EBay is another option but you will pay 4 times as much or even more. This is a pelican knife I received to review that is also great for removing wood quickly and efficiently. I’m still learning the best ways to use it because of the unique shape. Here are reviews of Dana’s favorite carving tools.
My talent is mediocre so I tend toward “affordable” tools that have respectable quality and utility. I like BrianT’s idea of making one’s own knife, I don’t have the tooling or suitable safe work space to try it or I likely would. Flexcut offers a wide variety of different tools to fit just about any wood carving need at a great price.
These are typically longer bladed knives with thicker blades and a full tang so you can put some power behind your cuts. These are exceptionally handy for roughing out wood to carve. Lee Ferguson makes some excellent knives and has a few beautifully crafted wood carving knives available for purchase. If you are looking for what many consider to be the pinnacle of premium whittling and wood carving knives, Helvie is the way to go. Helvie knives make a fine knife and yes the noticeable characteristic is the flexibility. I recently took advantage of the current demand for Helvie and one on eBay for just shy of $200.
I think they are all comparable in blade quality. And as Soggy pointed out some do fine work with a box cutter. If there are any carving groups or clubs with in a comfortable drive it may be worth your time to visit one.
That is how I ended up with the Floyd Rhadigan. No I don’t know where to get a Helvie knife without paying a premium on, for instance, ebay. It seems that the law of supply and demand is working in Helvie’s favor these days. They do have a few flexier models – I have a Floyd Rhadigan Helvie that I like and which has some flex. You might call Helvie and ask if they have anything at all in stock. They might and just haven’t updated their website.
I’m not going to be your source for a knife recommendation my favorite knives are B.K.Thurman and Diobsud Forge. Both have been out of production for a decade or more. I would suggest Drake as a consideration while not sure of their blade flex and discourage OCCT. I have experienced edge collapse on OCCT gouges when carving wood with hard growth rings. For some reason Helvie seems to be thought of as the ” Holy Grail” by many.
Even then, it is easy to sharpen back to a nice razor edge in no time at all. These tools are more on the simple side with a basic wood handle, slightly thicker blade, and no frills design. Even then, they come razor sharp right out of the box and allow you to get started carving right then and there. For the price, Drake knives are very hard to beat.
They are smooth, comfortable to hold, and easily cut through woods like basswood. This Red Rider pocket knife is favored by Arlene at carverswoodshop (she’s on YouTube). She reworks the blades for you when you order one.
That combined with their excellent steel quality and handle finish, makes it a hard tool to pass up. If you are looking for a versatile, quality made, whittling pocket knife look no further than the Flexcut Whittlin’ Jack. With this excellent folding whittling knife, you get a roughing knife and a detail knife in a comfortable wood driveway gate plans and thin handle that is easy to carry with you. BeaverCraft wood carving tools are a great stepping stone into whittling and wood carving. Some people may find that the flatter handles on their regular wood carving knaves to be a little uncomfortable or awkward if swapping back and forth between different knife sets.
I have two of his blades plus his strop and compound. I actually messed up one of my blades and he offered to fix it for the price of return shipping. I bought blades, revised the bevels and made up a couple dozen handles.