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Thread: carving tools

  1. #1

    carving tools

    Does anyone have recommendations for good carving tools such as gouges that are semi affordable Iíve heard that flexcut is good but the reviews are mixed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Silicon Valley, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob s white View Post
    Does anyone have recommendations for good carving tools such as gouges that are semi affordable Iíve heard that flexcut is good but the reviews are mixed
    I'm far from an expert, but I muddle through the bits of carving I need to get done. I have a motley collection of what was on sale, less training & skill, and even less talent. However, I've been reading reviews, checking reviews, and watching sales for a long time.

    What you want exactly depends on the type, size, and style of carving you are interested in.

    FlexCut gouges seem to be love or hate. The biggest complaint I see is they're too flexible. The biggest recommendation is they are sharp and cheap, (well less expensive.) Woodcraft has a 25% off sale this month, but that doesn't mean you won't do better at Amazon or other retailer. I think their carving knives are more widely appreciated.

    In the US, Pfeil seem to be the gold standard for new tools, but Pfeil is not cheap and Woodcraft seems to have an exclusive retail deal. But WC typically has a winter sale which *MAY* be coming up. These or vintage seem to be what the most experienced carvers end up with.

    Schaaf is a newcomer. They import tool sets from China, but seem to mind the quality pretty well. They get good reviews, seem responsive when a bad one slips through, and have well curated sets. Downside is their limited selection and that they sell only sets. They may be the best way, and certainly not a bad way, to start with gouges right now for cheap though.

    Recently I've seen a couple good reviews for BeaverCraft, especially carving knives, but also gouges, on Amazon from Ukraine.

    I've seen recommendations for Lamp & Mastercarver,at Wood Carver Supply, as budget tools but don't have any other experience.

    Ramelson is a US brand I've seen praised, mostly for their palm tools. I think most people think full size gouges are more versatile, but some like the palm tools. (TFWW's website tells me the palm tools, aka block cutters in British, were originally
    favored for carving block printing plates.)

    Lastly there are many traditional tool companies that make respected tools, should you find a sale or a deal on used tools. That includes Distra (sp?), Henry Taylor, Ashely Iles, and I'm sure dozens others I'm not remembering right now.

  3. #3
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    Sharpening

    I should have said something about sharpening. Even the most expensive tools will be disappointment if you can't get them sharp enough for your task. (And even if they came perfectly sharp, use will dull them!)

    What you have for your other edged tools should work fine on the straight and outside edges. You will need to have something for the inside edges. Slip stones are the traditional solution. You could probably make adequate substitutes with some bits of wood and abrasive films though.

    Lastly, most carvers will strop their edges both to refine after the stones and to maintain them, so the stones are used only to change bevels or repair damage. You can get all sorts of pre-made strops and buy expensive leathers to make your own, and these may be better with enough experience, but many are successful with homemade solutions. For flat & outside edges simple cereal box cardboard taped to something firm and flat (e.g. MDF), possibly with some honing compound (e.g. LV's Green stick or FlexCut's Gold), works. For the inside edges and perhaps for the curved edges a bit of fine grained hardwood can be carved to match the profiles and then charged with honing compound.

    PS- remember what Mike Siemsen said, "Remember poorly sharpened is better than dull." OK, he was talking about saws in his saw sharpening video, but this thought encourages me to keep at it and just expect to improve my sharpening with experience over time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
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    Try Chipping Away for Pfeil "Swiss Made" tools. their prices are much lower than other retailers I've been able to find. They are in Canadia, perhaps that's the difference. No issues with payment or shipping, nice folks to deal with.

    I've got a few tools that I've acquired from other makers, I don't seem to be able to get them as sharp or keep them as sharp as the Pfeil tools. I use a motorized leather wheel I made for honing/sharpening (horsehide belting wrapped around a MDF core, trued using a wood lathe skew, charged with green compound). I haven't yet had the need or desire to use a grinder on any of my carving tools, not looking forward to the day I get a chip that requires it.

    Compared to my collection of exotic steel bowl gouges my carving tools don't seem so expensive. ;-)

  5. #5
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    Oct 2008
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    Kapolei Hawaii
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    Scroll down a but. Quality carving tools at an affordable price. I did a mini review of those Schaaf tools. I am FAR from an expert of any sort, just a casual learner. I have lots to learn. Bang for the buck, and you do need to sharpen, I think they are a good starting point.
    I agree with what is mentioned before. I do have Pfiel, Flexcut and Sorby tools.

  6. #6
    Sоmе оf the most essential wood carving tools include: gouge, cutting knife, mallets, coping saw and chisels. It is normally to pay some money if you want to have a good quality, but also you need to find it at a reasonable price to be sure that you are paying for quality, not for brand.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Berkshire County in Western Ma
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    I picked up a foredom flexible shaft power carver in a thrift shop for $20. It was in a fairly large tool box with lots of other stuff. There was a set of flexcut tools with it as well with gouges and a couple of handles. I had always thought of flexcut as kind of a cheap alternative, so they just sat there for months. One day I decided to try them on a project and was surprised at how well they did work. I have my more expensive gouges, but I still grab the flexcuts sometimes if I want something compact to take along.

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