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  • Starter set of carving knives?

    Hi all, my partner is expressing interest in carving. Looking for advice on a decent starter set. Lee Valley has this set. Does it get a thumbs up?

    http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...32,43334,72275

    Thanks

    sophie
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  • #2

    Re: Starter set of carving knives?

    That set is sold out. Each type of carving, relief, in the round, or chip, require different tools. Buy him a membership to a carving club or just buy one good quality carving knife and that does nor include Flexcut.
    John
    sophien likes this.
    If you learn from your mistakes, then I'm getting a fantastic education.

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    • #3

      Re: Starter set of carving knives?

      I have an economical priced set of Footprint carving knives from LV. They rusted badly in just a few months while in the basement workshop. My other stuff did not rust to the extent they did.
      sophien likes this.
      Egon
      from
      The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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      • #4

        Re: Starter set of carving knives?

        IA young friend brought me a small set of Footprint chisels, for me to sharpen.
        They were made of a very soft steel and the inner channel was so rough, I would have had to regrind them.
        Told her to through them away.
        John
        sophien likes this.
        If you learn from your mistakes, then I'm getting a fantastic education.

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        • #5

          Re: Starter set of carving knives?

          Lee Valley sell excellent carving knives made in Canada by Paul Beebe; chip knives by Moor; and carving tools by Henry Taylor, Hirsch and Ramelson (IF one avoids Flexcut per John's post previous???) so the answer to your question is more complicated than what is a good beginner's set. I would suggest that you follow John's guidance and get your partner a membership. IF that is not available in your area, a conversation with your partner might narrow the search considerably!

          I know that is not very clear but carving is a rather broad category with a lot of dedicated tools/knives made for the purpose.

          Ken
          sophien likes this.

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          • #6

            Re: Starter set of carving knives?

            Originally posted by sophien View Post
            Hi all, my partner is expressing interest in carving. Looking for advice on a decent starter set.
            It may do your partner more good to get them a course or two on carving.

            Learning before buying can really make a difference in what you buy.

            sophien likes this.

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            • #7

              Re: Starter set of carving knives?

              Just as a slight side track, I (a non carver) am getting the message that Flexcut is to be avoided. And I just bought the starter knife set when LV had what seemed like a deal. What is the issue with them- too soft?

              Click image for larger version  Name:	99W8639s1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	73.5 KB ID:	1178655

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              • #8

                Re: Starter set of carving knives?

                Originally posted by [email protected] View Post
                IA young friend brought me a small set of Footprint chisels, for me to sharpen.
                They were made of a very soft steel and the inner channel was so rough, I would have had to regrind them.
                Told her to through them away.
                John
                That is what the condition of mine. Good for practice in learning mode but not making anything but fire-starter.
                Last edited by Egon; 04-11-2018, 09:48 AM.
                Egon
                from
                The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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                • #9

                  Re: Starter set of carving knives?

                  Originally posted by Kayak Jim View Post
                  Just as a slight side track, I (a non carver) am getting the message that Flexcut is to be avoided. And I just bought the starter knife set when LV had what seemed like a deal. What is the issue with them- too soft?

                  Click image for larger version Name:	99W8639s1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	73.5 KB ID:	1178655
                  Note Knife edge versus shaped chisel types that cut notches etc.

                  Egon
                  from
                  The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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                  • #10

                    Re: Starter set of carving knives?

                    Don't buy the set shown on LV. It's identical with a garbage Asian set sold by CT and others. In particular, the v-tool, one of the most important, is unusable. As sold, the blade is so thick that it takes hours of grinding to reduce it to a semblance of the correct profile, and then the metal is so inferior that it won't hold an edge.
                    I wouldn't buy a beginner's set at all. That's a bit like buying a complete set of bench chisels -- you'll find you never use some of them.
                    When you're learning, you'll find that each project you tackle, whether in a book or on a DVD, will give you a list of the chisels you need for that project -- usually 3 or 4. Buy those, then add to them if needed for each new project.
                    If you can't find a local group, you might want to try the online courses by Mary May -- the introductory ones are free: https://www.marymaycarving.com/carvingschool/
                    (Usual disclaimer). She does in fact endorse a beginner's carving set, costing just over $200, made by Pfeil, and available from Chipping Away. I don't use Pfeil myself, but they have an excellent reputation and are readily available.
                    http://www.chippingaway.com/shop/han...oodcarver-set/
                    sophien likes this.

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                    • #11

                      Re: Starter set of carving knives?

                      You could also think about getting him some dry basswood to start carving on. (not end grain slabs) It is very nice to work with vs something out of the fire wood pile. Starting with uncooperative wood might cause too much frustration. I see Lee Valley now carries a good selection.

                      I am not sure why the bashing of flex cut, I have and use this set all the time. I think for a beginner that coordinating the mallet and chisel is harder than using these palm models. I have the sharpening strop to go with them and find they work just fine for me.

                      it totally depends on what kind of carving he is interested in as mentioned before.



                      http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...,43334&p=68940

                      http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...=1,43072,43079
                      Last edited by Chimera; 04-11-2018, 02:33 PM.
                      sophien likes this.
                      When someone tells you it can't be done, it's a reflection of their limitations, not yours.

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                      • #12

                        Re: Starter set of carving knives?

                        On a slight side-track wrt to the set of Footprint small carving tools: I have a set of those that is more than 25 years old; they sharpen up fine and hold a decent edge so if you found an old set they could be a good buy. There is a big caveat to this and that is that the quality of these Footprint tools has held a steady downhill trajectory for quite some time. They have deteriorated to the point that a recent examination of the the current offering at Home Depot indicated that you should walk past them (as others have strongly hinted!) and save your money for better ones from Lee Valley, Chipping Away or one of the other vendors of high quality tools. The Footprint brand is just not a good set of tools any more IMO.

                        Back on the topic at hand: I started out with a book and the tool set that complimented it (Woodcarving by William Wheeler and Charles Hayward) that Lee Valley used to sell and have added many tools to it over the years: knives; chip carving knives; Ramelson palm handled detail set; Footprint basic carving set (as discussed; I would recommend the Ramelson set that LV sells instead); plus quite a number of other Taylor, Fiel, Record and other brand carving tools. It can be a bit of a disease after a while since there is always something else to add to the collection to make that one last type of cut!! I even have a sculptor's adze and a Veritas carver's draw knife in the cabinet; the latter is a surprisingly useful tool for carving in the round and is a very nice item in its own right! One nice thing to have is a decent set of carving knives! I want to get the Beebe knives and scorps one of these days but I make do with X-Acto carving handles and the Warren brand of blades in the interim.

                        There are other decent books that are based on fewer tools than the Hayward set; it depends on one's interests.

                        Have fun with it.

                        Ken

                        PS: I don't bash the Flexcut tools; I honestly don't know anything about them and have zero experience with them. therefore I neither endorse or denigrate them! I try to stick to endorsing the things that I own personally. Thanks for the nudge Lisa.
                        Last edited by KenL; 04-11-2018, 02:52 PM. Reason: Added a PS
                        sophien likes this.

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                        • #13

                          Re: Starter set of carving knives?

                          Beebe knives may someday become available, sadly they are mostly out of stock and have been for a least a couple of years.
                          Flexcut knives are too thick for comfortable carving. I started with them and then was introduced to good knives, the difference is night and day.
                          Buying sets of carving tools is poor economics until you know if you are going to use them. I have found I prefer carving smaller in the round stuff, I rarely use a gouge at all.
                          All I’m saying is find the direction you want carve then buy tools as you need them. Your friend may be like me and just do basic whittling.
                          John
                          sophien likes this.
                          If you learn from your mistakes, then I'm getting a fantastic education.

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                          • #14

                            Re: Starter set of carving knives?

                            As another aside to the discussion; not to hijack the thread but to fill out why I look at the craft of wood carving as I do; I started out admiring the work of Grinling Gibbons (4 April 1648 – 3 August 1721) that I saw in text books and then in person on many visits to England over the years as well as the fine collections depicted in Paul Hasluck's excellent publication; Manual of Traditional Wood Carving. Many of the objects found in that publication are on display in the Louvre and are stunning in their quality and scope.

                            My Grandfather was also an early inspiration with his whittlings for the IOOF levels he attained and the carvings of his brother who did decorative furnishings and fitments for public buildings in the period 1910-1950 or so that he was active.

                            I agree in general with the idea that you need to determine what you want to carve before you kit up but there are essential tools (sold in kits) that are requirements for each type of carving. Once you decide on a direction, kits/sets are an economical way to get a good start IMO. You can have a lot of fun with a decent pocket knife for example but it is a self-limiting way to go.

                            Just some further thoughts on the subject.

                            Ken
                            sophien likes this.

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                            • #15

                              Re: Starter set of carving knives?

                              Thanks to everyone who chimed in on this topic. Much appreciated!

                              After more prodding, I found out that my partner’s interest lies more in the spoon and small object carving than decorative rosettes, for example. Dug around the net a bit and learned how to identify old Marples vs Irwin, should I go the Kijiji route, for example.

                              sophie

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