I get asked this question a lot! ‘Which wood and tools you use for Woodcarving & Chip Carving?’ So I decided to write an article about it. (Links of interest at the end of this article).
All of my pieces are carved in basswood, American basswood mostly. Cedar and Mahogany woods are also very fit for carving, although basswood is the easiest to work with if you are new to woodcarving.
There’s 2 kinds of basswood: European & American. European Basswood comes mainly from eastern Europe forests. It usually grows naturally, so it’s more dense and has a better quality overall. American basswood mainly comes from plantation. Once they are big enough they cut down the tree and it’s ready for distribution.
The tools I’ve been using so far are from the Swiss brand ‘Pfeil Tools’. They are one of the most respected brands in the world alongside ‘Two Cherry Tools’, ‘Flex Tools’ and other brands which I don’t know of. They offer superb quality on their tools. Expect high prices, since those tools, when taken care of, will last you a lifetime. Both of this brands have tools suited for both Woodcarving & Chip Carving.
For Chip Carving the best option is a Chip Carving Knife. There are different styles for chip carving. The most commonly used and known is the basic Chip Carving Knife by ‘Pfeil Tools’ or ‘MyChipCarving’. In the eastern part of Europe, mostly Russia, they have a different style of Chip Carving and they use different knives. Special mention to Tatiana Baldina, from Russia, one of the finest Chip Carvers alive!
For Woodcarving / Relief Carving there’s a huge variety of tools depending on your carving needs. Most brands offer beginner sets, although sometimes you may find yourself not using one of them ever. From my experience, I suggest you get 3-4 starting tools from the list below. As you find your way on woodcarving you can slowly grow your tool set depending on your needs.
Suggested Tool Set (x4) for beginner relief carving (Reference from Pfeil Tools):
– 7/12 – 5/12 – 2/12 – 12/8
I highly recommend avoiding cheap carving tools. It will uselessly cost you money and time, you won’t get the desired results when carving and it’s going to be really hard to get a good sharpening session on them.
Where & How to buy wood and tools:
There are many options on how and where to get your carving tools and wood. I will guide you on how to easily find the right spots. For Europe residents it might be slightly more difficult to find information, since the woodcarving/woodworking community isn’t as big as the North American one so I hope you find this article helpful!
For those of you in Europe, I can point you 3 sites. First is ‘Tallamadera’ a woodcarving workshop based in Barcelona in which I learned woodcarving. They offer woodcarving courses and sell both wood & tools (Pfeil). Second is ‘Fustes Garriga’ they are a wood warehouse based in Barcelona and have some of the best European basswood available. The third option is ‘Comercial Pazos’ based in Madrid, Spain they also sell both wood and carving tools. These are all Spanish businesses, if I ever know of others around Europe I will make sure to add them on this list.
For North American folks, If you are looking for basswood and tools I suggest you contact Marty from Mychipcarving. He sells all kind of basswood items, form planks, to plates and his own Chip Carving knives and also offers online classes courses and many free tutorial videos on YouTube. Another person to contact would be Daniel Clay from Saturday Box Company, he sells Chip Carving kits including knives, wood and sharpening system. He also offers live Chip Carving courses around the US.
All the tool brands have their own website and there are many distributors of their tools around the world so another great way to find their tools is to check which are their nearest distributors for your area.
For both European and North American interested in Woodcarving I highly suggest to try and meet a local woodworker/woodcarver in your area and learn from them, attend to a workshop, do a course and learn in real life. They are most likely the ones from which you will best learn this craft and those that can guide you on where to locally find wood & tools in your area. You can search for them in the internet or try going to an arts/architects school or ask a furniture shop owner.
I hope this article has been of any help for you, if you still have any questions related to Woodcarving & Chip Carving after reading it, feel free to contact me.
Links of interest:
NORTH AMERICAN CONTACTS
MY SOCIAL MEDIA SITES