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10 Best Whittling Knives of 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks for Wood Carving

person using Opinel Stainless Steel Folding Knife

If you are a wood whittler or woodcarver, you know how important a good knife is to your craft. When you have a dependable tool at your side, the woodworking possibilities, projects, and design ideas are endless. There is no limit to the things you can create.

So, how do you find the right knife? It’s not an easy question when whittling knives are everywhere. Not to mention, using the wrong one can cause headaches, and a few bloody fingers!

This is where we come in! In the article below, we reviewed 10 of the best whittling knives available. We will share all the details you need like blade length, handle material and design, weight, steel type, precision tips, plus much more. Regardless of your whittling level, we are confident you will find a good candidate for your skills below!

Need some extra help? Take a look at our shopping tips in the buyer’s guide after the reviews. Before that, though, take a look at which knife is our favorite and which one we think you should avoid.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2020

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Morakniv M-106-1630 Wood Carving Morakniv M-106-1630 Wood Carving
  • Laminated steel blade
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Precision Cuts
  • Best Value
    Second place
    BeaverCraft C4 Sloyd Knife BeaverCraft C4 Sloyd Knife
  • High carbon steel blade
  • Fine precision point
  • Slow to dull
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Condor Tool & Knife Otzi Knife Condor Tool & Knife Otzi Knife
  • Hand Forged steel blade
  • Little drift
  • Multi-use
  • FLEXCUT JKN88 Whittlin' Jack FLEXCUT JKN88 Whittlin' Jack
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Precision tip
  • Not prone to drift
  • Old Timer 24OT Splinter Carvin Old Timer 24OT Splinter Carvin
  • Multi-use tool
  • Durable high carbon steel blade
  • Heat-treated back springs
  • List of the 10 Best Whittling Knives

    1. Morakniv Wood Carving – Best Overall

    Morakniv M-106-1630 Wood Carving

    Our number one spot goes to the Morakniv M-106-1630 Wood Carving knife. This is a 3.2-inch tapered blade made of laminated steel. It is a durable, stiff blade that comes with an oiled birchwood handle. You will find it’s great for projects using hard or soft wood, plus any wood carving, greenwood, or whittling ideas you might have.

    The Morakniv is a total of 7.4 inches long, and it weighs a comfortable 2 ounces. The ergonomic handle can be used for extended periods, as well. What’s more, the fine pointed tip can make precision cuts, plus there is little to no drift. Nor will you find it makes many miscuts.

    This whittling knife is made in Sweden and is great for beginners all the way to advanced skills. You will find that this knife doesn’t dull quickly, maintains its razor-sharp edge, and is rust-resistant. Overall, this is our favorite option for a whittling knife.

    Pros
    • Laminated steel blade
    • Ergonomic handle
    • Precision Cuts
    • Multiple uses
    • Won’t drift
    • Slow to dull and rust
    Cons
    • Few to be seen

    2. BeaverCraft C4 Sloyd Knife – Best Value

    BeaverCraft C4 Sloyd Knife

    If you are looking for a more affordable option, the BeaverCraft C4 Sloyd Knife is a good alternative. This whittling knife is good for the novice or the professional. The blade is made of durable, high carbon steel, and it is 3.14 inches long. This is a firm blade that will be unlikely to drift and create mistakes in your design.

    The BeaverCraft has a total length of 8 inches and weighs 0.32 ounces. It maintains its razor-sharp edge and does not require frequent sharpening. What’s more, you can work with both hard and softwood whether you are wood carving, whittling, or using greenwood.

    This model has a hardwood oak handle that is treated with natural linseed oil. The handle is not only comfortable to hold, but it will also not stain your skin. Additionally, the fine tip on this knife is great for precision carving.

    The only drawback to this option is that it is more prone to rust if not taken care of properly. Other than that, this is the best whittling knife for the money.

    Pros
    • High carbon steel blade
    • Fine precision point
    • Slow to dull
    • Multi-use
    • Ergonomic handle
    Cons
    • Prone to rust more quickly

    3. Condor Tool & Knife Otzi Knife – Premium Choice

    Condor Tool & Knife Otzi Knife

    If whittling is your favorite hobby and you don’t mind spending a little more on a knife, our next premium option may be for you. The Condor Tool & Knife Otzi Knife is a 5.5-inch total length tool and has a 2.25-inch hand-forged steel blade. The handle is made of American hickory with recessed wire wrapping. Not only is the handle comfortable to hold, but it will not fatigue your hand after prolonged use.

    The Condor Tool comes with a brown leather sheath, plus it is a durable option that can be used on soft or hardwood. It is not prone to drift, so mistakes are less likely. This is also a good option if you are a beginner. It has an attractive “flint knife look”, plus it can be used in carving, whittling, and many other wood projects.

    One thing to keep in mind with this whittling knife is that it weighs 7.2 ounces making it heavier than our top two options. Beyond that, this knife is rust-resistant and maintains its razor-sharp edge for long periods. Additionally, it is 0.104 inches thick. Finally, you should note that the tip on this option is not as fine and will not create the precise cuts of our first two options.

    Pros
    • Hand Forged steel blade
    • Little drift
    • Multi-use
    • Little drift or burrs
    • Ergonomic handle
    Cons
    • Not as precise
    • Slightly heavier

    4. FLEXCUT JKN88 Whittlin’ Jack

    FLEXCUT JKN88 Whittlin' Jack

    The FLEXCUT JKN88 Whittlin’ Jack is a dual knife that comes equipped with one 1.5-inch detail knife and a 2-inch roughing knife. It weighs 3 ounces and has an aluminum handle with walnut inlay. This is a great option if you like to drop your tool in your pocket while camping or hiking. It has a total length of 4 inches when folded shut.

    One thing you want to keep in mind is that this knife is difficult to open. There are also no blade locks, so beginners should take care. Other than that, the FLEXCUT blade is made in the USA with hard carbon steel. Both blades are flexible with a sheepsfoot shape. You will experience very little drift and few miscuts, as well.

    This is a great tool for moderate to advanced woodworkers as you can create many designs with sharp detail with this knife. That being said, this option will become dull quicker than some of our other picks so far. Other than that, this is a great item for working with hard or soft wood, as well as, many types of whittling projects.

    Pros
    • Hard carbon steel blades
    • Ergonomic handle
    • Precision tip
    • Not prone to drift
    • Multi-use
    Cons
    • Blades can be hard to open
    • Dulls more quickly
    • Not recommended to beginners

    5. Old Timer 24OT Splinter Carvin

    Old Timer 24OT Splinter Carvin

    Our next option is the Old Timer 24OT Splinter Carvin. This is a 6-inch total length traditional fold knife that weighs 3.9 ounces. Not only do you get a 1.5-inch detail knife made of durable high carbon steel, but this model also features nail poles, straight gouge, hook blade, v-scorp, gouge scorp, and a chisel. This multi-tool has a saw cut handle, and it’s made without a lock.

    The Old Timer, although great for woodworking, camping, hunting, hiking, etc, is not easy to hold for extended periods. That being said, the heat-treated back springs ensure that the blade does not slip, plus it is slow to rust. This knife is a great option for woodworking, carving, and whittling beginners and moderate hobbists.

    Something to know about this woodworking blade is that it needs to be sharpened more often than other whittling knives. Also, you will find it occasionally drifts, and you may end up with a few mistakes along the way when working with this tool. On the other hand, the slim tip is great for detailed cuts, plus it can be used on hard or soft wood. Finally, note that there is no left-handed model available at this time.

    Pros
    • Multi-use tool
    • Durable high carbon steel blade
    • Heat-treated back springs
    • Slim precision tip
    Cons
    • Dulls more quickly
    • Can have some drift
    • Not as comfortable to hold

    6. Flexcut KN12 Cutting Knife

    Flexcut KN12 Cutting Knife

    If you are looking for a flexible whittling knife for your carving projects, the Flexcut KN12 Cutting Knife is just that. This option features an ash wood handle, and a 1.25-inch blade made of high carbon steel. This tool weighs 2.4 ounces, and it’s made in the USA. This is a good option for beginners and moderate woodworkers alike.

    The Flexcut KN12 is durable and will not dull quickly. Though you will find there is very little drift, you will notice the knife can slip causing misplaced cuts. That being said, this is a good option for all kinds of woodworking projects including carving and whittling with soft or hard wood. Please note, however, this is not the best option for precision or detailed work.

    This whittling knife is more prone to rust so extra care is recommended. Also, keep in mind, the wood handle is typically not comfortable for extended periods of work time. Finally, you will find the rounded straight edge to be durable and trustworthy.

    Pros
    • High carbon steel blade
    • Maintains a sharp edge
    • Does not drift
    • Durable rounded straight edge
    Cons
    • The handle is not comfortable over long periods
    • Creates miscuts
    • Prone to rust
    • Not recommended for precision cuts

    7. Opinel Stainless Steel Folding Knife

    Opinel Stainless Steel Folding Knife

    If you prefer a whittling knife that can be folded away, the Opinel Stainless Steel Folding Knife is a good possibility. This is a 1.2-ounce woodworking tool that has a beechwood handle and measures 6.5 inches when open. It also features a safety ring and a fixed and sliding secure lock. Be advised, however; it can fold together quickly; beginners beware.

    This stainless steel knife is 2.87 inches long with a sheepsfoot blade design and a precision tip. Be advised, however, you will notice some drifting while you work. What’s more, this knife will need to be sharpened often. On a brighter note, you can use this woodworking tool with hard or soft wood. The Opinel folding knife is made in France, and it’s great for the beginner or moderate whittling and carving enthusiast.

    You will want to take note that this blade is prone to rusting if it’s not taken care of properly. Furthermore, the hard steel has very little lateral strength and will snap if it’s under too much pressure. To end on a positive note, however, the ergonomically designed handle is easy to grip and work with for extended periods.

    Pros
    • Stainless steel blade
    • Precision tip
    • Safety ring and secure lock
    • Ergonomic handle
    Cons
    • Some drifting
    • Dulls quickly
    • Prone to rust
    • No lateral strength
    • Can snap closed quickly

    8. Buck Knives 0379 Solo Folding Pocket Knife

    Buck Knives 0379 Solo Folding Pocket Knife

    The Buck Knives 0379 Solo Folding Pocket Knife is a clip point blade designed for fine work. The stainless steel blade is 0.375 inches thick and 2.25 inches long. It also measures 3 inches when folded shut and weighs 9 ounces.

    This folding pocket knife has a wood grain handle that is very thin and can be uncomfortable to hold if you have any type of arthritis or hand pain. You will find that this option has a good amount of drift, and it creates a fair number of miscuts. What’s more, the Buck Knives pocket knife is prone to rust.

    On the other hand, this option comes with a coping blade for curved cuts, and a clip point blade for final work. You should note, however, that the steel of this tool is not durable and is easily broken. What’s more, it’s recommended for use by beginners and moderate whittler’s while using soft wood. This option does not lock, either. Although, it can be hard to open. Finally, this woodworking knife has razor-sharp edges that do not dull often.

    Pros
    • Dual blades
    • Does not dull often
    • Good for precision cutting
    Cons
    • Hard to open
    • Prone to rusting
    • Steel is not durable
    • Can drift

    9. BPS Knives BS1S Bushcraft Knife

    BPS Knives BS1S Bushcraft Knife

    In the number nine spot, we have the BPS Knives BS1S Bushcraft Knife. This is a fixed blade made of carbon stainless steel that also comes with a leather sheath. It is made with an ash wood handle that is treated with linseed oil. Keep in mind, the oil is very thin or lightly used as the handle tends to be mostly raw wood. It is typically not durable, as well.

    The BPS whittling knife has a razor-sharp edge but needs to be sharpened often. The blade alone is 3.7 inches while the total length is 7.1 inches. This tool weighs 3.21 ounces and is recommended for moderate to advanced woodworkers. Unfortunately, the blade (specifically the tip) tends to break. It is best used for whittling with soft wood versus any hard wood carving. Greenwood is also not recommended.

    You will find some drifting with this option which can cause your hand to slip. What’s more, the handles that were treated with a more concentrated dose of linseed oil tend to stain your skin. Be that as it may, the handle is ergonomic and comfortable to hold for extending whittling sessions.

    Pros
    • Ergonomic handle
    • Carbon stainless steel blade
    Cons
    • Needs to be sharpened off
    • The handle is not durable
    • Tip breaks easily
    • Not recommended for hard or greenwood
    • Drifts causing miscuts

    10. Boker Ts Medium Stockman Pocket Knife

    Boker 110728 Ts Medium Stockman Pocket Knife

    Our final option is the Boker 110728 Ts Medium Stockman Pocket Knife. This tool is made with nickel silver bolsters along with high-carbon stainless steel dual blades. It also has brass linings with a jigged black bone handle. Be advised, the handle tends to slip, and the hardware is prone to rust.

    When closed, the Boker knife is 3.5 inches long and weighs 3.53 ounces. When open, the main blade is 2.75 inches in length while the two smaller cutting options are 1.8 inches respectively. Unfortunately, neither blade is especially sharp, and they take a considerable amount of time to sharpen. This woodworking tool is also not recommended for detailed cuts.

    Unfortunately, this whittling knife’s construction is not durable. The blades break easily, and you will find miscuts and mistakes are frequent due to drifting. This option is assembled in Germany, although, the parts are sourced from other parts of the world. It is also recommended that this knife only be used on soft wood, plus it doesn’t lock so beginners should be cautious. Overall, this is our least favorite option for a whittling knife.

    Pros
    • Dual blades
    Cons
    • Blades are not durable
    • Handle slips
    • Prone to rusting
    • Blades are dull
    • Drifts create miscuts
    • Not for detailed work

    Buyer’s Guide

    Whittling and carving is a hobby that many people enjoy. Those that are old hands at the skill will tell you that having a good whittling knife at your side is one of the most important parts of any woodworking project. With so many options available, though, it is difficult to pick out the right tool for you. Not only that but if you are new to this pastime, understanding the important aspects of a good whittling knife can be difficult to discern.

    Below, take a look at some of our shopping tips that will further help you find the right whittling blade.

    Shopping Tips

    The type of whittling knife you need can differ greatly depending on the carving project you’re working on. Below, we have listed the most common aspects of a whitling tool you want to keep an eye out for when you’re out shopping.

    • Blades: It goes without saying that the blade on your whittling knife is one of the most important aspects of your tool. For the most part, the blade will come in some form of steel, yet there are several forms like stainless or carbon (we will talk more about this later). You will also want to decide whether or not you want a firm or flexible blade. Which one you choose will be dependent on your project and preference.
    • Handles: The majority of whittling knife handles are made of wood. Typically, they will be hardwood such as ash or oak. While a lot of the decision has to do with your personal preference on appearance, you also want to make sure you choose a handle that is comfortable for you to hold for extended periods. This can mean holding different options to see how they feel.
    • Single, Dual, or Multi: You may have noticed we listed both single and multi-tool options in this article. Again, this will depend on your personal preference. If you are someone that spends a lot of time outdoors hiking, camping, etc., a multi-tool may be best for you. On the other hand, if you prefer to sit by the fire while working on a single piece of wood, a single blade is made to be better for your needs.
    • Blade Tips: When it comes to a whittling knife, every aspect of the tool is important and can make a difference in your final project. This includes the tip of the blade. The tip allows you to be very precise with your cuts and create small details. This is important for items like spoons, cups, and making small toys.
    • Durability: Durability is another factor you want to consider. While you want your blade to be strong and have lateral strength, you also want to ensure that it is resistant to rust. At the very least, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prevent any corrosion by purchasing the correct cleaning supplies or materials.
    • Blade Sharpness: Whittling knives are typically razor-sharp and should be handled with care; especially by beginners. That being said, like any metal object, it will eventually dull over time. Many woodworkers look for whittling knives that maintain their razor edge for longer, plus you can look for options that come equipped with sharpening paraphernalia.

    Important Tips for Whittling Knives

    Although the items above should be important when you choose your whittling knife, there are a few other things that you want to think about before you make the final decision. Take a look at these quick tips below:

    Comfort

    As mentioned, there are several different types of whittling knives you can choose from. Again, a lot will have to do with your personal preference, your projects, and your comfort. For example; although multi tools can be convenient if you are likely to sit in one spot to whittle away on a piece of wood, a single knife is typically more comfortable to hold.

    Accessibility

    Another important aspect of your whittling knife is its accessibility. One thing carvers love about the hobby is the ability to work on their project anywhere at any time. This should be a factor in your decision making when choosing a knife. It should be a portable blade you can slip into your pocket or attach it to your belt.

    Old Timer 24OT Splinter Carvin outdoor

    Blade Type

    Like we talked about above, steel is the best material for your blade. For the most part, there are two types of steel blades you can choose from; either stainless steel or high carbon steel. It is important to note that stainless steel holds its sharp edge longer, but it also takes longer to re-sharpen. High carbon steel, though more expensive, are easier to sharpen and typically last longer.

    Besides that, you also want to think about the blade shape and size. As far as blade size, that is generally decided on your personal preference, comfort, and type of project. When it comes to shape, though, you want to look for a sheepsfoot blade. With this type of knife, the tip is pointed outwards instead of downwards. This makes it easier to do precision cuts and create small details.

    Safety

    Safety is something that you should always think about regardless of whether you are a beginner or have advanced skills. Be advised, many whittling knives do not lock. The reason for this is that the knife will be held open by the wood that you are carving. It is important to note, however, that the blade can shut on your fingers if you are not careful. It is a personal choice whether or not to choose a tool with a locking blade. Many woodworkers find a non-locking blade easier to work with, though.

    More guides from our blog:

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    Conclusion

    We hope you enjoyed our reviews above and the shopping tips on the best whittling knives available. With the many choices in front of you, it can be difficult to know which one is going to be right for you. If we have helped you answer a couple of questions, or even pointed you in the right direction, we consider it a job well done.

    In our opinion, Th Morakniv M-106-1630 Wood Carving Knife is the best option for the money. Not only does this whittling tool retain its sharpness, but it is typically comfortable to hold, resists rust, and allows you to create many beautiful wood projects. If you need something more affordable, however, we recommend the BeaverCraft C4 Sloyd Knife. This is also a good whittling tool that will allow you to make precise cuts and work with many different types of wood.

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