Are you interested in learning how to whittle, but you don’t know where to start? If you don’t know how to begin you whittling journey and you are just starting this as a hobby, you have just come to the right place! Our ultimate guide will show you everything you need to know so you can get whittling right away.
Whittling is a simple activity or a hobby that is practiced by many people across the globe, since it is very easy to do and you don’t need complex or expensive tools to get started. Whether you’re a beginner looking for detailed directions, or an advanced carver looking for a simple way to relax, it is still a smart move to equip yourself with a kit with a variety of basic tools.
WHAT IS WHITTLING?
Whittling is the art of carving shapes out of raw wood using a carving knife or a non-artistic process of repeatedly shaving slivers from a piece of wood. It is used by many as a past time, or as a way to make artistic creations. Casual whittling is typically performed with a light, small bladed knife, usually a pocket cutting knife. And specialized whittling knives, with fixed single blades, are preferred for sculpting artistic work.
Sometimes, the terms “whittling” and “carving” are used interchangeably although they are different form of arts. Carving employs the use of chisels, gouges or mallets; while whittling involves only the use of a wood carving knife.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW BEFORE I START?
Whether you are a beginner or a professional woodcarver, you are worth to have a smooth and successful whittling journey. Here are some guidelines and tips that you can follow to get the most out of your whittling experience.
1. TYPE OF WOOD
Anyone who wants to start whittling can use any type of wood, but keep in mind that there are woods which are easier to work with and whittle better than the others. Softwoods are the best for whittling not only because they are more malleable and can be easily carved, but they also cut nice and easy. After you’ve learned the basics of whittling and developed some skills, feel free to move on to more difficult and harder woods. But bear in mind that hard wood lasts longer than soft wood and they tend to keep their shape and texture better over time.
Here is a short list of the most popular whittling woods:
2. GRAIN OF WOOD
The direction in which the wood is strongest is called "grain" (grain may be straight, interlocked, wavy or fiddleback). No matter what kind of wood you use, we recommend that you pick a wood with a straight grain with a plain texture. It will be a lot easier to whittle because they are easier to cut through and does not chip the wood. Avoid a wood that has a grain with lots of knots and going in multiple directions.
Remember, carve in the same direction as the grain (carving with the grain) or carve perpendicular to the grain (carving across the grain). You would always want to carve with the grain or across the grain, doing so will make wood chip carving easier and you can avoid getting splinters!
One of the best things about whittling is that you can do it anywhere. That means that the knife is a very important wood carving tool and of course nothing beats the convenience of slipping a folded knife into your pocket right? Although you can use your pocket knife, it is usually better to stick to with knives that are specifically made for whittling.
4. PROJECT TYPE
If you are a beginner, start with something basic and easy to do whittling projects like gently curving some objects, as this will allow you some room for mistakes. As you get better, transition to projects that require more details. The more you carve, the more you will understand the grain of the wood. Regardless of the wood type and the wood grain, you will surely find your own way on how to make the right cut.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST WHITTLING KNIFE?
Many manufacturers provide a wide selection of available whittling tools that beginners are having a hard time finding what suits them best. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a knife:
CARBON STEEL BLADE
Both stainless steel and carbon steel blade holds an edge for a long time and doesn’t corrode – both great qualities of a knife. But because stainless steel blade tends to dull slowly, it is also hard to sharpen. That’s why knives made of high carbon steel blade are a bit more expensive but they are easy to sharpen.
Look for a knife with blades that are placed in the center of the handle firmly. If the knife blade is not at the center, you lose leverage which reduces your carving power and control. A well placed blade will make you feel more comfortable to use the knife for long periods of time.
Look for a sheepsfoot blade – has a straight edge and a straight dull back that curves towards the edge at the end. It gives the most control, because the dull back edge is made to be held by fingers. A sheepsfoot blade is better suited for whittling than a standard pocket knife because it minimizes the potential for accidental piercing with the point.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT KNIFE FOR YOU
While whittling is an individual approach from various points of view, selecting the ideal wood carving kit for you is a matter of personal preference. The size of the grip and the handle will greatly influence how comfortable the knife is to use over extended periods. There are tons of special and customized whittling kits in the market, including multiple knives for different jobs , chip carving knife and spoon carving kit.
You can do some research; ask other whittlers for opinions and reviews before making a purchase. I highly recommend that you invest in something durable, good quality and is well suited for you. If you are in search for the best whittling kit, here is a review of the Gaxcoo Whittling Woodworking Set.
WHITTLING KNIFE WOODWORKING SET
Our top picks for the best wood carving set in the market has got you covered as it includes everything you need to get started! This whittling kit by Gaxcoo is a complete set greatly recommended for beginners. It is a 7-tool carving knife set consists of 3 basswood pieces, Hook Knife, Sloyd Knife, Detail Knife and a FREE BONUS sharping stone.
GOOD QUALITY: The blades are made of high quality carbon steel blades that are very easy to sharpen. The edges are easy to maintain with the included sharping stone. The handles are made of ash wood covered with linseed oil. Also included are three pieces of premium quality basswood that makes carving easier.
MULTIPURPOSE AND VERSATILE: A complete set that has all the necessary tools for a starter.
- Hook knife is designed specifically for spoon carving, bowl, cup, Kuksa carving and any round edge carving.
- Sloyd knife is designed for wood carving, whittling and roughing wood out.
- Detail knife is designed for delicate wood cutting and really small details, keep your woodwork to perfection.
If you are looking for a fun activity and still undecided in choosing a hobby, then whittling is a good option. This whittling set will only cost you $28.40 and as long as you have this kit and a piece of wood, any newbie can start with the best whittling knives in a matter of minutes! And with a 100% money back guarantee, you can just go ahead and focus yourself in familiarizing with your newfound hobby and get started with your project ideas!