As far as knives go, you’ve got three basic options:
If you want to go for a rougher, more old school approach (or you already own one that you’d like to use) pocket knives are great for whittling. In fact, many traditional whittlers claim that pocket knives are the only way to go.
The main advantage of using a pocket knife is how portable and convenient it is when you aren’t actually whittling. Because they fold up, they’re easy to take on camping trips, where there are plenty of opportunities to get crafting. Pocket knives also often hold multiple knives, which will save space.
There are some disadvantages to using a pocket knife for whittling, though. Often, the folding mechanism means that the blade is less secure, therefore giving you less control. Pocket knife handles can also be quite uncomfortable for whittling, meaning your hand will get tired or start to hurt after a while.
There are loads of different pocket knives out there. You can even use a simple Swiss Army Knife, which many people have knocking around somewhere in their house or garage already. Just remember to make sure it’s nice and sharp before you begin. For tips on how to sharpen your knife, why not take a look at this guide from Carving Is Fun?
If you’re an absolute beginner to wood carving and you don’t have much previous experience using knives, then a whittling knife is probably your best bet. Whittling knives are specially made for wood carving. They often come very sharp and are ready to use straight out of the box. They also have fixed blades – meaning they don’t fold up. While this makes them less portable and convenient than a pocket knife, they’re a little easier to control.
Whittling knives are also designed for hours of use. They usually have ergonomic handles which are much more comfortable to hold than pocket knife handles. So, your hand should get tired less frequently.
As far as choosing a whittling knife is concerned, you can’t go wrong with the Mora 120. Mora is a trusted brand among the wood carving community and this knife is not only comfortable and sharp, but it’s great value for money too.
Or, if you’re serious about getting into wood carving, why not consider buying a wood carving knife set? This one, again from Mora, includes two different basic knives; one for shaping and one for fine detail. It also includes a few hooked knives so that you can use it to carve things like bowls and spoons with ease.
Pocket whittling knives
If you’d like to mix the handy convenience of the pocket knife with the specialist design of a whittling knife, then why not consider a hybrid of the two?
Knives like the Opinel No 6 (a beginner’s pocket whittling knife that comes recommended by many seasoned whittlers) not only fold up but have locking features that keep your blade nice and secure while you whittle. So, you’ll have greater control when trying to create fine detail.