The best wood carving tools you can buy

 Read these reviews to get the most bang from your buck!

The best wood carving tools should be functional and provide the best value for your hard-earned money. I’ve put together a list of our very favorite tools that I reach for consistently. Specifically looking for the best wood carving knives?  I've got a full page of great knives here!

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Best wood carving tools

Best wood carving tools: Gouges

Set of Stubai gougesStubai USA gouges

I took a class with caricaturist Chris Hammack and he recommended these Stubai gouges from the Whittling Shack

They are wonderful tools that cut cleanly and have not let me down! 

I got the 8-piece "Marv's Set" that is pictured here.  They are great for caricature carving. 

Laminated U gougeLaminated U gouge

Most of my tutorials are just done with a knife or two.  But one of the very best woodcarving tools to have in your kit is this laminated U gouge from Warren Cutlery.  It is terrific for carving eyes, buttons, and other circles.  Very versatile. 


Drake soft V-toolSoft V-tool

This soft V-tool from Drake is wonderful for carving hair, beards, and other designs.  It cuts like butter! 

I got mine from Greg Dorance Co.


Ramelson fishtail gougeRamelson fishtail gouge

This Ramelson fishtail gouge is great for splitting legs or roughing out.  Helps save a little wear and tear on your knives and hands.  


Best wood carving tools: Gloves

Learn how one simple hack can turn good carving gloves into the best gloves for wood carving. 


Best wood carving tools: Accessories

All links below are Amazon affiliate links.  We receive a small commission if you buy them, which helps support our website (without any cost to you).  Thanks! 

Game-changer lamp

Getting a Canvas lamp was one of my best wood carving decisions.  

Not only does it provide light wherever I need it, but it also holds my phone, which makes it super easy to take pictures and videos of my wood carvings.

I love how flexible it is.  I bought mine without the base because I prefer to clamp it to the mobile side table I mention below.  It will save you a few pennies, too. 

I‘ve gone through several lamps and this one is a keeper.  I can also vouch for their amazing customer service as well. 

You can buy the Canvas lamp here (affiliate link). It has become one of my best wood carving tools.


Best mobile wood carving table

If you want a rolling table to store your everyday wood carving kit, you will love this HOSTACK side sofa mobile table (affiliate link) with 2 drawers and 3 open storage shelves.  

It doubles as an end table for my sofa that I can easily pull out from the wall when it’s time to do some wood carving. 

I‘ve also attached my Canvas lamp (affiliate link) with a clamp that I use to hold my iPhone for taking pictures and videos of my carvings. I added small pieces of cardboard on each side of the clamp to protect the table (see picture below).  

The 2 shelves on the side are perfect to keep my wood favorite wood carving books—and some wood blocks—within reach.  The two drawers are deep enough to hold extra tools and more wood blocks. 

It’s a really sturdy, streamlined, and stylish solution! 

Rolling wood carving cartMy easy-to-roll table

Best storage cart

I own this Husky tool chest (affiliate link) as well as a smaller one from Waterloo.  

Each serves its purpose, but the Husky tool chest is definitely made with much higher quality. It’s a very sturdy piece. I use it to store my best wood carving tools. 

The bottom drawers are super deep to hold all kinds of tools and vises.  

Plus, the Husky tool chest cost me close to $100 less! 

I keep mine in our dining room—because I don’t want to run to the basement every time I need a tool—and simply cover it with a tablecloth when guests come for dinner.  It makes a great side buffet table! 


Best wood burner kit

I upgraded my inexpensive wood burning pen to the Colwood detailer kit and what a huge difference! With the cheaper pen I could never get an even burn line.  And it just didn’t have much fire power.  The Colwood wood burner gets so hot so fast I have to keep it on a lower setting.  

It comes with 3 nibs and they are so much fun to use.  I also bought a few more nibs for curves and lettering.  

If you want to elevate your wood burning, this kit is well worth it.  Plus, the bundle package pictured comes with an awesome book about wood burning.  

You can get your kit here with this Amazon affiliate link


Super-flexible vise

I looked at a number of vises before settling on this Panavise (affiliate link).  It is quite sturdy and can be bolted down to a work bench.   

What’s great is the ability to turn it any which way in a circle, or up and down.  

It gives you lots options to help you carve at the perfect angle.  

It is a must for safety if you use gouges.


Best mini vise for little whittles

If you’re looking for a much smaller vise that can be placed inside a wooden box for lap carving (like I do most often) you will love this inexpensive wood vise (affiliate link). 

It’s easy to move around and also makes it safer to carve since you are not directing your knife toward your non-carving hand. 

You could also use it on a table top against a wall or secured with other pieces of wood or a clamp. 


Best magnifying glasses

I’ve gone through several types of magnifying glasses (including store-bought readers) and this Vision Aid (affiliate link) is truly worth buying.

There is so much customization you can do. It comes with 5 different lenses and a rechargeable light. I got the kit where you can recharge the light with a USB cable (it also has a battery-operated version). It features 2 light options—and best of all—the light can be moved up and down.

You have the option of wearing the glasses with or without a headband. It fits over my prescription glasses, and you can move the lens up and down, which comes in handy when you need to read something or grab your water bottle.  

It all comes in a beautiful case that protects everything.  I’m super careful when handling the lenses, which focus really nicely.  

Tip: Click on the QR code in your kit to link to a number of YouTube videos that provide user tips and tricks for customizing your glasses. 


Best acrylic paints

I used to think all acrylic paints are alike.  But they’re not!  

This set of Delta Creative Ceramcoat paints (affiliate link) makes is super easy to blend colors and create desirable shadows. 


Best painting brushes

These inexpensive Princeton brushes (affiliate link) have become my favorites.  They feel great and work even better. 


These Transon flat brushes (affiliate link) come in an economical set with 7 brushes of all sizes.  They are great for getting into tight spaces, blending colors, and for creating shadows.  


Best gouge strop

While I am big on making my own strops from cardboard, this one from Flexcut (affiliate link) is great for sharpening gouges and V-tools. 


Best glove tape

Self-grip tape (affiliate link) is wonderful to extend the life of a carving glove, or to protect fingers on your noncarving hand.  


Best wood glue

Cut off a nose, ear, or foot?  No problem.  A little wood glue (affiliate link) patches things up pretty quick.

 Just be sure to wipe it off well (or carve off the excess) as paint will not adhere. 


Best pencil erasers

These old-time school erasers (affiliate link) are great to have on hand when you are sketching designs on wood and need to rework them.  


Best mini magnets

If you want to play around with movable parts on your carvings, these refrigerator magnets (affiliate link) are small, yet powerful!  Plus they come in 3 different sizes… and I’m  all about having options. 


Best flesh tone

This walnut oil medium (affiliate link) has become my go-to for any carvings that need flesh tones. It also makes a great sealer. Plus, you don’t have to worry about it being flammable like linseed oil. 


Best wood carving books

Check out my honest reviews of wood carving books so you can get the most bang from your buck!

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