A pocket knife is a versatile tool that can be used for anything from whittling and wood carving, slicing fruits, butchering small game, and much more. Pocket knives have long been used in whittling because they are inexpensive and can easily be carried safely around.
If you want to start whittling with a pocket knife, you’re at the right place. In this post, I’ll review the best pocket knives for whittling. You can also check out our best whittling kits or whittling knives. Enjoy.
Best Pocket Knife for Whittling
Flexcut Tri-Jack Pro
If you’re looking for the best whittling pocket knife on the market, look no further than the Flexcut Tri-Jack Pro. The Tri Jack pro comes with three knives: a roughing knife, a detail knife, and a mini-cutting knife. All the knives come razor-sharp out of the box, and you can start whittling once you receive your package.
The blades keep an edge and cut through wood with minimal pressure. If you’re a beginner, get a strop and compound to help you keep the blades sharp.
I was a bit worried about the comfort of the metal body. However, as it turns out, I was completely wrong. The metal handle is quite comfortable. Although wooden handles would be much better, it takes a while to notice any difference.
The pocket knife is easy to open, and each blade has a liner lock. This keeps the blades tucked inside the handle safely until you choose to use any of the blades.
Best Single Blade Pocket Knife
Mastercarver Pocket Whittler II
If you’re looking for a single-bladed pocket knife that adorns a classic design, the Master Pocket Whittler 2 is a good option. The blade is well centered and has a nice snap to it. The manufacturer says the blade comes razor sharp out of the box, but I did need to sharpen it, and it cuts perfectly now.
Pictures do not do justice to this pocket knife. It is beautifully finished and feels very well made. It has a longer handle, making it easier to hold and work around your wood. The laminated wood handle has a nice texture and can be confused with regular wood.
The Pocket Whittler 2 is a great single-bladed pocket knife you can check out. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly single-bladed pocket knife alternative, check out the Opinel N Degree7 Carbon Steel Knife.
Best Budget-Friendly Pocket Knife
Old Timer 24OT
The Old Timer 240T is not only a good budget carving tool, and it is an excellent value, period. The Old Timer comes with six different tools used in wood carving. A details blade, straight gouge, hook blade, V-Scorp blade, Gorge Soup blade, and a chisel blade. It is larger than our best pocket knife for whittling – Flexcut Tri-Jack Pro. This gives ample space for the blades to sink deeper and a bigger surface to hold the knife.
The details blade is great for whittling. It does not come razor sharp out of the package, and you’ll need to sharpen it properly for use. Compared to the Flexcut Tri-Jack Pro, it is a bit thinner. This means the knife is not as durable but makes it easier to sharpen.
The Old Timer 240T is a great pocket knife for carving softer woods like basswood and butternut. Other than that, the knife is almost useless for harder woods. However, it is a budget-friendly pocket knife you can get.
Best Swiss Army Whittling Pocket Knife
Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker
Swiss Army knives are the way to go if you’re new to whittling and want an EDC knife which can also double up as a whittling knife. Different Swiss Army knives have different offerings, such as bottle openers, can openers, reamers, screwdrivers, tweezers, and much more. The Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker comes with two knife blades that are great for whittling.
Both knives are great and have a sharp blade. It is also easier to maintain and sharpen over time. To customize the Victorinox for whittling, you can check out the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Whittling Book by Lubkemann Chris. In this book, Chris shares his swiss army customizations and some whittling projects using the knife.
Overall, the Tinker is also well made and tight. It is nice and compact and can easily be thrown into a pocket. The handle is comfortable to hold even for long sessions without any uncomfortable feeling.
Choosing a Whittling Pocket Knife
One of the best things about whittling is that you can do it anywhere. This means your whittling knife should be compact and portable. Nothing beats convenience than a folding knife that can easily slip into your pockets. However, how do you choose a good pocketknife for whittling? Keep these factors in mind.
Steel Blade Types & Hardness
Most pocket knife blades are made from stainless steel. This is because stainless steel holds an edge for a longer time and does not corrode. Because stainless steel dulls slowly, it is harder to sharpen when blunt. This is why manufacturers use high-carbon steel. Knives made out of high carbon steel are more expensive, but compared to stainless steel, they are easier to sharpen.
Knives made from high carbon stainless steel combine the durability of stainless steel and the benefits of carbon steel.
When choosing a good whittling knife, the steel’s hardness determines whether the knife is up to the task. We recommend carbon steel knives, but other types of steel are out there that fit the challenge. W1 tool steel, S30V, High carbon spring steel, and O1 tool steel, among many other types, are good for knives.
Knife hardness is measured using the Rockwell C Hardness test (HRC). The ideal hardness for a whittling knife should be around 58 and 62 HRC. At this range, a knife has a good balance of durability and edge retention.
Pocket Knife Blade Location & Shape
Most pocket knives in our list feature two blades. This is good because the knives are comfortable for long whittling sessions. The blades are also well-positioned, which makes the pocketknife easier to control. A pocket knife with more blades can get uncomfortable over time.
My preferred shape of a whittling blade is a sheepfoot blade. This is where the pocket knife’s tip is closely aligned with the cutting edge. Most pocketknives have a drop-point-shaped blade, where the tip is in the middle of the blade. A good example of this type of pocket knife is the Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker.
Locking Pocket Knife Blades
A pocket knife with a locking blade keeps the sharp knife from accidentally closing on your fingers, which is a good safety feature to have in place. Different locking mechanisms are put in place, all of which help avoid accidental cuts. If you’re a beginner, check out our best wood carving gloves, which can help you avoid slicing cuts in case of an accident.
Pocket Knife vs. Specialty Whittling Knife
For some whittling purists, a pocket knife is the only acceptable tool for true whittling. Pocket knives are an excellent choice because they are portable, and anytime you come across a piece of wood, you can start whittle. Another benefit of a pocket knife is the number of blades. To make intricate cuts, you can use a smaller blade. While roughing out, you can use the larger blade.
Specialty whittling knives, unlike pocket knives, have a fixed blade, so they do not fold. Fixed blades are more sturdy and often include curved handles that make them even more comfortable when whittling for a longer period. Flexcut, beaver craft, Buck, Drake, Sarge, Moranikv, and Shrade offer good specialty whittling knives you can check out.