
The best wood carving tools for beginners will be the easiest one for them to use. Usually, the best knives for whittling are going to be from reputable manufacturers like the ones that made our list. The best introduction to the hobby of whittling will be with the best tools. Using an inferior tool can lead to someone abandoning the hobby all together. They will also be less intimidating on design and form. This is important for a couple of reasons, one they are usually safer to use and two beginners will be more comfortable using them. A quality yet simple knife will do the trick.
What kind of knife do you use to carve wood?
All of the knives we have on our list are suitable for wood carving. That being said there are some qualities you should look for when looking for the best knives for whittling. A strong ergonomic handle and strong full tang build is a must. Aside from that the shape and design will matter as well. The number one knife on our list the Morkaniv 120 knife is the best wood carving knife. It has a large ergonomic wooden handle wand a short tapered stainless steel blade. It offers the stability and controls you need in whittling tools.
Top Selling Whittling Knives
- Fox Chapel Publishing
- Editors of Woodcarving Illustrated (Author)
- DIMENSIONS: 6 inch (15.3 cm) overall length with a blade length of 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) and a weight of 3.9 ounces
- DURABLE: Blade is made of reliable 65Mn High Carbon Steel with a sawcut handle
- DIMENSIONS: 6 inch (15. 3 cm) overall length with a blade length of 1. 5 inches (3. 8 cm) and a weight of 3. 9 ounces
- DURABLE: Blade is made of reliable 65Mn High Carbon Steel with a sawcut handle
- ⭐️ GENERAL SLOYD KNIFE FOR WOOD CARVING: Knife is designed specifically for wood carving, green woodworking, whittling and roughing wood out. The thin pointed tip of the knife can be used for delicate wood cutting and allows working in tight areas of details. The rounded part of the blade allows cutting in the hollow areas and can be used to make rolled, slicing cuts.
- ⭐️ HIGH-QUALITY CARBON STEEL BLADES: The blade of the sloyd knife is made of high-carbon steel and is hardened to proper firmness. Our wood carving tools are sharpened and polished so you can use it right from the box. We stand by our green woodworking tools quality, so you'll get all the necessary information about our whittling tools and appropriate help also.
- ⚡️ CHIP WOOD CARVING KNIFE: Whittling knife is designed specifically for general wood carving, green woodworking, fine cutting wood, best for starting whittling and begginers. The thin pointed tip of the knife can be used for delicate wood cutting.
- ⚡️ HIGH -QUALITY CARBON STEEL BLADES: The blade of the wood carving knife detail is made of high-carbon steel and is hardened to proper firmness. The wood cutting knife is sharpened and polished so you can use this detail knife right from the box. We stand by our green woodworking tools quality, so you'll get all the necessary information about our whittling tools and appropriate help also.