Best Wood Carving Chisels and Gouges on Amazon!

Carving chisels and gouges are probably the most iconic tools in anyone’s mind, but they are also the most copied and has the most garbage tools littered all over Amazon.

I personally have purchased and tested quite a bit of what is out there and I have boiled it down to the following companies for anyone who is looking for something decent.

Not only will I show you what brands to get, but give you some suggestions for tool sets to start you off on your journey!

Before we start….

We have all heard of the “good, fast, cheap, pick two” statement when it comes to quality products right? Well there is something similar for carving tools; “sharp, consistent, cheap, pick two.”

Basically the categories of the thousands of dollars of tools I have come across fall under the following categories:

  • If it’s sharp and consistent, it’s not cheap
  • If it’s consistent and cheap, it’s not sharp
  • If it’s cheap and sharp, its not consistent
  • If you manage to find something with all 3, so has everyone else and expect a loooooong wait list.

Keep this in mind when shopping around for carving tools, sacrifices have to be made somewhere and the good stuff costs money.

Best Overall – Pfeil

Now, I may not be a fan of Pfeil knives, but I am a BIG fan of their chisels and gouges!

Of all the carving tools, Pfeil stands out above the rest on Amazon as the most iconic and the most plentiful. If you want a quality made wood carving gouge and/or chisel and you don’t mind dropping a significant amount of cash, this is your one and only stop. These tools Fall under my “are sharp and consistent, but not cheap” graph above.

They have a bunch of sets out there, and Pfeil tools come in two tool sizes, Intermediate and Full Sized. Here’s the difference for you.

Pfeil Tool Dimension
IntermediateFull Sized
Overall Length8 inches 10 inches
Blade Length3.5 inches4.5 inches
Handle Length4.5 inches5.5 inches
Handle Diameter5/8 inch1 inch

Realistically, both will get the exact same job done for any carving project with the same size cutting edge. One is just smaller overall than the other and may fit smaller hands. Also, depending on where you look and if it is part of a kit, the Intermediate tools may average between $5 and $15 dollars cheaper per tool.

Now if you want a set, I strongly believe in less is more here. You don’t need a 20 piece set or bigger, especially if you are getting started. A basic 6 to 12 piece set will more than get the job done for you. And if you are on a budget but want something good, the 3 piece sets are more than adequate to get started with. Here are some good suggestions for any beginner:

  • 3 Piece Intro Set – Realistically, this is all you will need to do a lot of small to medium carvings and is what I keep in my traveling carving kit:
  • 6 Piece Professional Set – If you want just a little more than the intro set, I would jump to this one as you get more sizes to choose from:
  • 12 Piece Brienz Set – This is my go-to carving set, its the full sized set and has a beautiful spread of exactly the right tools I will realistically use for every carving:

VERY Close Second – Two Cherries (Kirschen)

Looking for a carving set that comes in pretty boxes? Two cherries may be the answer!

I find that the overall quality is the same as Pfeil, but just looks and feels nicer in the hands. The only downside is the kits are limited and then you have to buy the individual tools by themselves if you want something specific. Still, they are great tools and I myself have the set shown above and a regular flat chisel set.

Just like Pfeil, these tools Fall under my “are sharp and consistent, but not cheap” graph above. But if you want to get into carving and want one of the Two Cherries sets, here are my recommendations:

  • 7 Piece Set with Box – All you will need and then some to get into wood carving. Buy it and be done, just give the knives themselves a good sharpen and hone first:
  • 11 Piece Set with Box – The set that I use personally and is shown above, really nice set for anyone looking to get into wood carving. Again, just sharpen the knives first:

Affordable and Good – Schaaf Tools

Not all of us can afford Pfeil or Two Cherries, but what about something close? That’s where Schaaf Tools comes into play!

These tools have similar look and feel but are available at a fraction of the price, making it great for someone to get into carving without that financial barrier to entry!

These tools fall under my “cheap and sharp, but not consistent” category and the consistency is in regards to fit and finish. Sometimes the tools have some variances to how they sit in the wood and the straightness of the cutting edge. For the vast majority of beginners, this wont be a problem at all so if you want a good cheap set, this is one of the few I recommend.

If you must know, my primary “issue” with the tools are the edges can be a little wavy and not straight and their v-gouges are a bit round instead of a sharp v. But for the price I’m paying for them, I’m ok with that.

Schaaf also knows that not everyone wants the same thing so they have a few sets for different peoples needs:

  • 7 Piece Set – This is ideal for those of you just looking for some thing to get started with. It will supply you with the basics to learn from:
  • 12 Piece Set – Comes with a few more tools if you feel like you need “a few extra” to play around with, great for learning on:
  • 4 Piece Detail Set – This is a beautiful set and I keep it around to add to my Pfeil set. The fishtail design allows me to get into tight corners and add some nice detail:

Cheap but Worth It – Mastercarver

The last one I’m going to suggest here are from Mastercarver. If for some reason you just don’t like ANY of the tools above I suggest you give these a shot as they have a slightly different feel to them.

These are decent quality tools and it sorta has a balance of the sharp, cheap, and consistent thing going on, but the edges aren’t exactly “super sharp” and the end product looks a bit rough. I do highly recommend giving these a good hone on a leather strop for a bit before use and ignore the rough look.

Regardless, they do make a good enough tool at a great price, but I personally feel like their larger kits are a bit excessive on similar shapes. Plus, the fishtail design allows you to get into tight places and make some clean cuts compared to the others above.

I may have the 20 piece set pictured above, but I gave my 10 piece set to someone new to carving and she loves them! Start off with the 10 piece set and go from there: