What are the best chip carving knives available right now? In the following guide, we’ll answer that question by offering in-depth reviews of the best wood carving knives currently on the market. We’ll also provide you with a detailed analysis of what goes into the making of the ideal carving knife for every type of woodworking.
Let’s start this article off with our top pick for 2021.
Flexcut KN15 Chip Carving Knife
Why is it the best?
Best Carving Knives And Best Carving Book
With that in mind, let’s now take a closer look at our top picks.
Let’s dive into the specifics and review each wood carving knife individually. You can use the list below to jump and review specific models or you can read along and go through all the information.
Best Overall: Flexcut KN15 Chip Carving Knife
What makes the KN15 so great is the engineered quality and the simplicity of its design.
Flexcut had the perfect product vision when designing this knife.
The design starts with the short, traditionally shaped blade that comes razor-sharp out of the box. The high-carbon steel blade is the perfect shape for making triangular cuts for intricate and detailed geometric designs.
- Features a sharp HC steel blade
- Comes with an ergonomic ash hardwood handle
- Perfect for chip carving
- Has a solid construction
- The handle’s finish could use a touch-up
The blade works with you by being perfectly seated to work with wood when held.
The resulting blade position brings the point to chip away at mahogany like butter and leave behind perfectly clean edges. The sharpness of the blade makes it a joy to use and create chip carving works of art with.
What good is a knife if its handle is rough, abrasive, and leaves your hand sore at the end of the day?
I’ll answer that for you: that knife is no good. That’s why the KN15 knife has an ergonomic wooden handle that fits in your hand comfortably.
The ergonomic design makes chip carving with this knife a pleasure. The handle is designed to reduce strain on your hand by fitting along your hand’s natural bone structure.
Wielding the knife feels very natural and when combined with the blade that chips away at hardwoods like butter, this knife is a true dream to use.
The handle is ambidextrous in design too, meaning left-handed people can rejoice knowing that they’ll enjoy the same comfort as right-handed people when using this knife.
I’ll go ahead and say that the finish on the handle could be better. I’ve used Flexcut tools before and they came with a better finish.
It seems to be hit or miss as maybe just a few knives make it through production with a subpar finish.
If the ash wood handle is too rough for your liking, I suggest sanding it with extra fine sandpaper and apply linseed oil for a superior finish. In my opinion, this is the only real downside of this knife.
Overall, the KN15 is a high-quality tool fit for a true craftsman. The sharp blade, the comfortable handle, and the ambidextrous design make it a joy to work with.
This blade is fit for chip carving beautiful intricate designs into hardwood and any chip carving enthusiast would be happy to own the best chip carving knife.
If you find yourself frequently chip carving and don’t already have a sharpening set-up, I’d recommend you to pick up Flexcut’s knife strop and gold polishing compound.
They’ll keep your edge sharp and ready for service in case you ever notice your blade dulling and want more precision.
- Effectiveness: A razor-sharp blade with a comfortable handle
- Durability: A quality HC steel blade and an ash wood handle
- Warranty: A limited lifetime warranty
- Overall value: The best chip carving knife for a great price
For more product information, please visit the respective Amazon link.
Best Set: Flexcut KN115 Carving Knives
If you’re in need of a chip carving knife set, look no further than Flexcut’s chip carving knife set.
I chose Flexcut’s chip carving knife set as the best chip carving knife set because of their great design, sharp blades, ergonomic design and simplicity to use.
The chip carving know set comes with three different blades.
The main knife is Flexcut’s original chip carving knife which is the same model as the review above.
- Consists of 3 quality HC steel blades
- The knives feature comfortable ash wood handles
- Includes a bar of gold polishing compound
- Provides a good variety for chip carving and relief projects
- Doesn’t include a knife strop
The standard chip carving knife is great for general chip cuts and is a joy to work with. The handle is made of ash wood and is ergonomically designed to reduce strain on the hand.
The high-carbon steel blade comes sharp out of the box and can take on hardwoods such as mahogany to create intricate patterns every skilled woodworker would be proud of.
The alternative mini chip carving knife is perfect for extremely precise and intricate chip cuts. The sharp HC steel blade is great at making intricate cuts into the wood.
The handle on the mini chip knife is made from ash wood and is sanded to a smooth finish for comfort. Also on the handle of the mini chip knife is a thumb relief to reduce hand stress and pressure from making elaborate cuts.
The mini chip knife is a perfect word carving tool that complements the regular-sized carving knife well. For cuts that require extra precision, you can count on the mini chip knife to help make your art beautiful.
The third tool in this chip carving set is the skew knife.
The skew knife has an ash handle that’s been sanded to a smooth finish similar to the other chip carving tools. The blade is made from high-carbon steel and comes super sharp out of the package.
The skew knife is perfect for making vertical cuts, especially when your workspace is limited. The pointed edge and sharp blade are perfectly angled to aid you in making such cuts.
As an added bonus, the manufacturer includes a bar of their gold polishing compound with this set.
If you already own a slip strop, you can use the gold polishing compound to keep your blades honed.
If you’re in need of a slip strop, I’d recommend the Flexcut slip strop to easily maintain and keep your blades in top condition.
All in all, the KN115 set is the number one chip carving knife set because of its simple yet effective design and high-quality knives. The high-carbon steel comes sharp out of the box.
The ash wood handles have a great finish and are ergonomically shaped to reduce hand stress. The utility of these tools will be appreciated by any woodcarver. They’re a true joy to own and my personal recommendation for chip carving enthusiasts.
- Effectiveness: The sharp blades hold their edges well
- Durability: HC steel blades and quality ash handles
- Warranty: A limited lifetime warranty
- Overall value: The perfect chip carving knife set due to the variety and quality of the knives
RUNNER-UP: BEAVERCRAFT C2 6.5-INCH WHITTLING KNIFE
The BeaverCraft C2 6.5-Inch Whittling Knife is a general-purpose wood carving tool, but it’s also suitable for green woodworking and fine wood cutting.
The blade of this detail knife is made of high-carbon steel and comes both sharpened and polished. The BeaverCraft C2 Cutting Knife’s blade is so sharp that you can use it to cut softwood. This is precisely why BeaverCraft warns their customers to be extra careful with this tool.
The BeaverCraft C2 Bench Knife features a durable and comfortable handle made of oak and processed with natural linseed oil.
- Great for delicate chip carving
- Features a hardened HC steel blade and an ergonomically designed handle to prevent hand fatigue
- Can be used by both amateurs and professionals
- Comes with free e-books
- The blade is quite thick in comparison with the blade of our top pick (6.5 inches as opposed to 1 inch)
- Regrinding the blade down to the right angle usually takes a lot of time
- Effectiveness: A razor-sharp blade and an ergonomically shaped handle
- Durability: A quality hardened HC steel blade and an oak handle
- Guarantee: A lifetime guarantee by the manufacturer
- Overall value: An amazing selection for basswood projects, but it’s good for chipping away at softwood as well
For more product information, please visit the respective Amazon link.
If you want to have more than just a few options to choose from, take a look at the following top-rated knives:
- PFEIL “Swiss Made” Chip Carving Knife (comes pre-sharpened and ready for immediate use)
- BeaverCraft Sloyd Knife for Whittling and Roughing (allows cutting in hollow areas and comes with a leather case)
If you can’t make up your mind, you can purchase two knives separately or a whole set. Who knows, maybe having more wood carving tools will boost your motivation for creating stunning works of art.
Best Book: The Complete Guide To Chip Carving
Having access to a detailed and thorough chip carving book can help you learn more about proper forms and new designs. A high-quality chip carving book will have detailed instructions and multiple woodcraft projects to work on.
My recommendation for the best chip carving book would have to be The Complete Guide to Chip Carving by Wayne Barton.
The author covers everything you might want to know about chip carving in one detailed and highly illustrated book.
- The author is a certified expert in the woodworking field
- Great for both beginners and intermediates
- Features detailed pictures
- Maybe it includes too few chip carving patterns
Wayne Barton is credited with reviving the chip carving craft.
His knowledge and instruction abilities are second to none when it comes to chip carving. You’ll feel like Wayne is right beside you as he shows you how to sharpen your tools, teaches you proper techniques, and shows you his favorite designs.
My favorite parts of the book are the highly detailed pictures that Wayne uses as he guides you step by step and gives helpful tips on design projects.
This book is a one-of-a-kind lesson from a master chip carver.
The quality information and photographs inside the book will be appreciated by new woodworkers and experienced chip carvers alike.
You can’t go wrong buying this book if you’re looking to enhance your chip carving craft.
- Type: Paperback
- Author: Wayne Barton
- Publisher: Sterling
- Number of pages: 144
Why Do You Need A Carving Knife?
Choosing the right chip carving knife for your woodcraft projects is crucial to their success.
We’ve chosen Flexcut’s KN15 knife as the number one choice for several reasons. This knife has an HC steel blade that allows you to make more precise chips and create more intricate details on that piece of pine, basswood, butternut, or mahogany.
The KN15 knife’s ash wood handle relieves hand stress from chip carving thanks to its comfortable design.
If you’re looking for the best chip carving knife set, we’ve chosen the KN115 knife set that you can read about above.
As a gift to our readers, we’ve also reviewed the best chip carving book that’s written by a master instructor and filled with extremely fun projects.
Feel free to write up your woodworking experience in the comment section below.