You have an array of wood carving chisels to choose from, and the number might overwhelm a beginning carver. When investing in tools, first consider the type of carving projects you like to do. If you prefer large, rough-hewn, natural-looking wood carvings, you'll find you need fewer carving tools than if you prefer petite, finely detailed sculptures. Most beginner wood carvers will find they will do well with the following carving chisels:
At Least Two U-Gouge Chisels
Every wood carver needs at least a few good wood gouges. Examine the sweeps and depths available, and think about the kind of projects you plan on completing.
At Least One Specialty U-Gouge Chisel
Do you need to get into difficult-to-reach places that aren't a good fit for a typical U-gouge? Consider the reach of a back-bent, bent or spoon gouge for these specialty spots.
At Least Two V-Gouge Chisels
V-gouge chisels will afford you a much sharper, deeper valley within your strokes. These chisels are best for deep angles and sharp contrast works. The size v-gouge you choose will be determined by the size of the carving you wish to complete and the type of detail you desire.
Two Carpenter's Chisels
If you like rough-hewn sculptures, you'll want to pick up a few of these flat chisels with no sweep or curvature whatsoever. Choose chisels in the sizes of the strokes you like to use to create your projects, keeping in mind that you want to make sure you give yourself variety, and don't choose two chisels that are close in size.
One Skewed Chisel
If you need to get into spaces at an unusual angle, you may wish to use a skewed chisel or a skew. This is a specialized tool not used by everyone, but you may find the need for it.
If you want a set of the best wood carving tools, you need to get to know what the different tools are before you start buying tools you may never use. This list of must-haves can get you started.
You'll need to sharpen your wood carving knives often so you can carve efficiently and safely. Dull tools can cause serious injuries and destroy a beautiful woodworking project in a flash.
You can find many wood carving designs on the Web, in craft stores and in magazines. However, not all those designs are appropriate for the beginner level. The best patterns for new carvers include Christmas ornaments and walking sticks.