starter carving set?

//starter carving set?
starter carving set? 2015-07-15T08:38:13+00:00
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  • #2026738

    John
    Participant
    Post count: 10

    I want to dive into carving but the number of chisels, sweeps, etc, is a bit overwhelming.  What’s the recommended basic starter set for someone just getting into this?

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  • Mike in TN
    Participant
    Post count: 272

    Like most things associate with woodworking, it all depends on the type of carving you want to do. Chip carving, relief carving, spoon carving all lend themselves to specific types of tools. There can be some crossover uses but you generally don’t use chip carving tools on spoons or vice versa. I would recommend that if you don’t know exactly what type of carving you want to do that you invest if a couple of good carving knives. They are relatively cheap and can be put to many other uses in the shop besides just carving. If you want to try relief carving I would recommend one of the starting sets from Flexcut. A lot of people would caution you on buying a set of tools but my opinion is that at this stage you don’t know what you need and these sets can have you making basic cuts at relatively low cost. You can always add to your collection as it become apparent what style of carving and tool techniques you prefer.

    • Mike in TN
      Participant
      Post count: 272

      Mountain Woodcarvers

      I have had very good luck with the Sculpture House mallet tools that Mountain Woodcarvers have on sale. I would pick up a v tool, a veiner ( a #11 sweep probably a 3-4 mm, and three of four straight shank gouges of different sweeps ( maybe a 3, a 6, and an 8 all in an 6-8 mm). The Sculpture House tools are basic tools and are not as highly finished as Pfeils, but they work well after you get them sharpened up.  I wouldn’t worry about picking up any more tools unless you discover you just can’t get by without them. Most carvers end up doing 75% of their work with a relatively small set.

      http://mountainwoodcarvers.com/

      • Mike in TN
        Participant
        Post count: 272

        In case anyone is interested, Mountain Woodcarvers is currently running “a buy three-get one free sale” on their Sculpture House mallet tools. These are not as highly finished as some of the higher end tools available, but I have some of these tools and find them to excellent at bargain prices compared to other tool brands.

        Have fun.

  • John
    Participant
    Post count: 10

    Thanks, Mike. I should have been specific that I’m interested in relief carving. I have a FlexCut starter set but it’s the short handled version and there’s a lack of control so I was looking at perhaps a few sweeps and gouges from Pfiel, etc.

  • Aaron
    Participant
    Post count: 5

    See this link:

    http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=44106&cat=1,130,43332,43334

    These are not very expensive tools, but they work well.  I use the shallow gouge and a flex cut carving knife 90% of the time.  Then the left and right handed skews to get into corners and such.  A small straight chisel and the 60 degree V gouge are the next useful for me.  I carve a lot of signs for cottages and names signs and such.  These work quite well and you won’t spend a fortune.

  • John
    Participant
    Post count: 10

    Thanks for the pointer, Aaron. I’ll take a closer look at these.

  • John
    Participant
    Post count: 10

    Thanks, Mike. BTW, I grew up in Nashville.

  • leeh522
    Participant
    Post count: 7

    Another Option

    One of the best carvers who also is a very good teacher is Mary May, and she has a series of tutorial videos on her website, including one specifically on tools to start with. That is where I started carving and it has saved me a lot of money. Plus, her tutorials are in a logical order that makes learning easier. I would highly recommend starting there.

  • WilliamF
    Participant
    Post count: 2

    I recently picked up a starter set from tools for working wood, I chose a set from Auriou that was fairly inexpensive (if there is such a thing) for carving tools.  So far I am pleased with them.

  • John
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    All good advice.  I was like you when I started.  I just didn’t know what to start with.  I started with a cheap, 5 piece, palm held starter set.  Most of the time you get what you pay for.  So, I eventually found that the quality tools such as Stubai and Pfiel really do make a difference in that they hold an edge for a very long time.  So, if possible do invest in quality now and you will never regret that.  Good quality tools will last a lifetime if you take care of them.

     

  • spykerGM
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    I was a very fine kit to chip carving on my website, you can check this out

    http://whittlingwoodcarving.com/chip-carving-what-is-definition/

  • oscaro928
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    Another vote for Mary May

    I second that option of going with Mary May online instruction. I started doing her projects and as I needed the different carving tools for the projects I would buy them. That way you get experience in using the tools as you buy them and don’t end up with a “pre assembled set” which may have some you chisels you never end up using.

    I took a class with her at my local Woodcraft store, she was great and I learned quite a bit. So her classes are highly recommended!.

  • don67
    Participant
    Post count: 7

    iv been tinkering with a set very similar to what aaron suggested. Like you im a newbie to carving so didnt want to go overboard on the cost of my first set but these seem to be working quite well

  • Mike in TN
    Participant
    Post count: 272

    Schaaf Tools

    I just recently bough a set of 12 carving tools from Schaaf Tools through Amazon and I can’t say enough good things about them. A lot of reviews talk about them being “good for the money” but the truth is they are good tools period. They are full sized and, like all new woodworking tools, do require some shaping, sharpening and honing, prior to performing at their best. I know a lot of experienced carvers dislike sets, but this is a good general use set which can go a long way helping beginners decide on which tools to get first. I tried them out at the bench using hand and mallet techniques and they seemed to perform as well in soft and hard woods as my other “high end” brands including in their edge holding abilities.

    If you sign up on the company website they will give you $10 off your first purchase which you can then apply toward the purchase. I have communicated with the company and they seem to offer excellent customer service. no, I have no other affiliation with them, and yes, I really did buy my own tools.

    If you are serious about getting some nice tools then you should try these out. Just understand that regardless of what brand you settle on that sharpening is an ongoing activity that comes with the craft. Using truly sharp tools is a joy and dull tools are a chore. Don’t criticize the tools if you are unwilling to do the preparation and maintenance.

    Have fun.

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