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When people ask me what tools to buy when they start carving I often say a sharp carving knife and a large box ot Band Aids!
But the full answer I offer is based on my mistakes. Many years ago I rushed into my new love of carving by buying a large set of very good tools. And while I do fined the better the tool is made the better the work you can do with it. I found out fast the good tools do not mean good skills. I have settled in to a carving stile and size of work which I now do mostly with palm tools. Like my mallet tools It took me some time to be confidant and combatant in their use and care. Today I tell people who ask me how to get started to pick what they want to carve, Relief, caricatures, wild life, walking sticks, But just start with one... Then look at what basic tools will get you started. You can carve many things with 5 or 6 tools and a good knife. Look at you tubes ask on this site , Go to some carving shows or visit carving clubs if you have one within driving distance. As you develop your skills to will learn what you need to do your projects. Buy a tool because you need it not because you guess you should have one of those. This helps you to learn what you can or cannot do with what you have. Sadly over the years I have spent a lot of money buying tools I did not need. I just did not take the time to develop my skills with what I had. I am embarrassed by how many years and dollars it took me to learn that basic truth. I do have a large selection of tools. And I do use them all at some time or the other. But I do 90+% of my work with 3 different carving knives and 10 drake palm tool. I said all of that to say start very basic. Learn to use your tools they will teach you what you need.
 

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Back in history, the Norwegians had a very strong craft guild system (sort of like our unions). For that reason farmers and other folks were not allowed to own chisels and woodworking tools. If you ever see a picture of a rural farmer-built home in Norway with the dragons heads and bric a brac all carved on it, it was all done with just an axe and a knife.
 

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rather than talk about what tools ,just thought i would show what i have used to carve mostly unfinihed toppers

it just depends what your carving or what you want to do there is no rules

my most used tool is a pencil without the design scaled to the right size it wouldnt work but that is just my way of working

the rest are just simple common tools apart from the bandsaw which is used to cut the blank

all in the glory hole or shed whatever you call it

All made to be interchangeable

terrible phots

Hand tool Wood Tool Plant Art Wood Natural material Toy Art Tool Automotive design Organism Art Font Line
 

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Less gouges than I would expect in that lineup.

Your toppers look to be coming along well.

(No, I'm not going to start carving any time soon)

Rodney
 

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Anything that cuts, and a Stanley Knife is a good starter no need to sharpen just swap the blade, talking band aids recently invested in full set of 14 Flexcut RG series power gouges, and there was a yellow plastic box in the bottom of the box took it out and turned it over - a full band aid dispenser - is this a warning :)
 
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