Wood carving is both a craft and a form of art, one that has persisted since the dawn of mankind, and one that still sees a lot of use today. Indeed, it is still very widely practiced today by hobbyists and professionals alike. Indeed, wood is a wonderful and surprisingly easy material to shape: it is neither as hard nor as heavy as rock, and it does not need the constant hammering into shape needed for sculpting metals such as bronze and iron. One of the biggest appeals of wood carving, however, may be the fact that one only needs a simple set of good wood carving tools in order to carve.
The basic set of tools needed by any woodworker has hardly changed through time. Even in this age of advanced woodworking technologies, these simple tools persist, requiring only a pair of strong hands and a good helping of elbow grease in order to work wood. The following are what are most often considered to be the essentials, the most basic wood carving tools:
Gouges – The category of carving tools with curved edges, these are often used for creating hollows and curves along wooden surfaces, and may be the most used type of all wood carving tools.
Chisels – Wood carving tools that have straight edges, these are used for carving wood along straight lines and sometimes to keep surfaces flat.
Carving Knives – These are the probably the simplest of the wood carving tools discussed here. These are nothing more than simple knives that are created for cutting through wood, often used to pare layers off of wood or to make wooden surfaces smoother.
V-Tool – These are used for parting wood, and in some cases, to make lines in fat areas of wood more emphasized.
Sharpeners – These consist of various stones with differing degrees of roughness, used to sharpen the wood carving tools of a woodworker into different degrees of sharpness and fineness.
In addition, one may also place on this list the various pieces of protection that are commonly used by woodworkers:
Carving Gloves – These are thick gloves that are specially created to withstand, or at least, reduce the impact made by the sharp edges of a carving tool if it accidentally cuts at the hand of the woodworker. These may be made from a variety of materials.
Thumb Guards – These are smaller pieces of protection, made especially to protect the thumb of a woodworker from wayward blades of chisels, gouges and knives. This is also the option chosen by those woodworkers who find carving gloves too large and unwieldy to work with.
Lists between different types of woodworkers may vary: some may greatly benefit with the help of electric woodworking tools, while some may appreciate smaller, lighter tools in order to work wood into finer formations. But these are, more or less, the basic wood carving tools needed by any woodworker.