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2-3 The Tools are the Carving

This is what woodcarving is about. In some ways there really is nothing else.

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| 15 December 2021 14:14

Veronica - Interesting comment. The similarity is superficial, in that woodcarving tools are true edges, not square ended, and cut through the wood fibres cleanly rather than push out the material. You'll soon see!

| 14 December 2021 18:57

Some of the woodcarving tools look similar to chasing and Repousse tools.

| 29 March 2021 12:21

Andrew - From a carvers point of view, the problem with single bevel, carpentry chisels is that they are designed for a specific job: cutting dead flat faces for joints; so they are used flat face to the wood to jig a flat plane. If you think about a carving gouge, we mainly use it the other way up: bevel to the wood; it gives us flexibility in out cuts because we pivot the stroke on the heel (between bevel and blade). A carvers chisel, with it's 2 bevel mimic the gouge in this. Bottom line: the 2 types of chisels are different beasts.

You can certainly use your single bevel chisel where you would use the double-bevelled one, but you need to be very exact in your cutting as there is no way of finessing the cut.
So do give it a go, it's only a piece of wood and you'll really appreciate the carvers chisel when you get one!

| 29 March 2021 08:51

A query about chisels. I hear loud and clear that double bevel chisels of exact length are best for lettering. I will be challenged in affording them while putting toe in water. Have invested in fishtail chisel and gouge. Would using single bevel chisels in interim lead to snags/bad habits/would it be better to stick to doing double cuts with shorter double bevel chisel initially? At present have short double bevel bench chisels in abundance and happy to bring some of my down to shallower single bevel if not inappropriate.


Andrew Scott-Brown

| 30 May 2019 13:00

Becky - That sounds frustrating. I don't know where you are writing from but the tools I'm specifying in the course are very common and should be readily available online which is principally why I chose them.
Write to me: with where you are and what you've done so far, and I'll see if I can offer some suggestions.

| 29 May 2019 22:46

I paid for this course so I could learn to carve correctly. However, I can't begin practicing without the tools. I have gone to a few sites and waited for the tools to come in only to find out that it will be 2-3 months before they will get the tools in to ship. So, frustrating. Is there somewhere that I can actually obtain the tools sooner - USA??? I do like watching the videos but would love to start putting the tools to wood.

| 21 July 2016 20:06

Alejandro - I'm afraid I don't use Flexcut palm tools except for 'backing off' pierced carvings so can't really say much. However, if that's what you have then do try them - lengthening the handle seems a very good idea. Hand size? Use the conventional length of the Pfeil V tool when you get it as your guide.
And your height? The main thing there is to have a tall enough bench so you don't get backache.

Please, do not buy the cheap carving tools! You cannot destroy a standard carving tool - such as made by Pfeil - unless you reduce it to within an inch of the handle. Just get clear on what you are trying to do and follow the step by step guides you'll find elsewhere on this site.

Yes, you will need to sharpen them at some point; that's just the nature of the beast. So yes, you will need to invest in sharpening stones. The translucent Arkansas benchstone and slipstones are the ones you will need for that final sharpness.
I know carving seems expensive but it's really cheap compared with any other wood craft, and the wood itself is often just an off-cut.
Pass the word to family and friends! You're taking up carving! They can be the recipients of your creativity in the future...

| 21 July 2016 16:07

PS I will be gluing (or duct taping) pieces of wood onto the cheap chisels for length, for chisel shaping, sharpening, and strobbing practice.

| 21 July 2016 16:04


Wonderful series of videos. Currently, I'm almost through sharpening, though I haven't yet picked up a chisel. Here's my issue, I have 4 kids and just got married. All of our savings are tapped and we are virtually starting over. So, I have very little money for tools and equipment. However, I do have a Flexcut, 5 chisel, palm set I bought about 10 years ago, that I never used (with a missing the v-tool :( and a Flexcut cutting knife. My options are sharpening stones or chisels. But! You can't have one without the other!

So, I will be buying the recommended Pfeil V-tool, 2 Norton oilstones, and a $10 set of 11 Harbor Frieght special carving chisels... That final purchase is exclusively meant for destroying them on the oilstones!

My concern, though minimal, is learning your methods with Flexcut palm tools. Angle is key; which means length (8" to 10"?) is key! But! Flexcut palm chisels aren't long at all (6"?) and I'm 6'4" tall. My hands aren't small at all... Do you have any suggestions for addressing this issue?

Thank you,

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