The Difference Between Chip Carving and Whittling

Two very popular focuses within the wood carving community are Chip Carving and Whittling. While they both primarily use a knife to remove wood, the end results and carving techniques are very different.

The difference between whittling and chip carving is that with whittling, you are using a knife to shape and slice away wood to form a sculpture. On the other hand chip carving uses a knife to cut small sections, or chips, from a flat surface of wood to create intricate designs and patterns.

Both types of wood carving is very relaxing and the end results can be quite beautiful. Lets further look at what makes these two wood carving techniques different from each other.

Differences Between Knives

While you can use any knife to carve wood, whittling and chip carving have specialized knives that are designed to make the task easier and produce cleaner cuts.

The primary differences between the knives are that chip carving knives are usually short and have a downwards curve to the tip, almost looking like a claw. Whittling knives are typically straight and pointed, providing an easy edge to quickly slice away wood.

Best Chip Carving Knives

If you are going to start chip carving, it is highly recommended that you use a knife specifically designed for just chip carving. Since there are a lot of different types of chip carving knives on the market, here are some of my favorite choices on the market.

– Flexcut Chip Carving Starter Set

If you want a nice variety of different chip carving knives to get any beginner started in chip carving, look no further than the Flexcut Chip Carving Set.

This knife set comes with 3 different knives, a traditional chip carving knife, a detail chip carving knife, and a push knife, to provide you with different options when starting your chip carving journey. They all come razor sharp out of the box and are made to last a lifetime.

For the best prices, look no further than Amazon. They usually have the best availability and cheapest prices on the net. Click here to pick one up for yourself:

– OCC Tools Chip Carving Knives

For more of a hand crafted feel and a overall quality made knife, OCC Tools makes several different chip carving knives for the beginner and intermediate chip carvers.

Their knives are made with quality O1 tool steel and honed to a razor edge right from the manufacture. If you want a quality wood carving knife right from the beginning, OCC is the way to go.

There are many places that sell OCC knives, but my first stop is as they have a wide range of different tools available at great prices.

– My Chip Carving Diamond Knives

Without any question in my mind, if you are looking for a premium grade chip carving knife look no further than My Chip Carving Diamond Knives.

These knives have a very well thought out knife to allow you to easily remove wood and fit comfortably in your hands. These knives are the top tier chip carving knives and if you are serious about it, pick one of these up.

You can find these knives right on their website and you have several different options to pick from.

Best Whittling Knives

There are a bunch of whittling knives on the market and navigating through all the options can be confusing. So below I will show you 3 great options that will work perfectly for anyone getting into whittling. For my complete list of the best whittling knives check out the link below:

Helvie Knives

The absolute best whittling knives on the market are made by Helvie Knives. These are beautifully designed whittling and wood carving knives made by highly experienced makers who are themselves seasoned whittlers.

Everything about these knives from the tip of the blade to the bottom of the handle is created with care and purpose. They use high quality carbon steel and come to you honed razor sharp right from the beginning. You will have a hard time finding a better whittling knife than a Helvie knife.

To pick up yours, head over to their website and see what is available:
If you don’t see the knife you are looking for, head over to their facebook page to keep up with what they are doing and see if there are any status updates.

OCC Tools

For those of you who are looking for a hand crafted knife but want to save some money, OCC Tools will have great tools at an affordable price!

I personally like using my OCC knives and they are usually the first knives that I reach for as they come in many different sizes and shapes to fit just about any carving need. They come to you razor sharp and ready to go right from the beginning.

A great place to buy these knives is as they typically have the best availability and great prices.


For those of you who want a quality whittling knife with more availability than the others listed above, Flexcut is the way to go.

Flexcut makes quality whittling and wood carving tools with the proper edge grind and steel quality right from the beginning. That combined with their great prices and world wide availability makes these one of the best choices for any beginner.

The best places to find these knives are either on Amazon or Ebay as they typically have the best prices around. Check out both places to check availability and make sure you are getting the best deal.
Link to Amazon:
Link to Ebay:

What You Need to Start Chip Carving

For those of you wanting to get into chip carving, you really don’t need too many tools and supplies.

Here are all the tools and supplies you need to start chip carving

  • A chip carving knife
  • A flat piece of wood to carve
  • Leather strop with polishing compound to hone your blade
  • A pencil to plan out your design

If you want to get more specialized supplies, you can pick up an image transfer tool to transfer laser printer images to your wood carving so you can just print out a picture from your computer and transfer it to your carving surface, like this one on Amazon (does not work with inkjet printers)

What You Need to Start Whittling

Whittling is going to be the easiest way to get into wood carving as you may already have all the tools you need already!

Here are the tools and supplies you need to start whittling:

  • A whittling knife or pocket knife
  • Wood to carve
  • A leather strop and polishing compound to hone your blade

There are many other things you can get for whittling, but chances are you have already been whittling with your trusty pocket knife and a stick you found off the ground while camping. Most people wont ever have to buy anything extra as they have all the tools they need already.

Best Places to Learn Chip Carving and Whittling

For those of you who are beginners, you may want to learn how to make different patterns or designs and any tips to make the process easier along the way. Here are some great places to start looking that won’t cost you anything!

Whittling YouTube Channels

There are several great youtube channels that give step by step instructions on how to carve, reviews to pick out the best tools, and tips to help you learn faster. Here are 2 great places to start looking

– Carving Is Fun YouTube Channel

That’s right! the Carving Is Fun Youtube channel has loads of information designed to help beginners from picking out the right knife to using the right wood finish to protect your finished wood carving.

Check out the channel by clicking here:

– Doug Linker’s YouTube Channel

Doug Linker has one of the most popular whittling channels on Youtube and he has a bunch of different videos to help anyone get started whittling. He gives you step by step instructions to create beautiful works of art for whittlers of any experience level.

Check out his channel by clicking here:

Chip Carving YouTube Channels

If you are looking to get into chip carving, there are many different places you can look but there is really only one place to go for the best chip carving tutorials.

– My Chip Carving YouTube Channel

The My Chip Carving Youtube channel has the best design tutorials to help anyone learn the basics and hone their skills to create advanced works of art. Plus, he has a payed course on his website to bring your chip carving skills to a whole new level!

To check out his channel, click the link below:

Brian Carver

A long time carving enthusiast that enjoys carving wood and stone. The main person behind the Carving is Fun website and YouTube channel. Always has way to many carving tools and is willing to try new and exciting carving projects!

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