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Seeking knife advice from pro's on whittling/woodcarving

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Japida, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Japida

    Japida

    1
    Aug 20, 2015
    Hi everyone, newbie here so feel free to let me know if this isn't posted in the right area or anything else I might be doing wrong including writing WAY too much (just went back and read everything I wrote) but I figured this was a good place to start.
    Anyways, I'm just getting started in whittling and I've been looking at different knives for a week or two and I've narrowed it down to a few different patterns. First, the Case Seahorse appeals to me. I'm a fan of the look/function of a wharncliffe and the Seahorse has a nice blade on it. My only thoughts are how does it feel in your hand when using one of the secondary blades and you have that giant crescent sticking out of the handlel? Seems like it would be pretty uncomfortable. The other knife I'm interested in is a GEC 62 Maverick. All around a nice little pocket knife, good for whittling and a blade configuration that I'm fond of. However, the wharncliffe (what I would consider the main blade used in whittling, shares it's side with another blade. Enter the elusive GEC #62 Courthouse whittler. In my opinion this would be the "ultimate" blade configuration. Wharncliffe main blade using both springs of the secondary pen and coping blades. In a perfect world, this is what would be resting in my pocket on a daily basis. As luck would have it, I've found one for sale for $150 shipped. The issues I have with it, however, are that it has the Spring Tulip acrylic handle. Whule it does look rather beautiful, I prefer either a King wood or rosewood handle. Also, it is the Tidioute brand which is kind of the "base model" nothing fancy just a good plain knife, perfectly acceptable. Again, however, I'd prefer a Northfield because of its added craftsmanship and artistry. Also, this knife is one of only 11 made.
    Basically I want to know if I'm just being ridiculous in questioning whether I should purchase the Courthouse because while I love the configuration, I'm not fond of all of its particulars though I'm not completely turned off by them either. Is it really more of a collectors item, manufactured to sit in a display case or can it be a daily use item? Am I paying for the quality or collectability? Should I just skip all these knives altogether and go for a Flexcut Whittlin' Jack or Tri-Jack?
    I'm in serious need of advice.....
     
  2. yablanowitz

    yablanowitz

    Apr 14, 2006
    If you have found a Courthouse Whittler, buy it. Or tell me where so I can. Mine has done a lot of whittling as well as some everyday chores. The Maverick is another nice package, but I prefer the Courthouse myself.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Case Seahorse is actually pretty comfortable in my large hands for long sessions using the pen or coping blades. Personally, I found the main blade too thick for my taste until it spent some quality time on a belt sander.

    [​IMG]

    You can whittle with anything sharp enough. Only you can decide what will suit you the best. I've seen others do amazing work with knives I wouldn't even consider, and my most-used whittling knife is an old Schrade that had both blades broken when I got it. they've been reshaped and reground into something quite useful.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. KBA

    KBA Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 27, 2014
    Japida, welcome to the forum. You posted in the correct area, though I do believe there is a whittling area somewhere, I just cant remember where.

    As a beginner all knives will work. All pocket knives will feel different depending on the individual using them. The ones you mentioned are all great knives. Even the common stockman is another used frequently.

    I personal would not spend 150 on just a blade configuration that I did not really want. The 62 courthouse is an amazing whittler from what I have read but by rule, I don't buy something I only like half way.

    My suggestion would be try a cheaper whittler to see if you enjoy the craft before worrying about the "perfect" knife. Your perfect knife may be one you havent even found yet.

    Of the three mentioned I would go with the Maverick.

    Another to look for is the 57 whittler with the wharncliffe main.

    As far as the collectability of a knife, I would still use a 1 of 1 or a 1 of 10 and collect a history with it giving it more of a personal value, but that's just me.

    Good luck with craft and search
     
  4. mrszeontestpilot

    mrszeontestpilot

    372
    Mar 28, 2012
    The Case Seahorse Whittler is a good one. I haven't used it extensively yet, but haven't noticed the main blade being very irritating while using the smaller blades. Certainly more comfortable than a poky clip blade on some Rough Rider double lockbacks I have and have used a lot for whittling. I've never owned anything made by GEC, so I don't know anything about that area, but I agree with KBA in that I wouldn't spend that much on a knife I'm not crazy about. Good things can be had for much less than that. Also, congress knives can be very useful for whittling, if you're open to suggestion.
     
  5. Mr. Chips

    Mr. Chips

    312
    Apr 3, 2012
    I have been whittlin' for over 60 years. Have been teaching it for 30. Hundreds of pocketknives have been used during that time. I have a Case Seahorse, that I really wanted, and tried to love - but I don't.

    Recently I got a Grinling Whittler. (GEC 38 - Ebony) Awesome! My go to whittler these days.

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    If you can afford the Courthouse Whittler - go for it. You will be happy with it.

    Or - Get a few Rough Riders in various patterns to try them out. They are pretty good knives - as good or better than many that cost a LOT more.

    The main thing - LEARN TO SHARPEN - really sharp. Forget the gizmos and machines. A Norton India stone and a strop with white or green compound and you are good to go.

    Forget the Flexcut Whittlin Jack with all the tools! Way overpriced, with not very handy tools. Tri Jack? Better off with a Rough Rider. ( I have tried these things - not impressed.) Way better off!

    Send me a PM if you want and I can tell you about some books that I have written etc. that will be helpful
     
  6. george c

    george c

    66
    Jan 26, 2013
    Hi Mr. Chips,

    Based on your comment about the 38 I am all set to buy one. No, I truly do not need another knife. Anyway,
    then saw a Geppetto Clip Whittler available new. Yes, I know it's a little shorter...about 3 1/2.

    If you don't mind Mr. Chips, what are your thoughts on the Geppetto Clip Whittler vs the 38.

    Thanks for any comments.

    Regards,

    George
     
  7. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    The contact will have to be through Visitor Message or email. PMs are limited to those with paid memberships.
     
  8. KBA

    KBA Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 27, 2014
    I wouldn't mind reading your thoughts on these 2 as well. If memory serves me right, I believe you used an ebony 57 whittler as well.
     
  9. Mr. Chips

    Mr. Chips

    312
    Apr 3, 2012
    I have not tried one, but I did trick up a Colt whittler to be pretty much like the Gippetto, and I liked it, though not as much as the 38. 3 1/2" is a little short for my hand.

    The 38 is just about the perfect mix of pocketability and enough of a fistful for me.

    I would be more than willing to try a Gippetto whittler, but I can't buy them all!
     
  10. Mr. Chips

    Mr. Chips

    312
    Apr 3, 2012
    I have never used a 57, but would be willing to give one a try!

    The 38 has a perfectly ground master blade - read that "thin", that with a good edge on it, just cuts like crazy. The secondary blades are nice and thin too and do detail whittlin' just like the old ones.

    I have a few really old pocketknives, from US and Sheffield cutlers and it seems that in the past, the makers knew that knives were supposed to cut! Accordingly they ground them thin so that they would.

    GEC seems to know this
     
  11. Mr. Chips

    Mr. Chips

    312
    Apr 3, 2012
    Of course.

    Sorry for using the wrong term
     
  12. george c

    george c

    66
    Jan 26, 2013
    Hi Mr. Chips,

    Thanks for your quick response. Yes, just ordered a rosewood 38 from Mike. KBA, Mike at collectorknives has a 38 and a 57.

    Again, thanks Mr. Chips...

    Regards,

    George
     
  13. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    Fair enough. Some folks get confused. Not realizing that PMs go with paid memberships, they can't figure out why someone has not contacted them via PM.
     
  14. pertinux

    pertinux

    Feb 1, 2012
    George,

    I'm a day late and you're now some dollars short (heh), but I'll go ahead with my comparison anyway.

    First, you've ordered an excellent knife, as per Mr. Chips' endorsement-- high praise, indeed.

    I hope (and expect) it will serve you well for your intended purpose, but even more, I consider the #38 whittler one of GEC's preeminent pieces-- one of the knives I can show someone as an example of [what I consider] the pinnacle of current modern production, in its lines and execution, without having to explain (let alone defend) idiosyncrasies of design choice.

    The #57 Gepetto is a great little knife, and (was) worthy of your consideration, with a pleasing blade-to-handle-ratio (when whittling or carving, a longer handle in proportion to blade length can be a big plus). However, as Mr. Chips posits above, its slightly shorter length does 'tell' in hand, especially over time.

    Here are r8shell's quick thoughts and comparison pictures from another thread:
    Here are my #38 rosewood and #57 primitive bone together:

    [​IMG]

    The #57's frame is slightly taller throughout...
    [​IMG]

    ... while the knife itself feels thinner than the #38, even if it's (almost) too close to call:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Like r8shell's, my Gepetto sports a needle-nosed wharncliffe main blade, with clip and coping secondaries:
    [​IMG]

    Emphasis on, needle-nosed!
    [​IMG]
    ... at least until I try to sharpen it. :eek:

    Primary blades; notice how both knives' secondaries neatly disappear into the handle, leaving the main blade the most comfortable choice (as with most true whittlers, but fun to note-- how sleekly the frames absorb the two secondary blades):
    [​IMG]

    Even so, you can see how the #38's extra length helps even here-- there's more grip room forward of the secondary blades' spines.

    Coping secondary blades:

    [​IMG]


    Both knives are decently comfortable, but here the #38's clip blade's spine contours are more forgiving than the #57's wharncliffe -- which is true across patterns, when using a secondary blade with a clip blade main vs. one with a wharncliffe.

    Similarly, the clip and pen secondaries on the respective knives:
    [​IMG]


    Short answer:

    You chose well. :thumbup:

    I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of the #38. :)

    ~ P.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  15. george c

    george c

    66
    Jan 26, 2013
    Hi Pertinux,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to re-post and make comments. Absolutely great information and photos.

    I have impaired judgement and no impulse control. I stayed away from the forum for a few months. Recently came back and now have two of the beer knives and a couple more Opinels.....also, one on reserve with Mike and a 38 on the way....would almost be embarrassed to tell you how many carvin and whittlin'-type knives I have.

    A couple weeks ago dragged out all of my partially finished projects. I have a bunch of dried twigs and a years supply of bass wood.

    Hey, this knife will guide my hand when I whittle, won't it.

    Again, thanks so much.

    Regards,

    George
     
  16. SunsetFisherman

    SunsetFisherman

    315
    Feb 4, 2012
    Good bit of whittling discussion under "The Workshop" in the Activities, Training & Skills Development section. One of my favorites for small carving is a case mini copperhead
     
  17. mrknife

    mrknife Gold Member Gold Member

    May 9, 2010
    that tiny blade there, constant sharpening? or customization?
     

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