Wood Carving Knives
Wood carving knives are the most frequently-used tools in the wood carving hobby. They are the most versatile tools that can help you give shape to those projects that seem, otherwise, too hard to handle. The more time you spend carving with your wood carving knives, the more comfortable you'll get in handling them and the easier it will be for you to get the results you want. Your life becomes a lot easier when you find the right carving knives to fit your hobby so here's how you can find out more about these knives.
Picking Wood Carving Knives
The biggest question that baffles most hobbyists, especially when they are starting out, is how they can pick out the right wood carving knives for their hobby. The first thing that any hobbyist needs to look for is the quality of the steel. The steel needs to be quite hard, with a good edge and even the quality of the steel makes a difference. The shape of the knife matters as well, and you need one that's quite narrow throughout the length of it, to make it easier for you to make shorter cuts.
The belly of the blade also makes a difference in the way cuts are made. A thin blade with a small mid-region is perfect for almost everything you'll want to do with wood carving knives. The belly isn't really used in wood carving as its main use comes when you are using it in a skinning motion.
If you find a blade that's wider than 15mm, you might find it hard to make clear or fine cuts on wood. There are some knives that might come with a blade guard or a hilt guard, but they aren't really needed when carving wood. Hilts are needed to prevent your hand from sliding onto the blade, when using the knife in a stabbing motion, but that's an unlikely motion for wood carving and is never used.
When starting off, you might want to try a shorter blade that's much safer to use. However, it can limit the kind of cuts you make, especially if you are trying to make long-slices or create flat planes, which are always easier to make with longer blades. Finally, you need to ensure that your wood carving knives have the right kind of edge - a triangle-like shape that slants in to a perfect point. There are some knives that might come with another bevel, but this isn't good for fine controlled work.
Types of Wood Carving Knives
When buying wood carving knives, you need to remember that it's not always about the brand or the company that makes the knife - it's about how the knife does the job for you. Some of the best knives are made by Swedish companies, including Frost, and they come with some wonderful blades and handles, ideal for hobbyists of all ages and experience levels.
There are knives with long handles and short handles, each with its own advantages & disadvantages. Shorter handles are usually more agile and, thus, more popular while longer handles are all about longer swipes. You get knives with round handles, octagonal handles, four-sided handles, and more. However, if you are looking to make concave cuts on wood, then you will need longer handles.
You get laminated blades on your wood carving knives, which means that the main steel cutting through your wood, will be harder than the outer layers, on either side. This is mainly to maintain the quality of the knife's blade and allow the softer centre to be harder, without becoming brittle. This also makes it easier to sharpen the knife and keep it in perfect shape for your projects.
Then there are whittling knives that are similar to peeling knives and are used in, pretty much, the same way. These usually come in folding varieties that can fit into your pockets, and is ideal for small & finely tuned work. They are similar to Swiss knives and have single or multiple blades that fold back into the body or the handle of the knife.
The idea of using wood carving knives is one of the most common ways of working with wood and in the end, it all comes down to your skill and experience with the knife. You might have the best knife on the planet but if you do not have the skill to use that knife, you won't be able to get the kind of results you expect. There is a general understanding that wood carving knives only contribute about 15 to 20% to the final output.
So find yourself wood carving knives that fit your needs perfectly and things will get much better for your hobby!