Whittling is a pastime that has been cherished for hundreds of years. It’s also a great way to give unique, personalized gifts to your friends and loved ones, and you even have the potential to make a little bit of money by selling your creations to the world.
But for a hobby that requires finesse, good equipment is truly essential. You can’t use just any old knife and still expect to produce fine art. Even the most skilled hand will benefit—or suffer—from the quality of the equipment.
As a whittler, you should give yourself every advantage that you can. But how do you know which whittling knife is right for your needs? After all, there are lots of different options out there. And yeah, most knives pretty much look the same.
If you aren’t sure which option is right for you, we are happy to give you a hand. Read on for reviews of some of the best whittling knives of 2019.
|Morakniv Wood Carving 106 Knife|
|Flexcut JKN88 Whittlin' Jack||5 oz||4.75/5|
|Flexcut Cutting Knife KN12|
(Best for the Money)
|BeaverCraft Wood Carving Sloyd Knife C4||2 oz||4.3/5|
|BEWISHOME Wood Carving Tools Set||10 oz||4.0/5|
For our top pick, we have the Morakniv Wood Carving 106 knife. This unit features an affordable price while providing the level of quality true craftsmen require from their equipment.
Comfort and quality are the key features here. The oiled wooden handle is designed to comfortably fit the hand, allowing the user to manipulate the blade with ease.
The blade is another feature we really appreciate. Constructed of laminated steel, it’s made to resist the factors that can ruin the quality of a whittling knife: rust, dullness, nicks, and dings. The thin, laminated steel will help you bring your vision to life.
Of course, this knife isn’t perfect. The blade itself is a little bit bigger than we’re used to seeing in a carving knife. End of the world? Hardly, but you will want to keep that in mind. If you’re looking for something that allows as much finesse as possible, you may want to keep looking.
The Flexcut JKN88 Whittlin’ Jack comes in second on our list. This knife is a touch pricier than the Morakniv, but the fact that it’s a combination makes up for that.
You get two knives with this unit—a detail knife and a roughing knife. The two for one offering is going to be great for buyers who want to get as much bang for their buck as possible.
You also get really high-quality steel here. The blades are carbon, which most people prefer in a knife for cooking, hunting, and even whittling. Carbon blades stay extremely sharp and are also very resilient to wear and tear.
Last but not least, the blades fold up within the knife—similar in style to a pocket knife.
This handy little feature may not be enough to sway your decision one way or another, but there certainly are benefits. The blade’s folding ability will make it safer when not in use, while also ensuring that it’s easy to transport.
Unfortunately, the biggest cons also apply to the folding mechanism. We found that it’s both very difficult to open the blades and equally difficult to lock them back into place.
These things aside, it’s a great product that many buyers will appreciate.
In our “best for the money” slot, we have the Flexcut Cutting Knife KN12. This is going to be the knife for people who want high-quality without necessarily spending a ton of money to get it.
This product actually features a higher sticker price than some of the other options featured on this list. Why do we consider it such a good deal then? Three knives for the price of one.
This set that comes with a cutting knife, detail knife, and roughing knife. If you’re completely new to whittling and buying supplies from scratch, this is a great way to get everything you might need to start out.
You also get the same carbon steel that we so appreciated in the last option. The carbon blades will remain tough and sharp for a long time to come.
So, why didn’t this set find itself further up on our list? One of the main problems is the grip. The handles are a little bit awkward to use, which can cause problems for the workability of the knife.
We’ve also had a few reports from people suggesting that their blades were damaged immediately after first use. However, since that doesn’t reflect the experience we had with the product, our assumption is that this is a select defect—not an issue that most people will experience.
Otherwise, this is an excellent value set for beginners who want to start out the right way.
Second to last, we have the affordable BeaverCraft. This knife is going to be good for people who don’t want to put a lot of money down on their purchase. Trying to save money, though, does have its own costs.
The carbon steel blade you get here is sharp and shaped to a fine point that will really empower users to put fine details on their work.
We also like the handle. It’s small enough to be workable, and the shape lends itself very well to the human hand.
But for all that we like about the knife, there are some issues as well. One thing that we noticed is that it’s very susceptible to rust and nicks.
It will also dull quicker than many whittlers might be used to. For the money this isn’t exactly a surprise, but it’s not great to see.
Basically, if you do go with this knife, you shouldn’t count on having it forever.
Last, we have the Bewishome Wood Carving Tools Set. On the surface, this option may indeed look like a really good opportunity for people who are hoping to get a lot of value for their purchase.
This set is both affordable and fairly robust. For your money, you get three different tools, a cloth carrying case, and polishing equipment.
One thing we noticed, however, is that the handles are blocky and awkward to use. We also aren’t thrilled with the quality of the blades. The materials here are on the cheaper side, which means that the steel loses sharpness quickly.
Though this set is very usable, it does have its limitations. Beginners may find it worthwhile, but experienced whittlers will probably want to stay clear of it.
Our ultimate opinion is that, while the deal isn’t terrible, there are similarly priced options out there that are of better quality.
Now that we have identified five of the top options in the market, you may want to start narrowing things down. For your convenience, we’ve assembled a handy guide that should help you come to a purchasing decision that you’re extremely pleased with.
Of course, there are plenty of different types of steel to choose from. Laminate. Stainless. Carbon. Each option has its own unique set of benefits as well as drawbacks.
Do you want something that will be rugged and sharp, regardless of how much it costs? If that is your situation, you may find that carbon blades are for you. Carbon is known for being hyper-durable and able to stand the test of time. However, the blade is also a tad more sensitive to contaminates like oil, so more maintenance may be required.
Laminate steel, on the other hand, is usually thin, workable, and sharp. But it can also be a little bit more delicate. If you don’t mind eventually needing to replace the blade, a laminate knife could be a good option for detailed work.
Stainless steel is kind of the man in the middle. It’s workable, sharp, durable, and usually fairly affordable.
Everyone has their own unique set of needs and, of course, your budget will always factor into the equation. The good news is that there are high-quality options out there for every type of steel.
There are plenty of different types of whittling knives out there, and each is intended for a specific type of job. Which are you looking for?
If you’re established in your whittling, you may only need to buy your blades one at a time–to replace old equipment, or to supplement your gear to accommodate the requirements of a specific job.
However, if you’re just starting out, you’ll probably find that buying blades piecemeal costs more. Sets are going to be the most affordable way to get everything that you need immediately.
A complete set might include up to ten blades in total. However, most people will be able to make do with less than that. Of course, the more blades that you have, the more creative freedom you might feel as you go about your work.
Last but not least, we have the matter of price. As you’re probably aware by now, whittling knives are available at a fairly wide range of prices. While your budget will ultimately dictate how much you’re willing to spend, there are some other things to keep in mind.
For instance, sometimes spending more may actually save money in the long run. Sounds paradoxical, right? But it’s true.
Cheap sets aren’t going to last for very long. The cost of regularly replacing them will likely amount to more than the cost of simply buying good knives from the get-go.
Now that you’ve read our reviews of the best whittling knives, it’s time to start thinking about which option you’re going to buy.
If you’re prioritizing quality over every other consideration, you might want to go with the Morakniv wood carving knife.
However, if you’re more set on getting something that combines value and quality, there’s no beating our “best for the money” pick, the Flexcut cutting knife.
Granted, these are only suggestions. After reading this guide, you should now be informed enough to make your own buying decision.
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