Every wood carving master knows how essential it is to choose the best wood carving chisels to add to your toolkit. If you are a beginner in wood carving, you are yet to discover the very practical use of wood carving chisels and gouges and limitless smooth surfaces you can achieve with them. We are talking about tools with a specific shaped cutting edge of the blade, great for carving and cutting through hard material such as timber. Choosing the toolkit of the best wood carving gouges can make your whole experience with wood carving projects a lot easier, so I will try to explain a little more about what these tools can do for you.
- WAYCOM 24PCS
- An affordable set of many different size chisels and gouges, good for beginners. Not the greatest for large projects, and it is delivered in a cardboard box.
- Mikisyo Power Grip 5 pcs
- Strong Japanese blade, durable if used on softwood. The tips can chip easily if you try and use it on an oakwood or any other hardwood.
- SCHAAF Tools 12 pcs
- A great quality toolset, with sharp blades and a very good edge. The chisels are very durable and easy to use, and the blades come with a plastic cover for safe storing. It is quite expensive though.
- Gimars 12 pcs
- BEST PRICE The cheapest set of tools, great for beginners and kids. It has a good number of chisels to explore different dimensions of the blade and how it feels in your hand. Doesn’t last very long.
- BeaverCraft SC01 4 pcs
- BEST VALUE A set of four chisels and gouges for any project type. Great Swiss blades, a rolled up case for storing and keeping the knife. The set comes with a sharpening tool and a wax canvas for your projects.
First of all, wood carving chisels gouges are essentially chisels the cutting edge of which is bent into a curve. A gouging knife is designed to carve grooves in a way that the tool doesn’t dig into the wood. With this knife, you can remove a lot of wood quickly, and it works great when carving into the wood with a flat surface. In this article, I will cover the sets of carving chisels & gouges that I tried, and share my experience of the six best ones. If you are interested in wood carving and whittling knives, you can check out my other articles – What is the best whittling knife in 2020 and Top 7 Best Wood Carving Beginner Kits – Reviews and buying guide. In case you are looking for my reviews on something more specific, I have revied the spoon carving tools – 5 Best Spoon Carving Tools, as well as the power carving tools – Best Power Wood Carving Tools in 2020.
What Criteria to Look For?
When choosing the wood carving chisels and gouges, it is always a question of whether to purchase a set of tools or buy each knife separately. There are also many aspects about each tool that you have to consider, and it is hard to find the knife that satisfies your standard in every way. While I was testing these knives on my project, I measured different features.
First of all that is needed to know is that they vary in shapes and sizes, while there are two basic types: a U gauge and a V gouge carving tool. U gauges are essential tools for wood carving projects, and what defines them is 1) the width of their cutting edge, 2) the shaft shape, and 3) the sweep and curvature of the edge. An important thing to consider is whether you want the knife in a straight, spoon, bent, or back-bent shape. The V gouges are also useful carving tools, that differ in the angle of the bottom edge (the V edge), as well as the space between top edge tips. Important criteria that I used for rating these toolsets is the number of tools in a set, the overall quality of the tool combination if the razors are sharp and whether the chisels hold the edge, how comfortable the handles of the tools are, if the chisel sets come with a guarantee, and at last if they are worth the price they are being sold for.
WAYCOM 24PCS – Good chisels for small detailed carving projects
This set is quite good for working with softwood, and it includes multiple size knives (small, medium, and large) in the 24 tools you get. It is a set used by professionals, but it is all right for beginners too – the steel is of good quality, and the handle is comfortable for hand carving.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this toolkit, but the small pieces are working rather well for small-size projects, and they dig nicely into the pine. I have also noticed that the razors of the blades are quite sharp and hold an edge for a really long time. The handles are very short and thick, allowing good control over the pressure, and thus the knives are useful for all kinds of projects.
If you are new to wood carving, it is essential for the blades to stay sharp for a long time, especially if you are yet to learn how to sharpen carving chisels – it is not as complicated as it may seem, but it is specific due to the characteristic shape of the blades, unlike with whittling and spoon carving knives.
Even though carving chisels and gouges are not the greatest tools for doing detail carving, this toolset includes the smaller V gauges that are actually not that bad for working on the small wood lathes.
The tools set comes in a simple cardboard case, nothing fancy, the manufacturer didn’t wish to invest much into the looks and storage of the tools. When it comes to pricing, it is not overly expensive considering the number of different tools that it includes. As a matter of fact, this is one of the most complete sets available, and it pays off when we think about it, knowing that the metal carving chisels can cost up to $16 individually unless you come across the carving chisels for sale.
- 24 different tools in three sizes
- Good for small projects
- Sharp razor blades
- Good price for the number of tools
- Comfortable handles for intense work
- Not the best tools for a big-scope project
- The case for storing the tools isn’t adequate at all
To sum up
All things taken into consideration, I would say this set of carving chisels has a good value – there is a large number of carbon blade chisels in the set, that are durable and hold an edge for a long time. Carving wood with chisels from this set is best if you are used to hand carving – small projects such as animal and caricature carving – since the handle is made for this type of project. The main problem with this set is that it isn’t the greatest with large pieces of wood, the tools aren’t the most practical, and the box for storing the toolset is not well-thought-through.
Mikisyo Power Grip 5 pcs – The essential starter-set for beginners
This is a basic set, including the five pieces of tools you need for any type of wood carving project. The handles are fitting the palm perfectly, working rather well for figure carving and relief carving. If you only began to learn how to use wood chisels for carving, this toolkit is a good starting point. This set includes 3 gouges, V chisels wood carving tool, and a skew chisel, which are the types of wood carving chisels that you always will need in practice. The blades arrived already sharpened in the box and ready to use straight away, while the used carving chisels from this manufacturer are good to be sharpened with a wet stone rather than sandpaper, in my experience.
The issue with these Japanese carving chisels is that the blade cannot be replaced, which can be a challenge if your rounded gouges chip out of the blue, which can happen with softwood such as basswood. This problem happened to me before I actually got used to the handle and the blade itself, but after that, I had no further problems with it, the round large wood carving chisels are serving me rather nicely.
The tools are overall really good for softer woods and still may chip if you use them for a bigger project or for olivewood, for example. However, the price is all right if you are only looking for the beginner package and you are still learning how to use wood carving chisels for figure carving. More professional wood gouge tools can be quite expensive, so this is a fair deal.
Mikisyo Power Grip wood gouge set comes in a nice hard case, nice to wrap up as a present for someone who started picking up this hobby and hasn’t invested in wood carving chisels set yet. The case is also good for safekeeping the tools, and preventing them from being damaged or hurting you.
- A good combination of tools
- Good set for the price
- Holds an edge for a long time
- Great for beginners
- The round gouge chips easily
- Not good for hardwood
To sum up
This is a great investment for someone who is only just starting to do wood carving as a hobby, although it is best to use with softer woods, and carefully because the tip can chip just like that. The price is good, overall, and the blades are durable and sharp from day one.
SCHAAF Tools 12 pcs – The fancy toolkit which lasts forever
This expensive wood carving chisels toolset is a great quality set of tools that are very sharp and super useful in my workshop. It offers a good variety in terms of both shapes and sizes of the blades, meaning that it is handy for any wood carving project. I know what you are thinking – for that price it better be! It is a rather good combination of tools, including 1) Straight Chisel 8mm, 2) Skew Chisel 8mm, 3) Gouge 8mm, 4) Gouge 20mm, 5) Gouge 6mm, 6) Gouge 14mm, 7) Heavy Bent Gouge 20mm, 8) Gouge 4mm, 9) Spoon Gouge 10mm, 10) Gouge 10mm, 11) Veiner 3mm, and 12) V Parting Tool 6mm.
Even though the blades are very sharp, you need to get comfortable with sharpening wood carving chisels, since there will come the time when you would need to invest into a good blade tip. If you are used to sharpening carving chisels, this toolset can last forever, indeed.
The manufacturer produced this toolset as an exclusive offer, ready to match any wood carving projects with chisels, and make the most out of each one. It really is a pleasure to work on relief projects, even with used wood carving chisels from this set.
All wood gouge chisels from this package are protected with plastic tips in the case that is safe to store. If you are interested in buying wood gouge sets that will last long, with diverse tool sizes included, and you don’t mind investing nearly $100 on the toolkit, then this is a fair choice. This set has a guarantee from the seller, so you can rest assure that the set will be satisfying.
The set itself comes with an e-book, teaching you how to use carving tools chisels on wood carving projects, which is a nice touch, although I can’t imagine a complete beginner investing this much on 12 pieces of chisels.
- Multiple size gauges
- Sharp and durable tools
- Safe storage for each knife
- Guarantee by the manufacturer
- Very expensive
To sum up
These tools are created to make wood carving with chisels fun and easy, but they are the most expensive tools I have used so far. If I’m being honest, when I look at the wood carving chisels review for BeaverCraft below, I can’t really say that this set is that much better, while the price is extremely big for 12 wood chisels for carving.
Gimars 12 pcs – The cheapest chisel set on Amazon
Unlike SCHAAF Tools 12 pcs, this is a 12 piece wood carving chisel set at a very affordable price. The chisels are sharp, made of an SK5 carbon steel, and small, intended to work well for caricature carving and animal carving. The blades differ in sizes, involving deep gouge, medium gouge, shallow gouge, narrow straight chisel, wide straight chisel, rounded chisel, 4 angled knives/ chisels, parting tool, and a pinpoint tool. With this kind of variety, I could do a lot with engraving types of projects, creating 2d wood animals and faces, removing the chunks of wood before polishing the final version.
The chisels involved might not be the best carving chisels in the world, but they are a good set for the price for sure. The blades are sharp, but not extremely sharp, good for kinds learning wood carving with chisels, for example. I would recommend this set to my clumsy friends who just started doing softwood carving projects for fun in their spare time.
Handles are good for the grip, and I reckon rather good for small hands as well. I have quite a bit of control using these for softwood, while they wouldn’t be a good choice for briarwood, or anything harder as a matter of fact. So for pine or basswood, it is a good set of tools to practice and get a hang of woodcarving as a beginner. No oak or cherry and other hardwoods.
These chisels are relatively easy to hold and use, but they are not very durable. Old carving chisels from this set, that have been used for a long time and sharpened many times, are practically useless.
Then again, the price is not high at all, so you couldn’t have expected the highest quality in the first place. They are not bad overall.
- Easy to hold and use
- Good for softwood
- Good for beginners and children
- Money-back guarantee by the manufacturer
- Very cheap
- Not very durable
- Not good for hardwood
To sum up
Looking from a value point of view, this set won’t last longer than a few years. It is an excellent set for those who are new to wood carving and are yet to discover if they want to keep investing in this hobby or not. So, if you are not looking for the best wood carving chisels, but rather a beginners’ toolkit, go for this package. It is likely that it is the cheapest set out there.
BeaverCraft SC01 4 pcs – The all in one wood carving chisel set
This is a small, yet complete swiss wood carving chisels set. It includes a wood carving tool kit that comes in a rolling pouch with leather strop, plus the polishing compound kit. The chisel set contains 1) a compact straight rounded chisel, 2) a compact short bent gouge, 3) a compact straight V-profile chisel, 4) a leather strop, 5) a polishing compound, and 6) a rolling-up tool bag. With only one gouge set I enjoy woodcarving, while also sharpening my woodworking tools and I can keep the kit safely in the bag.
The compact straight rounded chisel is really good with deep scratches and shaping. I am using the compact short bent wood gouge for deep, precise work, particularly when I focus on caricature wood carving projects. These four tools are essentially good quality swiss carving chisels, and they work complementary for the projects of any type of precision.
This is a rare toolkit that comes with sharpening tools, which ensures the durability of the blades, particularly with the green polishing compound that keeps the edge at an optimal sharpness level. The toolkit also comes with the waxed canvas, making the experience of wood carving with chisels complete.
BeaverCraft has many freebies online with lessons on using their chisels and sharpening them as well, so it is fairly easy to learn how to use them if you are only just starting. Price-wise, it is not the cheapest toolset, but I find that the quality matches the price overall. What you see is what you get, so I am fairly satisfied with this choice.
- Good selection of gouges
- Comes with a sharpening tool
- Has a rolling pouch for storing the chisels like a pro
- A complete set for any project
- Only 4 chisels in the set
To sum up
My cons for this set is the number of chisels and gouges – essentially you only get one size per gauge type, so it lacks diversity. However, I think that most projects I am working on can be completed with only this set of tools, so I would recommend these four chisels and the extra perks for sure.
BeaverCraft K5/12 – Among best carving gouges to add to my toolset
This is a single hand chisel compact wood carving knife, and one of the best swiss made carving chisels I have used so far. It is a compact straight round chisel, with a really sharp blade, that holds an edge for a really long time. I have ordered this one separately from a toolkit, and it was a good addition to the toolkit I already had. It arrived sharp from the box, and I tested it straight away.
As you know, lately I have been enjoying animal carving and character wood carving projects, which is why I decided to make this purchase. It is a great tool for hand carving, and good for small projects with pine or basswood in particular. The blade won’t chip easily, and it is a good deal if you find it among wood carving chisels for sale on Amazon.
Another aspect this knife is good at is as a bowl carving gouge. While searching for bowl carving chisels, I found that his knife does a great job, even though I have originally bought it for something entirely different.
- Sharp blade, holds an edge
- Great for small projects
- Excellent for bowl carving
- One chisel, not sufficient on its own
To sum up
Honestly, this tool is on the list as one of the best wood carving chisels spoon carving projects require. It is a good addition to my swiss carving gouges collection, but it’s not enough on its own, it requires other types and sizes of the chisels to complete a project.
Although some wood carving enthusiasts love power chisels for wood carving and will rather choose electric wood chisels for carving, I enjoy working with my hands and having a nice knife that I can use to complete a project that can fit on my palm.
Beavercraft wood carving chisels are my number one choice, since the quality of the blades is promising and the whole BeaverCraft SC01 4 pcs is designed nicely for every user. It is cheaper than SCHAAF Tools 12 pcs, although these tools are paying off long term. The best wood carving chisels, in my opinion, are the BeaverCraft and SCHAAF tools for sure, and investing in wood carving chisels and gouges from these manufacturers will be a smart move. If you are a beginner, and you’re not searching for the best wood carving gouges quality, you can use the fair choices of multiple tools for a much smaller price, that can also help you learn what kind of chisels you need for the types of projects you are most interested in.