Whittling wood can be a relaxing and rewarding way to while away an hour or so. But whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you need a good knife.
We’re going to take you through ten of the best whittling knives to get the best results. Ready? Let’s get whittling!
The Best Whittling Knives of 2020
1. BeaverCraft Wood Carving whittling knife
A sloyd knife is one that’s designed specifically for whittling. This one from BeaverCraft has a slender pointed tip that can be used for carving fine details. Then there’s a long, rounded blade that’s used for hollowing out the wood.
The blade is made of carbon steel, and it’s strong enough to cut through hard woods like walnut or oak. It comes ready sharpened too, so you can use it straight out of the box.
The handle is made of oak, and it’s treated with linseed oil to give it a smooth finish. The shape is comfortable to hold, so you won’t find yourself with aching palms even if you whittle for hours.
So are there any areas for improvement? Well, the steel here doesn’t hold an edge as well as some. But it sharpens easily, and performs well for a knife at a reasonable price point.
- Sharp carbon steel blade
- Comfortable oak handle
- Sharp out of the box, and sharpens easily
- The steel doesn’t hold an edge as well as premium products.
2. BeaverCraft Chip Wood Carving whittling knife
If you’re new to whittling, this chip wood carving knife from BeaverCraft could be a good choice.
It’s designed for general woodcarving, green woodworking and for making fine cuts with the thin pointed tip. As with BeaverCraft’s sloyd knife, the blade here is made of tough carbon steel. And this one too is sharpened at the factory, so you can use it straight away.
An ashwood handled treated with linseed oil gives this an attractive finish.
The blade is very sharp, so it needs to be handled with care. Invest in some carving gloves to make sure it’s the wood that’s whittled, not you.
The handle is well-shaped and comfortable to hold. But we’ve heard of one or two cases where the finish hasn’t been as smooth as it should have been. A quick sand will sort out the problem, but you shouldn’t really have to do that with a new knife.
- Sharp, slender blade is good for fine detail
- Tough carbon steel blade
- Attractive ergonomic handle
- The finish on the handle isn’t always perfect – watch out for splinters!
3. Old Timer 24OT Splinter Carvin' Traditional Pocket whittling knife (Our Top Recommended)
If the idea of many blades in one appeals, this pocket knife from Old Timer might be the one for you.
It features six different blades, all of which are made from high carbon steel.
There’s a straight gouge, a hook blade, and a detail blade. Add to that a v-scorp blade, gouge scorp blade and chisel blade, and you have all your whittling needs covered.
The blades are each about 1.5 inches long. And there’s a textured handle to help keep a firm grip while you work.
The blades here don’t lock into place. That’s not a problem with a whittling tool, where you won’t be applying the pressure that would make locking necessary. The steel isn’t the thickest, but that means it’s easy to sharpen. And the price is very competitive too.
Be prepared to do some sharpening when you first receive this one. But for a little effort, you’ll get an excellent knife without spending much money.
- Great range of blades in a single knife
- High carbon steel construction
- Comfortable textured handle
- You’ll need to do a bit of sharpening before you use this for the first time.
4. Morakniv Wood Carving whittling knife
This attractive wood carving knife from Morakniv of Sweden has some great features.
It’s 6.5 inches long, with a 2.4-inch laminated steel blade. That blade is slender and tapered, perfect for both initial shaping and carving fine details.
It arrives razor-sharp too. Give it a few passes on a strop after each use, and you’ll go a very long time before you need to sharpen it properly.
The handle is made of oiled birch wood, and it’s both attractive and comfortable.
The one negative here is the sheath. It’s not up to the quality of the knife it holds. It’s made of fairly flimsy plastic, and it’s a fair bit larger than the knife. You’ll have to wedge it down inside if you want to transport it without it slipping out. And that can make it difficult to remove again.
- The laminated steel blade is sharp, sharp, sharp!
- Fine tapered blade works well for shaping and fine detail
- Comfortable and attractive birch handle
- The plastic sheath isn’t up to the standard of the knife
5. Morakniv Wood Carving whittling knife
The second whittling knife from Morakniv to make our top ten, this one is focused on the beginner market.
It has the same sharp carbon steel blade, but with this one there’s a finger guard. That means you won’t lose your pinky if you slip while you’re working!
The other features are the same as you’ll find with Morakniv’s other models. There’s the same attractive birch handle, and it’s just as easy to hold. And the blade holds an edge just as well too – all the more reason for that finger guard!
Unfortunately, the disadvantage is the same as well. That plastic sheath rears is ugly head again! There are the same problems with its poor fit and flimsy finish as with the other Morakniv knives.
Look on the bright side: invest in this, and you’ll have a sheath-making project to go with your whittling!
All in all, this is a great little knife for beginners. But more experienced whittlers will be better off with a different model.
- Sharp carbon steel blade
- Comfortable and good-looking birch handle
- The finger guard to prevent accidents makes this a great knife for beginners
- That plastic sheath is still rubbish.
6. Empire Tools Wood Carving whittling knife
If you’re looking for a gift for the whittler in your life, this handsome-looking set is worth considering. It comes in an attractive retro style box, and includes two knives and a sharpening stone.
Both knives have handsome oak handles and high carbon steel blades.
The hook knife is designed to carve round edges and concave shapes. That makes it perfect for projects like cups, bowls or spoons. The total length is 6 inches, with 2.1 inches of that accounted for by the blade. Of that, the hook section is 1.1 inches long.
The sloyd knife is perfect for roughing out shapes. The rounded part of the blade will make long, deep cuts. The narrow tip can then be used to carve fine detail in tight spots. The blade is 2.4 inches long, while the handle is just under 4 inches.
You’ll probably find you need to do a little sharpening before using the knives for the first time. But hey, there’s a sharpening stone in the box! And once done, they hold an edge well.
- Attractively packaged set
- Good for either beginners or professionals
- Includes sharpening stone
- Will benefit from sharpening before the first use.
7. Flexcut whittling knife
The Whittlin’ Jack from Flexcut is a jack knife with two whittling blades.
The smaller of the two is a detail knife with a 1.5-inch blade. The second is a roughing knife with a two-inch blade.
In both cases, the blades are made of carbon steel, and they arrive pre-sharpened.
At just over 4 inches long, the folded knife will fit neatly into your pocket. It’s a good looker too, with a walnut handle edged in matt stainless-steel. It’s not the most comfortable to hold, however.
There’s only one major disadvantage here, and it’s the level of strength needed to open and close the blades. They are really difficult to move. Getting your fingertips into the indentations on the blades is tricky. And we’ve heard of several people breaking fingernails struggling to open them.
With the blades having a good, sharp edge (and holding it well), this means you’ll need to take care. We’d recommend investing in a pair of carving gloves, and putting them on before you try to open the knife.
- Sharp carbon steel blades
- Handy combination of detail and roughing blades
- Attractive walnut handle
- The handle looks good, but isn’t the most comfortable
- The blades are hard work to open and close.
8. BeaverCraft Wood Carving Knife Whittling Knife
Another whittling knife from BeaverCraft, this one has a number of familiar features.
There are the toughened carbon steel blades – pre-sharpened at the factory. The oak handle polished with linseed oil for a smooth finish and durability. And the ergonomic shape that means you’ll be able to whittle for hours without ending up with an aching hand.
The blade is 1.5 inches long and the cutting edge is sharp enough to deal with green softwoods. This one is a chip-carving chisel blade, with a narrowed tapered end that’s perfect for creating fine detail.
The only downside is a minor one. Although the blade is pre-sharpened, it will benefit from a little more work to get a really sharp edge. Spend some time on that, and you’ll get an excellent knife at a very keen price.
- Pre-sharpened carbon steel blade
- Handsome oak handle is comfortable to hold
- Keenly priced
- For the best results, give it an extra sharpen before the first use.
9. Flexcut Cutting whittling knife
The KN12 from Flexcut has a 1.5 inch straight edged blade made from carbon steel. It’s a good all-rounder of a whittling knife, and a particularly good choice for beginners.
It’s designed to be used with softer woods. If you need something that will handle oak or walnut, choose a different option.
The blade holds an edge well. The occasional stropping will keep it working well for a long time before it needs a full sharpening.
It’s good for shallower details, but if you’re looking for a really sharp finish there are better options out there.
We love the ash handle. It looks great, and it’s super comfortable to hold, even for long periods.
This knife is easy on your wallet too. If you’ve never whittled before, you won’t need to commit much cash to give it a go.
- Great knife for beginners
- Carbon steel blade holds an edge well
- Attractive ash handle
- Less effective on harder woods
- Not the best option if you’re looking to carve sharp detail.
10. Morakniv Wood Carving whittling knife
Whittling knife supremos Morakniv claim the final spot on our list with their model 106.
This is a longer knife than most, with a full length just shy of 7.5 inches. The blade accounts for 3.2 inches of that, and it’s thin enough to carve fine detail with ease. Its width is just 0.08 inches too, so you won’t have any difficulty maneuvering it in tight spots.
The blade is made of laminated steel, and in common with other Morakniv knives, it’s ultra sharp.
The attractive ash handle is comfortable to hold too.
Morakniv knives are the favored choice of thousands of whittlers, and it’s hard to find negatives in their design.
If we’re being really picky though, it would be nice to have a variation in the shape of the handle. As it’s completely cylindrical, it doesn’t give you any clues as to which way the blade is facing. If you’ve been whittling for hours, the mirror-finished steel can fool your eyes.
- All-round excellent quality
- Ultra sharp carbon steel blade
- Tapered shape is great for fine detail
- The completely cylindrical handle doesn’t offer any clues to the direction the blade is facing.
Ready to choose?
That brings us to the end of our run-down of the best whittling knives out there. We hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Our favorite is the 240T pocket knife from Old Timer. It has a great selection of blades, and you won’t find better quality for the price.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro, or just setting out on your whittling adventure, the right knife is key. Enjoy making your choice, and we wish you many hours of relaxing whittling!
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