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Carving Tools & Accessories

Carving is an ever-popular recreational pastime that continues to attract more and more participants year on year.  It is certainly one of the pastimes most commonly taken up as a retirement hobby, though what this tells us about retirement, or carvers, I hesitate to guess.  We have gathered together on this page tools that will appeal to both the beginner and the committed expert, including, standard carving tools and tool sets, economy carving tool sets and the revolutionary Flexcut flexible tools as well as carver's mallets (which are not the same as joiner's mallets ) and carving clamps.  If you seek hand protection in the form of cut resistant gloves, please refer to the Protective Clothing page.

Henry Taylor Carving Tools

One of the oldest names in the woodcarving tools world, Henry Taylor still produce a vast range of excellent woodcarving tools in a range so varied that few modern manufacturers would even contemplate such a commitment to the world of carving.  We stock an extensive selection of these fine tools but have long shrunk away from the challenge of adequately representing them on the web.  As a compromise (quitter!!) we have made it possible to download a copy of the Sweep Chart (a.k.a. "Sheffield List") for the standard carving tools range.  The chart is fairly large despite our best attempts to compromise but should enable you to select suitable tools from the range.  We will obtain any tools that are not in our stock range, both from this standard range of tools or from any other part of the Taylor range.  Please telephone or email us with your requirements.  Download Henry Taylor Sweep Chart.

Robert Sorby Carving Tools & Sets

Many of the tools on this page rely heavily on the 200-plus years of experience that Robert Sorby bring to hand tool manufacture.  The salient features of these fine tools are described in the panel to the left, below.  Some of the other items, such as the mallets, that may be required in the carver's toolkit are offered at the foot of this page.

The shape of the cross-section, or "sweep" of these gouges is defined by the "Sheffield List".  The copy provided on this site is approximately to scale but the vagaries of web graphics prevent our being able to give more than a reasonable indication of the respective cutting edge profiles.

 

Carving chisel sets: whilst it is not essential to have dozens of tools to start carving, it is generally true that you will need more than one!  Most experienced carvers seem to end up with hundreds of tools - but that may simply be a disease!  To simplify the task of knowing where to start, here are a couple of sets of commonly-used tools that will get the beginner set off in the right direction.  It is recommended that one starts with the "Basic Set" and later supplements this with the "Extension Set" shown.

Basic Set Contents:

  • 6002 3/8inch Carving Chisel - Skew Chisel
  • 6004 1/2inch Carving Chisel - Straight Gouge
  • 6005 1/4inch Carving Chisel - Straight Gouge
  • 6007 1/8inch Carving Chisel - Straight Gouge
  • 6016 3/8inch Carving Chisel - Bent Gouge
  • 6039 1/8inch Carving Chisel - Vee Tool

Extension Set Contents:

  • 6001 3/8inch Carving Chisel - Square-end chisel
  • 6002 1/8inch Carving Chisel - Skew Chisel
  • 6004 1/4inch Carving Chisel - Straight Gouge
  • 6004 3/4inch Carving Chisel - Straight Gouge
  • 6005 1/8inch Carving Chisel - Straight Gouge
  • 6005 1/2inch Carving Chisel - Straight Gouge
  • 6006 3/8inch Carving Chisel - Straight Gouge
  • 6008 3/4inch Carving Chisel - Straight Gouge
  • 6011 1/16inch Carving Chisel - Veiner
  • 6014 3/4inch Carving Chisel - Bent Gouge
  • 6027 3/8inch Carving Chisel - Spoonbit Gouge
  • 6039 1/4inch Carving Chisel - Vee Tool
 

Economy Carving Tool Sets from Hamlet Craft Tools

Click for alternative imageEconomy Starter Carving Tool Sets:  We appreciate that the cost of getting started in carving can seem very steep!  We therefore offer the following British made, quality carving tool set from Hamlet Craft Tools as a way of "easing the burden" of getting onto the ladder.  In every way to the same high quality as their other tools, these carving chisel sets are an ideal starting point for the aspirant carver

The HCT 046 basic set includes the following tool selection;-

  • 3/8" #2 Skew;
  • 3/4" #4 straight gouge;
  • 1/4" #5 straight gouge;
  • 1/8" #7 straight gouge;
  • 3/8" #16 bent gouge
  • 1/8" #39 vee tool.

 

New Tools for an Old Craft: Carving Tools & Sets from Flexcut

Click for larger imageFlexcut Carving Tool Sets:  Every once in a while some bright individual happens along who applies a whole new way of thinking to a problem.  One such case is Flexcut.  Until now, every carver had to learn to manipulate his tools and often contort his body to create the cuts needed to produce the workpiece.  But then Flexcut found a way to make the tool itself do its share of bending and contorting, and in the process a whole new style of carving tool was born.  These tools, made of spring steel actually flex under carving pressure, adapting themselves to the shape of the cut being made and allowing cuts in places you never thought posible with conventional tools.  We are currently offering a selection of packages of these tools, each comprising a handle into which the interchangeable blades are fitted plus a selection of most-used blades.  Individual Flexcut carving blades, and handles in which to mount them, are listed below.

 

Carver's Mallets

We stock a unique carver's mallet hand-turned to our design specification for us by a local turner (who also does some carving!).  These are turned in one piece from a selection of domestic hardwoods to the classical shapes.  We have described these, as far as possible, in the table below, but please bear in mind that these are approximate descriptions to aid selection and the product you receive will be guaranteed unique.  These mallets are supplied in the 'as turned' state and we would recommend a good soaking in linseed oil to condition them before use.

The lignum vitae mallets we formerly offered are no longer available due to export restrictions on lignum vitae, which has suffered plundering like so many other woods.

 

WivaMac Carver's Clamps

'Get a Grip' might be a very apposite saying for woodcarvers.  Not only is a firm hold on the workpiece essential for crisp and accurate carving but it is a great contribution to safety.  We are proud to present the range of carver's clamps created by WivaMac, in Belgium, which offers a choice of models to suit differing needs and pockets.  All are typified by one thing: robust construction, made to give a lifetime of service.

(Left to Right) SPB1020; SPB1015 and SPB1050 Carving clamps from WivaMac

NB:  The statuette shown on the product photos (when clicked) is 260 mm (10.25 inches) tall - this is to assist with understanding the respective sizes of these various products.

The SPB1019 Click for photo of this product is the lightest in the range (but still more than 4 kg in weight!) and offers excellent access to the workpiece from all directions.  Mounted onto the bench by a sturdy clamp block, the unit consists of two 1 in (25 mm) diameter arms held perpendicular to each other by a robust lever clamping mechanism.  This allows freedom of movement in all axes as well as enabling the posts to be raised/lowered and moved in and out with respect to the  baseplate.  The workpiece is mounted onto a faceplate approx 120 m in diameter.  A very versatile clamp indeed which also forms the foundation of our woodturner's carving clamp.

For ultimate workholding power coupled with ease of use and multi-axis movement the SPB1050 Click for photo of this product comes into its own.  The carving world has seen ball-based carving clamps come and go over the years but I certainly have never seen one as well-proportioned and as easily used as this device.  Whilst giving outstanding clamping this clamp is operated with a single substantial lever which enables the 80 mm diameter ball to be clamped solidly anywhere in its range of movement, giving unhindered access to the workpiece.

DB1500 Woodturners carving clamp from WivaMacWith the growth in interest in carving on turned workpieces, the DB1501 Turner's Carving Clamp Click for photo of this product is a real boon.  Based on the well-proven SPB1015 clamp, this version is designed to fit into the toolpost socket on the lathe banjo and provides a thread onto which the chuck can be mounted so that a turned piece can be transferred back and forth between lathe and and carving clamp without ever needing to remove the workpiece from the chuck.  This also obviates the need to create a holding device to secure the piece whilst it is carved and eliminates the risk of damage to the workpiece whilst it is secured in such a 'Heath Robinson' device.  Because turners may also wish to mount their work away from the lathe a supplementary base (DB1510) is also available, designed for mounting on a bench, so that all the features of this great clamp can be used without standing at the lathe.

 

*NB: Prices quoted in pounds sterling. 
Value Added Tax will be added to invoices to EU residents unless
a valid VAT registration number is quoted when ordering.

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1997-2010 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley. 
Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice