One of the beautiful things about spoon carving is that you can start with a very basic kit of tools. All you need is an axe, a sloyd knife, and a hook knife. My suggestion is to start simple with these two knives:
I also really like the Mora 120 Straight Knife because it has a small blade and I find that adaptable in some carving. I own the Mora 164 Hook Knife too, but I’ve cut my fingers many times on the curved tip. Some carvers have told me that they grind the point off. Overall, while I think that the Mora straight, or sloyd, knives are an affordable workhorse that gets the job done, I’m not that impressed with their hook knives.
You’ll need an axe, and if you’re just starting out you can use any small axe that you have as long as it’s sharp. I picked up a roofer’s axe at a rummage sale, and after sharpening it, I love using it. However, the axe that I use most often is my Gransfors Bruks Carving Axe. I like the weight and works perfectly for hewing and roughing out billets. I also own a Robin Wood Carving Axe. It’s a lighter weight which I appreciate if I am doing a lot of roughing out or making billets.
More recently, there’s been a buzz about the Kalthoff axe. Many carvers have said that they love it, but I haven’t tried one yet.
I’m a bit of a tool junkie, so I’ve bought a lot of knives. As you increase your tool kit beyond the basics, here are some toolmakers I have purchased from that I would suggest that you check out:
Ash & Axe
Hewn & Hone
Luke Jepson – occasional knifemaker, but he made one of my favorite sloyd knifes.
Pinewood Forge – Del Stubbs is a legend and makes great knifes.
Reid Schwartz – I only own one of his knives so far, but it is by far my favorite hook knife.
Robin Wood (Wood Tools)
Temple Mountain Woodcraft – Matt White’s knives are well worth the wait to get them.
Some other tools that I use are Peavey shingle froe, Pfeil Carver’s Drawknife and Pfeil Scorp. I rarely use the scorp, but I love using drawknives with my spoon mule. I found a pair at a rummage sale and they work great after being sharpened, but my Ray Iles drawknives are by far my favorite.
Other tool makers that I have not explored yet:
Rhys M. Harris
Jerboa Carving Tools
Runes and Knives
The Spoon Crank
Richard J. Weaver
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