How to Start Whittling – Everything You Need to Know

Whittling is a time-honored hobby that is enjoyed by people of all ages across the world. Because of its simple requirements and unlimited carving possibilities, many people find whittling to be a highly rewarding hobby.

The easiest way to start whittling is to find a nice stick or scrap piece of wood, a quiet spot to sit, and start slicing off wood with your trusty pocket knife. You can also buy wood that either come in blocks or pre-cut with various shapes and use specialized whittling knives to carve with.

Many parents who enjoy whittling themselves want to show their children the joys and creativeness that whittling has to offer and often ask “at what age should you start whittling?”

A child can start whittling as young as age four with parental guidance and being taught proper knife safety when whittling. Many parents will teach their children while camping or in the back yard and is important that they know to keep their fingers away from the blade.

Can you Whittle With Any Knife?

If you are looking to get into whittling, you may wonder what kind of knife you may need, or even if you favorite pocket knife that travels with you everywhere is a viable option.

You can whittle with any knife that you are comfortable using and can use to make small and intricate cuts in wood. Ideally, you want your whittling knife’s blade to be less than 3 inches long and honed razor sharp. You can whittle with just about any pocket knife available and are usually one of the best options to start whittling with.

Now, you may be looking at your pocket knife right now and are wondering if it will work for you. Lets go on to the next section to see if it is a good fit.

What Kind of Knife is Best for Whittling?

When picking out a dedicated whittling knife, there are some qualities that make one knife better than another like steel quality, blade design, edge grind, and even how the handle is shaped. Just about any knife that is designed for whittling will cover these points and make your overall whittling experience that much better.

For beginners, whittling knives made from Flexcut or OCC Tools will give you a great start of what a good whittling knife should be. If you want to see a list of the absolute best whittling knives on the market, click the link below:

What Do You Need to Start Whittling?

Many people start worrying about all the things that they might need to start whittling, but not realize that they may already have everything they need to whittle already!

All you need to start whittling is a nice whittling knife or pocket knife, some wood to whittle with, and a way to keep your knife honed razor sharp!

For a complete dive into everything you need, check out the video above from virtually free to buying quality tools.

Your whittling knife can really be any knife you are comfortable using, the wood can be either a stick on the ground or purchased at a hardware store, and your sharpening tools should have the ability to hone your blade to a nice razor edge.

Best Beginner Whittling Knives

If you are new to whittling, you may be overwhelmed by all the options on the market or confused as to what may be a good knife to start off with.

There are many different companies who make some great knives but only a few I would recommend for beginners to get started with as their blades are designed with beginners in mind. If you want a rundown of the best whittling knives on the market, check out my list linked below:


One of the most popular whittling and wood carving tools on the market for both beginners and experienced whittlers alike is Flexcut. They offer quality knives and carving tools at a great price!

Flexcut knives come from the manufacture honed razor sharp, have a comfortable handle for allowing for long whittling sections, and often sell their tools in small kits that give you everything you will need to get started.

For my full review and the best places to buy Flexcut knives, check out the link below:

OCC Tools

Another great option for quality whittling knives are one of my favorites, OCC Tools. These knives are hand crafted and come with a very well designed blade to easily slice right through wood.

Just like the Flexcut knives, OCC Tools are very well priced and come honed razor sharp right from the manufacture. The only thing some people may not like is the simplistic shape of the handles. However, OCC does offer several different handle styles and I find that you don’t notice the shape after whittling with them for a while.

For my full review and list of best palaces to buy OCC Knives, check out the link below:

Where to Find Wood for Whittling?

Picking the right kind of wood can be quite important for someone just getting into whittling. Each kind of wood has its own characteristics like how dense the wood is or how fine and consistent the grain is.

The best kind of wood to carve for beginners is basswood as it is soft enough to easily carve with a knife but dense enough to hold small details. This wood can be found at many craft stores, dedicated wood carving stores, and even on ebay and amazon.

My personal favorite wood to carve is air dried basswood as it is typically much easier to carve than the regular basswood commonly found on the market (click here to find some on Ebay). To learn more about what kind of wood to buy, watch the video below.

More Whittling Tips and Resources

If you want to learn more about whittling, find step-by-step whittling guides, and learn more about different tools, check out my One Stop Whittling Resource linked 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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