With a little practice and some safety precautions, whittling is a great way for those of all ages to pass the time or to express themselves creatively. Technically, all one needs to get started whittling is a pocket knife and a piece of wood. But trust us when we say, with the best whittling kit for beginners, you’ll be much more pleased with your results. And with some hard work, you’ll likely be more satisfied with how quickly your skills improve. A craftsperson is only as good as their tools. Beginners: Get your start whittling with any one of the six best whittling kits we reviewed.
Our Top Picks
Chip away at the whittling kits in our ranking.
|Best Whittling Kit Overall: Schaaf Wood Carving Tools.
The tools included in this Schaaf set take an edge and keep it.
|Runner-Up: BeaverCraft S15 Whittling Wood Carving Kit.
A runner-up to Schaaf, this BeaverCraft set cuts smooth and holds its edge.
|Best Wood Carving Kit: Ramelson Beginner’s Carving Tools.
For absolute beginners who want to try wood carving, we like the beginner’s carving tools from Ramelson.
|Runner-Up: Kirschen 11-Piece Carving Tools.
Another great choice for beginning wood carvers are the Kirschen carving tools, sold in sets of eleven.
|Deluxe Pick: FLEXCUT KN250 Knife Set.
With excellent leverage and vantage points,the FLEXCUT KN250 is the best deluxe whittling kit for beginners.
|Budget Pick: TIMESETL Pine Wood Carving Kit.
Choose TIMESETL for the best budget whittling kit for beginners, a great learning kit at a price that can’t be beat.
A Closer Look: Best Whittling Kit for Beginners
Cut a little deeper with a closer look at the whittling kits we reviewed.
1. Schaaf Wood Carving Tools
The best whittling kit for beginners overall.
Brand: Schaaf | Blades: Alloy Chromium Vanadium Steel | Handles: Hardwood Ash, European-style Octagonal Shape | Features: Beginner eBook Included | Price: 💰💰💰
A 12-piece set including chisels and gouges, the first pick in our ranking is a great choice for beginning hobbyists. It also offers enough quality for anyone interested in taking their whittling and carving skills to the next level. Everything arrives is factory sharpened, so you can begin your project right away, and there’s even a beginner’s eBook included to help you get started.
Otherwise, these high-quality chisels and carving tools are good value for the money, although more experienced carvers will likely want to sharpen and hone the edges to their preferences, we learned. But the large format gouges are particularly impressive, we found out, and the chisels have clean-looking edges.
- Entire set first rate
- Truly professional carving tools
- Great shape right out of the box
- Chisel edges could be better
- Just “good enough,” some say
2. BeaverCraft S15 Whittling Wood Carving Kit
Our runner-up pick for beginner whittlers.
Brand: BeaverCraft | Blades: High-Carbon Steel | Handles: Ash, Ergonomic | Features: Chip Carving Knife Included | Price: 💰
Another great whittling kit for beginners is the BeaverCraft S15 whittling and wood carving kit. The roughing knife arrives razor sharp, with a high-quality whittling knife also included. Also notable is the leather strop and polishing compound, detail knife, cutting knife, and roll for storage. BeaverCraft also offers some nice tutorials and free patterns online and through their digital newsletter.
Overall, this is a nice little starter set that cuts smooth and holds an edge once sharpened, according to reports. Many experienced whittlers appreciate that a strop comes included with the purchase. Stropping them after each use means these tools will cut smoothly through multiple projects, especially when carving basswood blocks. Some with extra big hands find the handles to be somewhat small, however.
- Good steel
- Comfortable handles
- Stick of jeweler’s rouge included
- Blades a bit too thick for some
- Arrive not as sharp as some would like
3. Ramelson Beginner’s Carving Tools
The best wood carving kit for beginners.
Brand: Ramelson | Blades: W-1 U.S. Tool Steel | Handles: Hardwood | Features: Metal Ferrules | Price: 💰💰
As opposed to simple whittling projects, a true wood set needs to have all the tools an artisan needs to get the job done: from roughing out the project to detail-work when necessary. We found just this very kit in the 6-piece carving set from Ramelson. Made from W-1 U.S. tool steel, this set comes complete with a chisel, gouge, and skew. It all arrives factory ground and sharpened for immediate use.
These tools can be used by hand or with a mallet, and fans of the set call it great for beginners. The tools also accommodate more sophisticated projects when necessary, however. The handles on the tools are round, and some wish they were flat so they wouldn’t roll away so easily on your working surface. But overall, these tools arrive sharp and are very competitively priced, based on feedback.
- Good for inlay work
- Easy to use, lightweight
- Especially good for detail work
- Easy to blunt
- Not for prying
- Require more TLC what some would like
4. Kirschen 11-Piece Carving Tools
Our wood carving kit runner-up.
Brand: Kirschen | Blades: Heat-Treated Steel | Handles: Hardwood | Features: Sharpening Stone | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰
Another great wood carving kit for beginners is the 11-piece deluxe wood carving kit from Kirschen. Made from high-quality steel heat-treated to 61° Rockwell — a unit of measurement for blade hardness — there’s a sharpening stone included with purchase, as well as a nice wooden box for storage. And after six hours carving in basswood, in fact, the tools worked amazingly well, according to one report.
Overall the tools are strong, light, and well balanced, meaning artisans feel less fatigued after using them for extended periods of time. These are the kind of tools that will stay useful to you as your skills improve. They’re also German-made tools, which many woodworkers prefer, with sturdy handles and razor-sharp blades. Some experienced wood carvers urge beginners to forgo any other set, in fact, and head straight for Kirschen.
- Great quality
- Extremely sharp
- Manufacturing processes and tolerances taken seriously
- Pretty pricey
- One v-tool arrived damaged
- Sub-par performance, some say
5. FLEXCUT KN250 Knife Set
The best deluxe whittling kit for beginners.
Brand: FLEXCUT | Blades: Carbon Steel Blades | Handles: Hardwood | Features: Made in the USA | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰
Perhaps the most deluxe whittling kit in our ranking for beginners is the FLEXCUT KN250. This large 18-piece set has everything you need for a whittling project, including a right-handed hook knife, a mini-detail knife, and an upsweep knife, among many others that aren’t commonly included in sets like these. Best of all, each one is sharp and well balanced, and it all comes in a nice study wooden box for storage.
These are otherwise very sharp, excellent blades, according to feedback, and the case makes it easy to carry around, like for camping trips. Some do a little extra sharpening to get the blades exactly where they want them, but that’s not uncommon. Otherwise, though, these tools are easy to handle, and the rough knife, in particular, is the perfect size to work with. The two gouging tools also work well, we found out.
- Great built quality
- Perfect sized roughing knife
- Lots of control for detail work
- Handles a bit small
- Good for beginners? Debatable.
- Finish on handles could be better
6. TIMESETL Wood Carving/Whittling Kit
The best budget whittling kit for beginners.
Brand: TIMESETL | Blades: SK2 Carbon Steel Blades | Handles: Hardwood Ergonomic | Features: Basswood Blocks for Carving | Price: 💰
For the price, few whittling kits for beginners match the quality of the next pick in our ranking: the 12-piece whittling kit from TIMESETL. With basswood blocks included in the package to help you get started, the set also has a straight and rounded chisel, with parting and pinpoint tools, among many other useful items.
The blades in this kit are carbon steel and the handles are ergonomic hardwood. Overall, this set is perfect for anyone who is just getting into wood carving, although many more experienced woodworkers like the set as well. It is lacking in beveled tools, unfortunately, and the handles are a bit small, according to reports. Additionally, some true beginners might not be aware what task each tool is best suited for, but a little research takes care of that, we learned.
- Durable tools
- Nicely sized handles for older folks
- Good choice for kids, with safety precautions
- Not sharp enough, some say
- Plastic case is flimsy
For this guide on the best whittling kits for beginners, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from over 20 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about 3-5 user reviews per product (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each kit. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 6 whittling and carving kits on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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