The most basic tool that a carver needs is a knife and a strop to keep it razor sharp. It is highly recommended that a beginner carver buy tools that are already sharpened and ready to use. (*Hint – Flexcut brand)
* Sharp tools are safer than dull tools. A sharp tool will cut through the wood fibers cleanly while a dull tool will catch in the wood causing you to apply more pressure which can result in the tool “springing” out and resulting in possible injury to you or the tool.
In the world of wood carving, you need to know the difference between sharpening and honing your tools.
Sharpening your tools means to shape the actual cutting angle of the steel edge and is done with hard abrasives such as a diamond plates, sandpaper, or grinding stones.
* Sharpening your tools takes as much knowledge and skill as wood carving itself. Nothing will shut down the joy and positive experience of carving as trying to do it with dull tools.
Honing your tools is something you do every 20-30 min of carving to maintain the cutting edge. You do this with a fine polishing compound with a leather strip or a felt/cotton polishing wheel.
* Once the cutting edge is sharpened (shaped), it will generally stay that way unless you drop it and nick the edge.