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Advice on tools for starting carving

Hi All,

Just looking for some advice re tools. I've already bought some carving chisels/gouges and was thinking of adding some further ones and would value some advice.

The ones I have are:

1. I Sorby

5, 6, 8, 11mm

2. JB Addis

2mm Straight (No 1?), 4mm No 10

3. Ashley Iles

3/8” 60 degree N0 39 V Tool

I'm also considering buying the Stubai 6 Piece 55 Series Premium Carving Set 560206, which consists of:

5502 20mm (No 2 sweep)

5503 06mm (No 3 sweep)

5503 20mm (No 3 sweep)

5505 12mm (No 5 sweep)

5508 10mm (No 8 sweep)

Would this be adequate as a starter kit? Is the Stubai set worth buying (160GBP on offer approx 217 usd).

Any advice appreciated.

All the best,

Bill

Uploaded files:
  • ISorby1.jpg
  • JBAddis.jpg
  • 560206Schnitzersatz6tlgKopie.jpg

I think you have to decide what you're going to carve and then see if you have the tools to do it. When I started I had a Pfeil 5 sweep 12mm and a Pfeil 1 sweep double bevel straight chisel.  I carved three or four relief panels using just those two tools but as I branched out to different type carvings I'd add tools as needed for that type of carving. So what are you going to carve? Are the tools you already have adequate for the job? If not, buy what you need. Personally I tend to stay away from sets since you will wind up getting some tools you rarely or never use.

As for Stubai, they're good tools. I have mostly Pfeil but I also have a Stubai V too, and a few Ashley Isles fishtail gouges. If you stay with brand names you'll probably do fine. Most of the Chinese gouges aren't very good with the exception of Schaaf tools. Though made in China they are distributed here and they really stand behind them. The only downside is you need to sharpen them unless you spend extra and get the sharpened set.

William Stanley has reacted to this post.
William Stanley

These are good

Quote from JIm Geisert on January 18, 2021, 12:19 pm

I think you have to decide what you're going to carve and then see if you have the tools to do it. When I started I had a Pfeil 5 sweep 12mm and a Pfeil 1 sweep double bevel straight chisel.  I carved three or four relief panels using just those two tools but as I branched out to different type carvings I'd add tools as needed for that type of carving. So what are you going to carve? Are the tools you already have adequate for the job? If not, buy what you need. Personally I tend to stay away from sets since you will wind up getting some tools you rarely or never use.

As for Stubai, they're good tools. I have mostly Pfeil but I also have a Stubai V too, and a few Ashley Isles fishtail gouges. If you stay with brand names you'll probably do fine. Most of the Chinese gouges aren't very good with the exception of Schaaf tools. Though made in China they are distributed here and they really stand behind them. The only downside is you need to sharpen them unless you spend extra and get the sharpened set.

Hi Jim, Sounds like good advice! I tend to jump in to things - so maybe I'll work through some of the beginner's lessons and see how it goes. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Bill

Quote from hadleymyler on January 19, 2021, 3:14 pm

These are good

Hi Hadley, The box is blank? Cheers, Bill

William, Jim's advice is very good. I think working through some carving projects would be best at this point, and it looks like you have enough to get started. Once you feel more confident with the relief carving techniques, you will know what tools you are missing. You will also be able to discover whether this style of carving is or isn't the direction you want to go without investing any more.

Hi Mary,

Thanks for the reply. Well, things have moved on a bit and my wife bought me the set for my birthday last week! So, against all the advice,I decided to try to carve a Welsh love spoon as my first project. Unfortunately I couldn't get hold of any lime (basswood) so I used what I think is some species of pine. I found it while fishing a year ago and have turned a few bowls with it. It is quite soft and bruises easy and tends to splinter and break out easily - so taking account of the grain was essential. Not too pleased with the corners - really difficult to get a clean looking junction - probably because of the wood as my tools were very sharp. Also difficult to make the loops of the hearts round in cross section - took ages! I did it for my wife and she was delighted with it.Any advice on how to improve welcomed.I've uploaded an image. Need to find another project now!

Uploaded files:
  • IMG_3144.jpg

That spoon is really very well done. As you found out pine can be problematic but you did a good job nonetheless. My only advice is to try and find some basswood, walnut, or mahogany to carve. Though the walnut and mahogany are harder woods they both hold detail well and tend not to split like pine. I've carved pine and many times you wind up finding sap pockets as you get into the wood.

Congratulations on your new set of tools. I'm sure you'll enjoy many hours of carving with them.

William Stanley has reacted to this post.
William Stanley

Thanks for the kind words Jim.