Wood carving and whittling are two great pastimes for the backyard, on a camping trip, or to even make bowls, spoons, and children’s toys — saving money on birthday and Christmas presents or just on typical household items you can make just as easily for yourself. To help you get started with either one of these fun and rewarding hobbies, we present the six best wood carving and whittling knives, an essential tool for any wood carving artisan to have.
Choose carefully, and you’ll have many happy hours ahead of you, and always, of course, be sure to follow important wood carving safety guidelines when practicing the craft.
|Best Overall: BeaverCraft Sloyd Knife.
The BeaverCraft Sloyd knife arrives razor sharp and in beautiful condition.
|Runner-Up: Flexcut Carvin’ Jack.
Also recommended, the Flexcut Carvin’ Jack is a great carving tool that’s extremely sharp, right out of the package.
|Beginner Wood Carver Pick: Flexcut Beginner Palm & Knife Set.
Why buy one beginner carving knife when Flexcut offers everything you need in one convenient package?
|Beginner Whittler Pick: Opinel No. 8 Beechwood Handle Knife.
For beginners just learning to whittle, the Opinel No. 8 blade locks firmly in place, both open and shut.
|Pocket Knife Pick: Old Timer Splinter Carvin’ Folding Knife.
Beginning wood carvers call this multi-blade folding pocket knife great value for the money.
|Budget Pick: Morakniv Wood Carving 120 Knife.
The best wood carving knife for those on a budget is the Morakniv 120, arriving so sharp it cuts paper without tearing.
A Closer Look: Best Wood Carving Knives
Want to learn more about wood carving knife options? Here’s some details including what users thought.
1. BeaverCraft Sloyd Knife
The best wood carving knife overall.
Brand: BeaverCraft Sloyd Knife | Blade: Carbon Steel | Handle: Oak | Features: Leather Sheath | Price: 💰💰
The best wood carving knife in our ranking is the BeaverCraft Sloyd. The knife arrives incredibly sharp, we learned, with a carbon steel blade, ergonomic handle, and a woodworking edge. The leather sheath is also high quality, and it fits well in the hand, with handles available for both right and left-handed artisans.
The blade on the knife is a little long for beginners, according to reports, but because it’s a sloyd knife — with a ridged blade and extra-sharp edge — this BeaverCraft product is perfect for wooden spoon carving. It even performed well carving a wooden bowl. Overall, the knife is comfortable and easy to use, cutting very well at a price that can’t be beat.
- Well-proportioned handle
- Perfect tool for walking sticks
- Took off bark quickly and smoothly
- Not great on pine wood
2. Flexcut Carvin’ Jack
Runner-up for best wood carving knives.
Brand: FLEXCUT | Blades: 6 Tools | Handle: Steel & Wood | Features: Case and Sharpener | Price: 💰💰💰💰
With six carving edge tools built right in, another great wood carving knife is the Carvin’ Jack from Flexcut. Sold with a sharpening strop and polishing compound, the knife arrives super sharp, we learned, with a useful belt pouch. Best of all, it’s able to carve extremely hard wood with few issues. It’s an especially good choice when carving knife handles or walking sticks.
Otherwise, the handle is a bit thicker than some other wood carving knives, we learned, but if you’ve ever carved with a Swiss Army Knife, you likely won’t notice a difference, users say. Overall, though, this knife is a good choice for roughing out a job, carving a walking stick, or for just chilling by the campfire.
- Sheath holds it tight
- Nice care guide included
- Durable, sharp, and well shaped
- Opening blades difficult at first
- No protective coating on wood
3. Flexcut Beginner Palm & Knife Set
The best wood carving knife for beginners.
Brand: FLEXCUT | Blade: Carbon Steel | Handle: Wooden | Features: 4 Tools | Price: 💰💰💰
The next product in our ranking is sold in a set with two palm tools, a cutting knife, and a detail knife. For this reason, we call the Flexcut beginner palm and knife the best for beginning wood carvers. The blades are carbon steel and razor sharp, right out of the box, we learned, and the handles also fit well in the hand.
On top of all that, the gouging tool is also effective, while the leverage and vantage points on these tools make them all well worth the cost. Otherwise, these knives are perfectly sized, although the detail blade is a bit longer than some carvers prefer. But the steel on the knife is very well hardened, we learned, making clean cuts on very hard wood. One carver even said the knife is the perfect choice for detailed work like faces, hands, and feet.
- Niced polished handles
- Work well for noses, eyes, and fingers
- More comfortable and sharp than a pocket knife
- Some chipping reported
- Not great on walnut or maple
- Some blades installed crooked
4. Opinel No. 8 Beechwood Handle Knife
The best whittling knife for beginners.
Brand: Opinel | Blade: Stainless Steel | Handle: Beechwood | Features: Locking Blade | Price: 💰
The primary difference between a whittling knife and a wood carving knife is that whittling knives are all you need to get the job done, no extra tools necessary. With this in mind, we found the best whittling knife for beginners to be the No. 8 beechwood handle knife from Opinel. What makes it great for beginners in particular is the Virobloc ring locking the blades securely in place for safety
Otherwise, the blade is made from extra-hard French beechwood, and razor sharp right out of the box. Some use the knife for cooking, while others recommend this blade for whittling, and other kinds of slicing and cutting. Some who whittle wish the blade was a little bit shorter, but otherwise, most say it’s sharp, with a nice point, and it feels very comfortable in your hand.
- Whittles cedar nicely
- Does a fine job whittling
- Simple design and lightweight
- Handle swells in moisture
- Just “OK” according to some
- Blade and handle don’t line up, some say
5. Old Timer Splinter Carvin’ Folding Knife
The best pocket knife for wood carving
Brand: Old Timer | Blades: 6 Carbon Steel Tools | Handle: Sawcut | Features: Lightweight | Price: 💰💰
If you like to bring along a wood carving or whittling knife to pass the time around the campfire, the best pocket knife for wood carving in our ranking is without a doubt the Splinter Carvin’ traditional folding whittling knife from Old Timer. This incredibly well-reviewed multi-tool has everything you need for your next project, like a straight gouge, hook blade, and even a chisel.
Someone who has whittled most of their life called the knife worth the money, adding all the blades are very sharp, while each one opens and closes smoothly. The handle scales are also very firmly attached. This knife performed well carving a spoon from a tree branch, and even small toys for children. The edge retention is also quite good, we learned, with minimal stropping required.
- Good-quality steel
- Probably last a lifetime
- Excellent tool for a serious whittler
- Too bulky, some say
- Some prefer Flexcut products
- Uncomfortable for some to use
6. Morakniv Wood Carving 120 Knife
The best budget wood carving knife.
Brand: Morakniv | Blades: Alloy Steel | Handle: Birchwood | Features: Lifetime Warranty | Price: 💰💰
For a high-end wood carving knife at a budget price, the last blade we reviewed is the Wood Carving 120 knife from Morakniv. This affordably-priced whittling and wood carving implement is as good as much more expensive products, with a laminated alloy steel blade and birch wood handle. It’s comfortable to use, we learned, with a tip that’s great for detail work.
Otherwise, experienced carvers like the edge retention, even with hardwood, and the thick rounded back keeps the knife comfortable to use, and easy on the thumb. According to one report, the knife arrived sharp and was more than adequate for a spoon-carving project in oak. Otherwise, this knife is well constructed, especially for the price, and definitely when compared to other high-end wood carving knives.
- Hold an edge
- Natural wood grain handle
- Blade has a flat, “Scandi-grind”
- Some arrive with burrs
- Included sheath pretty flimsy
- You’ll have to sharpen it occasionally
We procure only the best products from around the web at Shelf. To create this list of the best wood carving and whittling knives, we scrutinized over 20 manufacturers and brands. Then we compared specifications and features, weighed with cost- and took a look at what reviewers thought of each knife. This finely tuned process helped us identified that top 6 best wood carving knives. We don’t take this task lightly! If you think that we missed a knife or have a brand you want us to know about, feel free to write a comment or send us a message!