Let's look at the tools we will use for hand carving and go over carving technique, sharpening and safety.


  • A sharp tool, is a safe tool.  As you use your tools they will dull and will require more force to make cuts.  This significantly raises the risk of accidents. If you find yourself straining to get your tool through the wood,  it's time to stop and sharpen it.
  • If you accidentally drop a tool, let it fall. Don't try and catch it. 
  • Wood dust can be irritating to your lungs and eyes, when sanding wear a mask and eye protection and do it in a well ventilated area (preferably outside).
  • Wear a thumb guard/protective glove or wrap your fingers with protective tape. 
  • It is easier to control your knife (and safer) to make many shallow cuts as opposed to a few big deep cuts.  Making shallow cuts will also prevent you from accidentally carving out too much wood from your design.    


The most widely used tool fоr hand carving, the wood carving knife is used fоr cutting, paring, and whittling down pieces of wood into any shape imaginable. 

Wood carving knives are available in a range of styles and their general purpose is determined by the shape and size of the blade.  Larger blades are good for roughing out and removing large portions of wood, smaller blades are more suitable for more intricate cutting, mark making and detailing. 


Available in many shapes and sizes, the general characteristic of gouges is the rounded "U" shaped curved blade. They are used to cut curved features into tight areas, such as the concave recesses of bowls and spoons.