Basic Maintenance of Carving Tools

Carving tools work best when razor sharp with a polished edge. However, their curves and profiles make them a trickier proposition to sharpen than straight-edged woodworking tools. In this video, Christian shares a a couple of techniques for sharpening knives and gouges without the need for highly specialised equipment.

Diagnosing Dullness

Carving Tool Sharpening - Starting Out

The first step in remedying dull tools is accepting that they have a problem. Look out for a dull finish, lines through your finished surface due to small chips in your blade, and the tool requiring a lot of pressure in order to move through the cut.


Sharpening Carving Knives

Carving Tool Sharpening - Starting Out

The carving knife is one of the simpler tools in the carver's kit to work with, but still requires some practice. It can be worked over a stone, or a stone worked over it.

The key to a good result is keeping the bevel flat on the stone, and allowing for the curve of the edge as Christian demonstrates.


What about U-Gouges?

Carving Tool Sharpening - Starting Out

The u-gouge is as indispensable to the craft of carving as it is finnicky to sharpen. Adding in a supporting surface parallel to your sharpening stone is a great way of stabilising the tool and taking the guesswork out of your angle on the stone.

Questions about sharpening carving tools? Give us a call on (02) 9527 3870 or send an email to and we'll to our best to help problem solve your issues!