Have you been considering taking up a new hobby this winter? You probably need one to lower your stress and anxiety levels during this long and grueling plague year. Whittling may be the answer you’ve been searching for. This all-level craft hobby can keep your hands occupied for hours, giving your eyes a much-needed break from all those screens. There are many tools and guides available for a step-by-step welcome into whittling. Some of the best whittling kits also include all the tools beginners need to learn how to whittle.
Your new love for whittling may result in new Christmas ornaments you can display around the home or give to friends. Plus, you can enjoy the rest and peace of mind that comes from a rewarding new hobby.
When shopping for your whittling tools, it’s good to have an idea of what it is you’d like to carve. That way you can ensure you have the relevant knife for the job. There’s a whittling knife best suited for every type of project, whether it’s a spoon, bowl, gnome or doorstop. Here are a few of the most popular whittling knives to look out for:
- Sheepsfoot Knife – This is one of the most traditional blades used in whittling. These blades are often used for clean cuts due to their straight-edge blade. In addition, the blade thins towards the edge to create a sharp slicing tool.
- Sloyd Knife – The thin, pointed tip of a sloyd knife is designed for detailing and delicate wood cutting. These blades are designed specifically for whittling and so are a very valuable asset to any whittling kit.
- Hook Knife – Also known as a kuksa knife, a hook knife is an essential piece of equipment for any spoon, bowl or curved edge carving.
- Gouge Knife – You can dig deep or shallow with gouge knives. They often come in different depth variations but are always used for chiseling out areas and carving grooves.
Once you’re all set with your knives and ready to slice, it’s also wise to have an idea of the different cuts you may see in your step-by-step guide to whittling. Here are four of the most common:
- Push Cut – The clue’s in the name with this one. To complete a push cut, hold your block of wood in your weaker hand and then use your stronger hand to push the knife into the wood and away from your body in a forward motion.
- Pairing Cut – One of the great things about a pairing cut is that it enables you to have more control of the knife than other types of cut. By using the thumb of your knife hand to steady the piece of wood and then pulling the blade towards you, you should be able to control the speed and cut with ease. Be careful of slipping, though, as you don’t want the blade to meet your thumb too quickly.
- V-Shaped Cut – By angling the knife in two mirrored directions as you slice into the wood, you can create v-shaped channels known as “V” cuts.
- Stop Cut – This is the straight forward entry into wood used to create defined lines. For this, you should find a hand positioning that gives you the highest force so that you can have greater control over how near or far the blade goes.
With your knife and cut knowledge now ready to take action, we’ve whittled down the best tools and kits on Amazon to help you on your way to carving a relaxing, craft filled winter. There are tons of great books and how-to videos to help hone your new skills, and we definitely recommend spending some time on YouTube to watch master whittlers putting these skills into action.
1. BeaverCraft Whittling Kit
BEST NOVELTY WHITTLING KIT
Whittle some magic into your life with this BeaverCraft Whittling Kit. It’s the ideal set for beginners, as it includes everything you need to get up and running in the wizarding world of whittling. The kit contains a wood carving knife, three basswood blocks and three leather strops for sharpening as well as a pattern you can follow to bring a little wooden wizard to life. This would make a great Christmas gift to anyone with bored hands. BevererCraft also has a great series of YouTube videos with tips for beginners learning how to whittle for the first time.
2. Editors of Woodcarving Illustrated Starter Guide to Whittling
BEST STARTER GUIDE
For the best how-to guide on getting into whittling, this beginner-friendly Starter Guide to Whittling from the editors of Woodcarving Illustrated is ideal. It’s available in paperback, on Kindle and also as a spiral-bound book, too. This guide contains 24 easy-to-complete whittling designs and will take you through the step-by-step process of each by using both photos and descriptions to suit all types of learners.
Editors of Woodcarving Illustrated Starter Guide to Whittling
$12.99 15% Off
3. Delicacy Wood Carving Tools
BEST BEGINNER TOOLS
This black zip-up, portable set from Delicacy is the ideal entry into carving tools for any beginner whittler. It contains 12 individual tools that range across all aspects of whittling, to ensure you’ve everything you need for all types of carving technique. A stone and strop are also included for keeping your tools pointy and sharp. Plus, all the tools fit inside the carrying case, which is small enough to fit in your back pocket or coat pocket.
4. CANUSA Basswood for Whittling
This basswood from CANUSA is 100% from the state of Wisconsin. It’s super smooth in texture and soft in density which makes it easy to work with. Eight smaller blocks come in each order. These are best suited for beginners and testing out new designs. Two larger blocks also come in each set. These blocks are for your bigger masterpieces. Whether you’re starting out as a whittler or you’re trying to get someone else into the hobby, don’t forget to supply them wood with their knives.
5. Elemental Tools Wood Carving Set
BEST SET WITH GLOVES INCLUDED
This beautiful bamboo boxed Wood Carving Set from Elemental Tools has everything you need to get whittling. It includes a range of knives along with a pair of cut-resistant gloves. The gloves are a one-size-fits-all, but they do stretch, so are usually a good fit for everyone. In addition to gloves, the set also includes a sloyd knife, a hook knife, a detail knife, a strap, a wooden spoon blank and a polishing compound.
6. Old Timer Folding Whittling Knife
BEST MULTI-WAY KNIFE
Be ready for any whittling situation with the Old Timer Folding Whittling Knife. Inside the folding knife, you’ll find six different tools, including a nail pull, chisel, straight gouge, v-scorp, hook blade and gouge scorp. The whole thing is six inches long with a maximum blade length of 1.5 inches. Plus, the blades are made from carbon steel and so are extremely tough and durable, even in outdoor conditions.
7. WAYCOM Wood Carving Gift Box
BEST GIFT BOX
If you’re looking to give the gift of whittling, then the WAYCOM Wood Carving Gift Box is for you. It comes complete with everything a novice will need to start their whittling hobby, such as three knives, a pair of gloves and a polishing compound, among other items. Plus, everything comes presented in a gift box that boasts individual tool-shaped cut-outs for storage. A pair of protective gloves is also provided, just in case your new whittler friend has any slip-ups.
8. BeaverCraft Carving Tools Set
BEST ROLL UP SET
Roll up your new favorite carving tool set from BeaverCraft with a handy carrying case. Inside the roll pouch, you’ll find a complete collection of knives, including a sloyd knife, chip carving knife and hook knife. Once ordered, BeaverCraft will also send you three different e-books to help you get started with whittling and to ensure you know how to give the best care to your new tools, too.
9. JJ Care Wood Carving Kit
BEST STARTER KIT
Not all carving kits include the basswood blocks you need to whittle, but this kit from JJ Care does. Ten blocks of basswood are included with each order, along with eight carbon steel tools and one grinding stone for keeping them sharp. There are eight smaller blocks included, which measure four by one by one inch, and then there are also two large blocks, which measure four by two by two inches. You’re sure to be onto a whittling winner with this kit.
10. FLEXCUT Whittling Knife
BEST POCKET KNIFE
Be ready to whittle wherever you are with the FLEXCUT Whittling Knife. This Jackknife has two blades that are designed for different uses. The shorter of the blades measures 1.5 inches long and should be used to carve details into wood, whereas the longer, two-inch blade should be used as a roughing knife. This beautiful pocket knife is made in the USA and is four inches long when folded.
11. American Crafters Whittling Kit
This whittling kit from American Crafter has all the tools you need to start your new hobby. The tools are presented in a top-quality bamboo box that’s been embossed with the American Crafter logo and an American flag. There are twelve pieces included in the set, and each of the knife handles is made from hardwood oak and boasts a natural linseed oil finish. A pair of cut-resistant gloves is also provided.
12. BeaverCraft Whittling Knives Set
For professional whittling knives set that will make your fellow whittlers jealous, the BeaverCraft Set is what you need. It’s beautifully presented in a leather case for a luxury appearance. Your high standard tools can be housed inside. Each of the tools has been ergonomically designed to ensure comfort when using, even if you’re whittling for hours. This would make a great gift for someone else or equally for yourself.