Blades for whittling, carving and working with wood?

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I would submit that for whittlecarving a sheepsfoot/coping/wharnecliffe is fairly essential for scoring cuts and the straight edge for controlled material removal via draw cuts. A spey can be quite handy for scooping out areas, say between scores made by the sheepcopewharny. A pen or even clip kind of bridges the two, providing a point and a bit of belly.
Personally I've found a spey blade useless in whittlin'. A sheepfoot, pen, and clip are all I've ever used whittlin'. That's just me. A spey blade may work well for others.
 
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I have a bunch of true Flexcut whittling knives, which are purpose-built for whittling. Most are fixed blade knives in various shapes, and all have a grind around 30 degrees inclusive. One of them is a Flexcut Carvin' Jack, which is a folder that has multiple blades, all designed for carving. It is a nice knife, with curved blades, gouges, v-cut blades, etc.

You really want as flat a grind as possible for whittling, and the edge should be polished to glide through wood.

I do, however, prefer taking the "backwoods country boy" approach to whittling, where you take whatever knife you have in your pocket out and start whittling. For that I prefer a more traditional knife, and one you can use for multiple uses (like cutting up an apple).

My favorite whittler has become the now hard to find GEC courthouse whittler. It has a main wharncliffe blade with secondary pen and coping blades. The wharncliffe blade on this is perfect for whittling due to the long and pointy shape. I sharpen all the blades on this knife to 30 degrees using a Sharpmaker, and I hone them until they shave hair off my arm.

Here it is on a classic ball-in-cage carving I made, with the beginning of a wooden chain behind it.

BIC_zps0ea406d1.jpg


Keep in mind that I usually take months to whittle a project, as it is not something I do with purpose, but something I do to relax and unwind, so a project like this will use many knives, as I like to carry different knives at different times. I generally carry a multi-bladed knife, and sharpen at least one blade for general use (around 40 degrees inclusive) and at least one blade for whittling. I have several Swiss Army knives that I have done this with, usually sharpening the main spear blade at 40 degrees, and the pen blade at 30 degrees.

A stockman also makes a good whittler, and if you get the very common spey blade very sharp all the way through the radius of the tip, it comes in handy for scooping out wood.

Most of all be really careful, since when whittling you are nearly always cutting towards yourself, and a slip of the knife can lead to a nasty cut. If you are going to do a lot of whittling, use a glove on the hand you are holding the wood with, and a thumb guard on the whittling hand. Since I do a lot of impromptu whittling, I often do not have my safety measures with me, but have found that if I am slow and relaxed, and keep my knives razor sharp, I rarely have any accidents. I say rarely because I still cut myself every once in a while, so I will not recommend doing this, unless you are okay with the occasional sliced finger.
 
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I've only whittled sticks to a point, but I would like to take my whittling adventures a little further. I own a peanut for a traditional but I think I might need something a little more. :p Which knives, preferably Case or GEC, make the best whittlers, and I would like something with no more than 3 blades, but would like a two blade if it's possible. If it's better to have three blades, I'll go with whatever you guys advise.
 
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Lots of whittlers in The Wonderous Whittler thread. I'm not up on Case but GEC has specifically made the #33, #57, #62, and #89 in 3 blade whittler configurations. If you only want 2 blade, I'd look at the #61/#62 Half/Easy Pocket Congress or #57 Half Whit. That's if you're specifically looking for a new knife to get. If you have a stockman, those work pretty well too.

Edit: Some 2 blade options... GEC #62, Case/Bose Norfolk, GEC #61, Case SBJ

 
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Lots of whittlers in The Wonderous Whittler thread. I'm not up on Case but GEC has specifically made the #33, #57, #62, and #89 in 3 blade whittler configurations. If you only want 2 blade, I'd look at the #61/#62 Half/Easy Pocket Congress or #57 Half Whit. That's if you're specifically looking for a new knife to get. If you have a stockman, those work pretty well too.

Edit: Some 2 blade options... GEC #62, Case/Bose Norfolk, GEC #61, Case SBJ


Thanks for the help, and yes I'll take a look over in "The Wonderous- Whittler" thread.:eek:
 

Peregrin

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Here's a Case/Bose Collaboration Lockback Whittler. I think they are hard to find now and kind of pricey.
DSC03438.jpg
 

kamagong

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Any of the Norfolk patterns would make a dandy whittling knife. The Case/Bose collaboration is the best, but the Northwoods version is readily available. I have one of the older black box Winchesters.

dsc0073wo.jpg


- Christian
 
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I often get knives of the right general size, and modify the blades to work for me and my students in whittling, which I think is the best way to get people started in carving. A bench mounted belt sander or even a couple of files will work great for modifying the blades to be good whittlers.

I too find the spey to be almost totally useless for my kind of work, so I make a small pointy blade out of it.

Here's a little guy I whittled at a concert in the park this summer, using the old (1920s) Remington 4" stockman that I rescued and made into a great whittler.
001_zps07abd92d.jpg~original
[/IMG]

Opinels are great for both blade and handle mods and make wonderful whittlers.

001_zps751332e3.jpg~original


And here is a Colt Railsplitter that I tricked up, which makes a wonderful whittlin' iron

016_zps5c088829.jpg~original
 

midnight flyer

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That's great work! I goof around making spoons and such, and have even whittled out a small chain. I have whittled on a lot of stuff since a kid, but never turned out anything as artistic as that guy.

And here is a Colt Railsplitter that I tricked up, which makes a wonderful whittlin' iron

016_zps5c088829.jpg~original

Mr. Chips, would you mind commenting on the durability and usability on the steel used on that knife? I have an eye on a couple of knives I want to modify and a Pacific Rim offering seems a great place to start. Not really wanting to experiment on my Case or Queen group.

There has been a lot of commentary on the steel used in the Pacific Rim offerings. I use a several knives with PR steel and have found it performs quite well in a traditional case when used as a slicer. But I have a tendency to use mine a lot, then just a little, then a lot over a few days so I don't get the same feedback as I would if I used them until all at once until dull, the sharpened again.

Your thoughts?

Robert
 
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Jul 23, 2013
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1,484
I often get knives of the right general size, and modify the blades to work for me and my students in whittling, which I think is the best way to get people started in carving. A bench mounted belt sander or even a couple of files will work great for modifying the blades to be good whittlers.

I too find the spey to be almost totally useless for my kind of work, so I make a small pointy blade out of it.

Here's a little guy I whittled at a concert in the park this summer, using the old (1920s) Remington 4" stockman that I rescued and made into a great whittler.
001_zps07abd92d.jpg~original
[/IMG]

Opinels are great for both blade and handle mods and make wonderful whittlers.

001_zps751332e3.jpg~original


And here is a Colt Railsplitter that I tricked up, which makes a wonderful whittlin' iron

016_zps5c088829.jpg~original

i dont know why but that wooden guy spooks me out.:confused:
 
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Aug 21, 2003
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801
On the spey blade, I totally defer to you artistes. I am artless and my whittling is whittling: sharpening a stick, goofing around making various cuts. While I am artless, I have futzed around with what various blades can do with a chunk of wood. For selective material removal, I suspect you guys score an outline with your sheep/cope/wharnie and then score up the interior and chip out the pieces, right? A spey works pretty well using the belly to chip out an area, but truth be told it is probably not as precise as scoring up the area and chipping out the small scored piece. Plus, I can't really say that the spey works any better than a pen point would for this task, but it doesn't endanger any point like using the pen might.

Also, a fine edge is a really good thing and frequent stropping or steeling to keep it straight and fine are a good thing in my observation and as said repeatedly here. Therefore, I think carbon and even the carbideless stainlesses (440A, 420HC) make good whittling steels, whereas D2 o r 440C would not. The level at which those steels will maintain a working edge is too coarse to be terribly useful and it takes more than a quick stropping or steeling to get those back into fine condition.
 
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For myself, I like something with a combination of a straight edge (coping, wharncliffe) and something with a point and belly. I also need the blades to be short, as I feel I have more control that way. Really, most any stockman has a nice combination of blade shapes, but you can hunt for more specialized knives.

Bulldogstar003_zps5ec0d0e8.jpg
[/URL][/IMG]

Opinels are easy to modify to your needs. Here's a few I did last summer:

opiepen003_zps9d85b12d.jpg
[/URL][/IMG]
 
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Personally like my Mora for roughing out and a wharncliffe for whittling, and coping for detail.
 
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Case swayback jack in cv; GEC courthouse whittler, or Geppetto Whittler. good primary blade and coping or pen blades for detail work.
 
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Feb 23, 2012
Messages
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Keep the carvings coming guys! Seeing a lot of talent on here. Great info as well. My dad used to carve/whittle when I was growing up but had a traumatic brain injury about 12 years back and forgot pretty much everything and his interests have changed. I've tried to encourage him to pick it up again but he hasn't. Been meaning to get my hand in at it but all I usually turn out are pointy sticks :rolleyes:
 

Old Hunter

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I helped a buddy of mine this week select a whittler for his grandson's Christmas gift - he ended up with a Case Seahorse Whittler (bone-stag handles) - it was a nice looking knife and substantial too - with one of the nicest Wharncliffe blades I have handled. He was electrified by all the Case knives in the shop - ended up buying three more Case knives for himself and his wife - I think I have started him on the wrong path! OH
 
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I helped a buddy of mine this week select a whittler for his grandson's Christmas gift - he ended up with a Case Seahorse Whittler (bone-stag handles) - it was a nice looking knife and substantial too - with one of the nicest Wharncliffe blades I have handled. He was electrified by all the Case knives in the shop - ended up buying three more Case knives for himself and his wife - I think I have started him on the wrong path! OH

Your lucky to have a shop like that to go to.
 
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Feb 29, 2012
Messages
13
I have a bunch of true Flexcut whittling knives, which are purpose-built for whittling. Most are fixed blade knives in various shapes, and all have a grind around 30 degrees inclusive. One of them is a Flexcut Carvin' Jack, which is a folder that has multiple blades, all designed for carving. It is a nice knife, with curved blades, gouges, v-cut blades, etc.

You really want as flat a grind as possible for whittling, and the edge should be polished to glide through wood.

I do, however, prefer taking the "backwoods country boy" approach to whittling, where you take whatever knife you have in your pocket out and start whittling. For that I prefer a more traditional knife, and one you can use for multiple uses (like cutting up an apple).

My favorite whittler has become the now hard to find GEC courthouse whittler. It has a main wharncliffe blade with secondary pen and coping blades. The wharncliffe blade on this is perfect for whittling due to the long and pointy shape. I sharpen all the blades on this knife to 30 degrees using a Sharpmaker, and I hone them until they shave hair off my arm.

Here it is on a classic ball-in-cage carving I made, with the beginning of a wooden chain behind it.

BIC_zps0ea406d1.jpg


Keep in mind that I usually take months to whittle a project, as it is not something I do with purpose, but something I do to relax and unwind, so a project like this will use many knives, as I like to carry different knives at different times. I generally carry a multi-bladed knife, and sharpen at least one blade for general use (around 40 degrees inclusive) and at least one blade for whittling. I have several Swiss Army knives that I have done this with, usually sharpening the main spear blade at 40 degrees, and the pen blade at 30 degrees.

A stockman also makes a good whittler, and if you get the very common spey blade very sharp all the way through the radius of the tip, it comes in handy for scooping out wood.

Most of all be really careful, since when whittling you are nearly always cutting towards yourself, and a slip of the knife can lead to a nasty cut. If you are going to do a lot of whittling, use a glove on the hand you are holding the wood with, and a thumb guard on the whittling hand. Since I do a lot of impromptu whittling, I often do not have my safety measures with me, but have found that if I am slow and relaxed, and keep my knives razor sharp, I rarely have any accidents. I say rarely because I still cut myself every once in a while, so I will not recommend doing this, unless you are okay with the occasional sliced finger.

Thanks for this post DMA. I got a lot out of it. That's a nice looking pattern for the job.
 
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Mar 1, 2014
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I recently took up whittling and picked up these wood carving knives:
IMG_5884_zpsa28df21f.jpg


I don't use all of them, but here is what they are:

Left, vertical.

1. Del Stubbs Spoon Knife: I use this one to scoop out the bowls of the spoons. Works like a charm, highly recommended.

From top to bottom on the right

2. Helvie - Lovely knife, fits well in my hand, love the feel of the handle. But since I mainly whittle big things like spoons and spatulas, I really don't use it.

3. Pfeil #1 - Chip Carving Knife - cuts well, but I don't really use it for the whittling I do.

4. Mora #106 With Custom Handle. I purchased a naked Mora wood carving #106 blade and whittled my own handle from figured maple. Love how it turned out for my first attempt. (the next knife below is the normal handle) One of the knives I use most.

5. Mora #120 - Great steel and another whittling knife I use every week.

6. Rough Rider Canoe Lockback - this is my pocket whittler I carry wherever I go. Razor sharp and excellent for whittling when I am out on the beach or in the woods. I keep a small piece of wood in my jacket pocket and will whittle in food courts or while waiting for my wife by the car.

Oh and the spoon and spatula are ones I am working on in cherry wood.
 
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Also, a fine edge is a really good thing and frequent stropping or steeling to keep it straight and fine are a good thing in my observation and as said repeatedly here. Therefore, I think carbon and even the carbideless stainlesses (440A, 420HC) make good whittling steels, whereas D2 o r 440C would not. The level at which those steels will maintain a working edge is too coarse to be terribly useful and it takes more than a quick stropping or steeling to get those back into fine condition.
Coincidently, I've found my favorite whittler to be my Victorinox Pocket Pal, as noted, some of these less coarse stainlesses can get very sharp, and I can maintain the edge on mine quite well with a Black Arkansas stone, and a strop loaded with flexcut gold. Still my skills as a whittler are laughable compared to the skill of the posters in this thread. Very nice work and mods everybody. There's a book I'm reading by Chris Lubkemann (The Little Book of Whittling), and he recommends SAKs, he used a Tinker I believe, and the smaller pen blade had a Wharncliffe profile to it, I'm thinking of modifying, my Pocket Pal (an SAK with just a main blade and pen blade), to look like his. They're cheap and light enough to carry nearly anywhere.
 
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