At the most basic level, a chisel is a tool you use to shape wood. A chisel can do many things, including cutting corners in wood to enhance its beauty, using wood to join two blocks of wood together, or wood carving.
Wood carving using a chisel revolves around three basic cuts: paring, chopping out, and mortise cuts. These other techniques can be used when carving wood using a chisel.
If you’re looking for a wood carving chisel, you’re at the right place. In this post, I review the best wood carving chisel sets you can check out.
Our Best Wood Carving Chisel Set
- Best Wood Carving Chisel Set: PFEIL Intermediate Carving Set
- Best Budget Friendly-option Chisel Set: Schaaf Wood Carving Chisel Set
- Cheaper Chisel Set Option: BeaverCraft SC01 Chisel Set
Best Wood Carving Chisel Set
PFEIL Intermediate Carving Set
The PFEIL intermediate carving set comes with 12 pieces and is one of the best. The pieces come razor-sharp and are ready to go out of the box. Apart from the hefty price tag, I highly recommend this chisel set for anyone - beginners and professionals alike.
The PFEIL brand has been around for a while and is recommended by professionals. This set comes with 12 pieces, including chisels, gouges, and a v-tool. With this set, you’ve got everything to get you started in wood carving. Out of the box, the blades come razor sharp and hold an edge well. Periodic touchup with some leather and compound should keep them razor sharp.
The handles can be small but work well once you get used to handling them. The bevels on the handles provide a better grip and keep them from rolling when placed on a surface. What more can I say about this carving set – I recommend it to anyone getting started or looking for a quality set of chisels.
Schaaf Wood Carving Chisel Set
Though cheaper than our top pick, this Schaaf Chisel set is great for those looking to get started on a budget. It comes with 12 pieces that are well-made, razor-sharp, and hold an edge. It's hard to beat this chisel set at the price.
Schaaf is one of the leaders when it comes to wood carving tools. This is it if you’re looking for an affordable chisel set that still feels well-constructed. Like the PFEIL intermediate carving set, you get 12 pieces of different chisels, gouges, and v-tools. When shopping on Amazon, you can choose between factory-sharpened and hand-sharpened options. I bought the hand-sharpened option, and the blades are sharp and well worth the added cost.
The handles on the pieces are long and have a solid feeling. They fit pleasantly in hand without excessively squeezing them. The blades, when sharp, hold an edge quite well. Some downsides to the chisel set I bought were the profile of the metals, some defects on the wood, and how the blades are mounted to the handles. However, a chat with their customer service sent better replacements.
BeaverCraft SC01 Chisel Set
This is it if you're looking for a cheaper option to get you started. The Beaverwood SC01 carving chisel set comes with four pieces and is great for beginners looking to enter the wood carving world without spending too much.
The BeaverCraft SC01 Chisel set comes with four pieces. These are a straight, rounded chisel, a short bent gouge, a straight rounded chisel, and a straight V-profile chisel. This set is smaller than the previous two, but if you want to add it to your chisel collection, you can pick it out. For beginners, you can also try this one and upgrade to one of the top ones.
The metals are of high quality and hold an edge well. They come sharp and ready to go, plus you get a strop and compound to keep them in good cutting condition. The handles are strong and thick, well-finished, and fit comfortably. If you’re looking to get into wood carving, this is a cheap set to get you started.
Choosing Wood Carving Chisels
A wood chisel is one of the indispensable tools for a woodworker. It is simple, versatile, and strong enough to withstand blows from a mallet and remove large quantities of waste wood. Chipping at wood with a chisel is a skill that creates designs and intricate patterns. With the right chisel and skills, you can create a masterpiece from the comfort of your home.
Carving Chisel Set
A carving chisel set usually comes with four to 12 or more pieces of chisels. Buying individual chisels is good; however, for a beginner in wood carving, a carving chisel set gives you everything you’ll need in one package. As you advance your wood carving skills, you can upgrade and buy individual chisels based on what you’re working on.
Types Of Chisels
Here are different shapes and sizes of chisels. While you don’t need every single one, it benefits from having a chisel set and various chisels. The different types of chisels include bench chisels, paring chisels, mortise chisels, tang chisels, and socket chisels, among many others.
Large chisels are great for roughing out and removing large quantities of wood, while micro chisels are great for fine details. For a beginner starting out, start with the larger chisels and progress with mini chisels, which are best for detail work.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Chisel
Using the right chisel on the suitable type of wood is the most important factor to consider when choosing a chisel. Some chisel blades are good on softwoods while others will work great on hardwoods. Apart from the suitable wood, blade material, edge shape, and other factors. Below are the factors to consider:
- Blade Material – A chisel blade should be well-made, bend-resistant, and hold an edge. The chisel should give precise cuts for the best results. Most chisels feature carbon or vanadium steel. Vanadium steel is steel with a small amount of vanadium added to make it stronger and tougher compared to carbon steel. This helps the blade retain a sharper edge for longer.
- Edge Shape – There are different types of edge shapes like simply bevel, narrow bevel, and more. When choosing between the different edge shapes, choose one that will work to your suitability.
- Blade Size – Depending on the purpose and usage, there are different sizes of blades available on the market. Smaller-sized blades are good for wood carving and carving intricate details, while larger-sized chisels are great for use with furniture.
Gouges are like chisels, but the edge is curved rather than flat. The use of gouges in woodcarving is to curve grooves and trenches. They also remove extra wood quicker compared to flat chisels. Gouges are great when used for carving bowls and spoons. Short-bent and long-bent gouges are great for those looking to delve into relief carving.
V Carving Tools
V-carving tools, as the name suggests, have a V-shaped cutting edge. When pushed through wood, a v-tool will create a thin V-shaped groove in the wood. A V-tool is great for small details and lines when designing a wood carving project. With a V-tool, a beginner can improve their skills in fine detailing. V-tools are commonly used in relief carving.
Japanese vs. Western Chisels
The major difference between Japanese and Western chisels is the materials used. For Japanese chisels, the material of choice is a high-carbon steel with low contaminants and tungsten. However, Wester chisels feature either vanadium steel or regular tool steel. Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages.
Japanese chisels made with harder carbon steel hold an edge longer but will take longer to sharpen. Therefore, Japanese chisels are the best for regular malleting without frequently sharpening the blade. On the other hand, Western steel dulls more quicker, but it is easier to sharpen.
Another difference between western and Japanese chisels is the shape of the blades and handles. Japanese chisels have shorter blades and a cylindrical handle, while western chisels have longer blades and more ergonomic handles.