10 Best Whittling Knives of 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks for Wood Carving
If you are a wood whittler or woodcarver, you know how important a good knife is to your craft. When you have a dependable tool at your side, the woodworking possibilities, projects, and design ideas are endless. There is no limit to the things you can create.
So, how do you find the right knife? It’s not an easy question when whittling knives are everywhere. Not to mention, using the wrong one can cause headaches, and a few bloody fingers!
This is where we come in! In the article below, we reviewed 10 of the best whittling knives available. We will share all the details you need like blade length, handle material and design, weight, steel type, precision tips, plus much more. Regardless of your whittling level, we are confident you will find a good candidate for your skills below!
Need some extra help? Take a look at our shopping tips in the buyer’s guide after the reviews. Before that, though, take a look at which knife is our favorite and which one we think you should avoid.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Morakniv M-106-1630 Wood Carving||
|Best Value||BeaverCraft C4 Sloyd Knife||
|Premium Choice||Condor Tool & Knife Otzi Knife||
|FLEXCUT JKN88 Whittlin' Jack||
|Old Timer 24OT Splinter Carvin||
List of the 10 Best Whittling Knives
1. Morakniv Wood Carving – Best Overall
Our number one spot goes to the Morakniv M-106-1630 Wood Carving knife. This is a 3.2-inch tapered blade made of laminated steel, with an oiled birchwood handle. You will find it’s great for projects using hard or soft wood, plus any wood carving, greenwood, or whittling ideas you might have.
With the handle, the Morakniv is 7.4 inches long, and weighs a comfortable 2 ounces. The ergonomic handle can be used for extended periods, as well. What’s more, the fine pointed tip can make precision cuts, plus there is little to no drift. Nor will you find it makes many miscuts.
This whittling knife is made in Sweden and is great for beginners all the way to advanced skills. You will find that this knife maintains its razor-sharp edge and is rust-resistant. Overall, this is our favorite option for the best whittling knife.
2. BeaverCraft C4 Sloyd Knife – Best Value
If you are looking for a more affordable option, the BeaverCraft C4 Sloyd Knife is a good alternative. This whittling knife is good for the novice or the professional. The blade is made of durable, high carbon steel, and it is 3.14 inches long. This is a firm blade that will be unlikely to drift and create mistakes in your design.
The BeaverCraft has a total length of 8 inches and weighs 0.32 ounces. It maintains its razor-sharp edge and does not require frequent sharpening. What’s more, you can work with both hard and softwood whether you are wood carving, whittling, or using greenwood.
This model has a hardwood oak handle that is treated with natural linseed oil. The handle is not only comfortable to hold, but it will also not stain your skin. Additionally, the fine tip on this knife is great for precision carving.
The only drawback to this option is that it is more prone to rust if not taken care of properly. Other than that, this is the best whittling knife for the money.
3. Condor Tool & Knife Otzi Knife – Premium Choice
If whittling is your favorite hobby and you don’t mind spending a little more on a knife, our next premium option may be for you. The Condor Tool & Knife Otzi Knife is a 5.5-inch total length tool and has a 2.25-inch hand-forged steel blade. The handle is made of American hickory with recessed wire wrapping. Not only is the handle comfortable to hold, but it will not fatigue your hand after prolonged use.
The Condor Tool comes with a brown leather sheath, plus it is a durable option that can be used on soft or hardwood. It is not prone to drift, so mistakes are less likely. This is also a good option if you are a beginner. It has an attractive “flint knife look”, plus it can be used in carving, whittling, and many other wood projects.
One thing to keep in mind with this whittling knife is that it weighs 7.2 ounces making it heavier than our top two options. Beyond that, this knife is rust-resistant and maintains its razor-sharp edge for long periods. Additionally, it is 0.104 inches thick. Finally, you should note that the tip on this option is not as fine and will not create the precise cuts of our first two options.
4. FLEXCUT JKN88 Whittlin’ Jack
The FLEXCUT JKN88 Whittlin’ Jack is a dual knife that comes equipped with one 1.5-inch detail knife and a 2-inch roughing knife. It weighs 3 ounces and has an aluminum handle with walnut inlay. This is a great option if you like to drop your tool in your pocket while camping or hiking. It has a total length of 4 inches when folded shut.
One thing you want to keep in mind is that this knife is difficult to open. There are also no blade locks, so beginners should take care. Other than that, the FLEXCUT blade is made in the USA with hard carbon steel. Both blades are flexible with a sheepsfoot shape. You will experience very little drift and few miscuts, as well.
This is a great tool for moderate to advanced woodworkers as you can create many designs with sharp detail with this knife. That being said, this option will become dull quicker than some of our other picks so far. Other than that, this is a great item for working with hard or soft wood, as well as, many types of whittling projects.
5. Old Timer 24OT Splinter Carvin
Our next option is the Old Timer 24OT Splinter Carvin. This is a 6-inch total length traditional fold knife that weighs 3.9 ounces. Not only do you get a 1.5-inch detail knife made of durable high carbon steel, but this model also features nail poles, straight gouge, hook blade, v-scorp, gouge scorp, and a chisel. This multi-tool has a saw cut handle, and it’s made without a lock.
The Old Timer, although great for woodworking, camping, hunting, hiking, etc, is not easy to hold for extended periods. That being said, the heat-treated back springs ensure that the blade does not slip, plus it is slow to rust. This knife is a great option for woodworking, carving, and whittling beginners and moderate hobbists.
Something to know about this woodworking blade is that it needs to be sharpened more often than other whittling knives. Also, you will find it occasionally drifts, and you may end up with a few mistakes along the way when working with this tool. On the other hand, the slim tip is great for detailed cuts, plus it can be used on hard or soft wood. Finally, note that there is no left-handed model available at this time.
6. Flexcut KN12 Cutting Knife
If you are looking for a flexible whittling knife for your carving projects, the Flexcut KN12 Cutting Knife is just that. This option features an ash wood handle, and a 1.25-inch blade made of high carbon steel. This tool weighs 2.4 ounces, and it’s made in the USA. This is a good option for beginners and moderate woodworkers alike.
The Flexcut KN12 is durable and will not dull quickly. Though you will find there is very little drift, you will notice the knife can slip causing misplaced cuts. That being said, this is a good option for all kinds of woodworking projects including carving and whittling with soft or hard wood. Please note, however, this is not the best option for precision or detailed work.
This whittling knife is more prone to rust so extra care is recommended. Also, keep in mind, the wood handle is typically not comfortable for extended periods of work time. Finally, you will find the rounded straight edge to be durable and trustworthy.
7. Opinel Stainless Steel Folding Knife
If you prefer a whittling knife that can be folded away, the Opinel Stainless Steel Folding Knife is a good possibility. This is a 1.2-ounce woodworking tool that has a beechwood handle and measures 6.5 inches when open. It also features a safety ring and a fixed and sliding secure lock. Be advised, however; it can fold together quickly; beginners beware.
This stainless steel knife is 2.87 inches long with a sheepsfoot blade design and a precision tip. Be advised, however, you will notice some drifting while you work. What’s more, this knife will need to be sharpened often. On a brighter note, you can use this woodworking tool with hard or soft wood. The Opinel folding knife is made in France, and it’s great for the beginner or moderate whittling and carving enthusiast.
You will want to take note that this blade is prone to rusting if it’s not taken care of properly. Furthermore, the hard steel has very little lateral strength and will snap if it’s under too much pressure. To end on a positive note, however, the ergonomically designed handle is easy to grip and work with for extended periods.
8. Buck Knives 0379 Solo Folding Pocket Knife
The Buck Knives 0379 Solo Folding Pocket Knife is a clip point blade designed for fine work. The stainless steel blade is 0.375 inches thick and 2.25 inches long. It also measures 3 inches when folded shut and weighs 9 ounces.
This folding pocket knife has a wood grain handle that is very thin and can be uncomfortable to hold if you have any type of arthritis or hand pain. You will find that this option has a good amount of drift, and it creates a fair number of miscuts. What’s more, the Buck Knives pocket knife is prone to rust.
On the other hand, this option comes with a coping blade for curved cuts, and a clip point blade for final work. You should note, however, that the steel of this tool is not durable and is easily broken. What’s more, it’s recommended for use by beginners and moderate whittler’s while using soft wood. This option does not lock, either. Although, it can be hard to open. Finally, this woodworking knife has razor-sharp edges that do not dull often.
9. BPS Knives BS1S Bushcraft Knife
In the number nine spot, we have the BPS Knives BS1S Bushcraft Knife. This is a fixed blade made of carbon stainless steel that also comes with a leather sheath. It is made with an ash wood handle that is treated with linseed oil. Keep in mind, the oil is very thin or lightly used as the handle tends to be mostly raw wood. It is typically not durable, as well.
The BPS whittling knife has a razor-sharp edge but needs to be sharpened often. The blade alone is 3.7 inches while the total length is 7.1 inches. This tool weighs 3.21 ounces and is recommended for moderate to advanced woodworkers. Unfortunately, the blade (specifically the tip) tends to break. It is best used for whittling with soft wood versus any hard wood carving. Greenwood is also not recommended.
You will find some drifting with this option that may cause your hand to slip. What’s more, the handles that were treated with a more concentrated dose of linseed oil tend to stain your skin. Be that as it may, the handle is ergonomic and comfortable to hold for extending whittling sessions.
10. Boker Ts Medium Stockman Pocket Knife
Our final option is the Boker 110728 Ts Medium Stockman Pocket Knife. This tool is made with nickel silver bolsters along with high-carbon stainless steel dual blades. It also has brass linings with a jigged black bone handle. Be advised, the handle tends to slip, and the hardware is prone to rust.
When closed, the Boker knife is 3.5 inches long and weighs 3.53 ounces. When open, the main blade is 2.75 inches in length while the two smaller cutting options are 1.8 inches respectively. Unfortunately, neither blade is especially sharp, and they take a considerable amount of time to sharpen. This woodworking tool is also not recommended for detailed cuts.
Unfortunately, this whittling knife’s construction is not durable. The blades break easily, and you will find miscuts and mistakes are frequent due to drifting. This option is assembled in Germany, although, the parts are sourced from other parts of the world. It is also recommended that this knife only be used on soft wood, plus it doesn’t lock so beginners should be cautious. Overall, this is our least favorite option for a whittling knife.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Whittling Knife for Wood Carving
Whittling and carving is a hobby that many people enjoy. Those that are old hands at the skill will tell you that having a good whittling knife at your side is one of the most important parts of any woodworking project. With so many options available, though, it is difficult to pick out the right tool for you. Not only that but if you are new to this pastime, understanding the important aspects of a good whittling knife can be difficult to discern.
Below, take a look at some of our shopping tips that will further help you find the best wood carving knife.
The type of whittling knife you need can differ greatly depending on the carving project you’re working on. Below, we have listed the most common aspects of a whitling tool you want to keep an eye out for when you’re out shopping.
Important Tips for Whittling Knives
Although the items above should be important when you choose your whittling knife, there are a few other things that you want to think about before you make the final decision. Take a look at these quick tips below:
As mentioned, there are several different types of whittling knives you can choose from. Again, a lot will have to do with your personal preference, your projects, and your comfort. For example; although multi tools can be convenient if you are likely to sit in one spot to whittle away on a piece of wood, a single knife is typically more comfortable to hold.
Another important aspect of your whittling knife is its accessibility. One thing carvers love about the hobby is the ability to work on their project anywhere at any time. This should be a factor in your decision making when choosing a knife. It should be a portable blade you can slip into your pocket or attach it to your belt.
Like we talked about above, steel is the best material for your blade. For the most part, there are two types of steel blades you can choose from; either stainless steel or high carbon steel. It is important to note that stainless steel holds its sharp edge longer, but it also takes longer to re-sharpen. High carbon steel, though more expensive, are easier to sharpen and typically last longer.
Besides that, you also want to think about the blade shape and size. As far as blade size, that is generally decided on your personal preference, comfort, and type of project. When it comes to shape, though, you want to look for a sheepsfoot blade. With this type of knife, the tip is pointed outwards instead of downwards. This makes it easier to do precision cuts and create small details.
Safety is something that you should always think about regardless of whether you are a beginner or have advanced skills with a whittling knife. Be advised, many whittling knives do not lock. The reason for this is that the knife will be held open by the wood that you are carving. It is important to note, however, that the blade can shut on your fingers if you are not careful. It is a personal choice whether or not to choose a tool with a locking blade. Many woodworkers find a non-locking blade easier to work with, though.
More guides from our blog:
- Which is our favorite hook-knife for carving?
- Which Dremel is best suited for wood carving?
- 12 Free DIY Bed Frame Woodworking Plans (All Sizes)
We hope you enjoyed our reviews above and the shopping tips on the best whittling knives available. With the many choices in front of you, it can be difficult to know which one is going to be right for you. If we have helped you answer a couple of questions, or even pointed you in the right direction, we consider it a job well done.
In our opinion, Th Morakniv M-106-1630 Wood Carving Knife is the best option for the money. Not only does this whittling tool retain its sharpness, but it is typically comfortable to hold, resists rust, and allows you to create many beautiful wood projects. If you need something more affordable, however, we recommend the BeaverCraft C4 Sloyd Knife. This is also a good whittling tool that will allow you to make precise cuts and work with many different types of wood.