As I was looking around for a nice set of whittling knives, OCC woodcarving tools were constantly being recommended. Everyone spoke quite highly of these tools so I had to check them out for myself!
OCC Tools are made by Mike Shipley and offer high quality whittling knives at an affordable price. OCC uses O1 tool steel for their knives and gouges, and have excellent edge retention. As an added bonus, they come razor sharp out of the box, making them a great option for anyone starting their wood carving journey.
|Steel||O1 Tool Steel|
|Rockwell Hardness (RC)||59|
|Sharp After 30 Min||Yes|
|Average Price||$23 – $28|
|Recommended for Beginners||Yes|
What I Liked
OCC whittling knives are quickly becoming one of my favorite set of wood carving knives, even rivaling my fondness of FlexCut Knives. From their wide variety of tools to simply coming sharp out of the box, you will have a hard time finding a knife to compare them to.
Ready for Immediate Use
The most important aspect of a wood carving tool is its cutting edge. Just having the knife or gouge sharp and ready to use from the beginning saves you a lot of time and headache from having to create a proper cutting edge.
OCC tools come to you sharp and ready for use from the manufacture. There is no need to sharpen or shape the cutting edge at all, just take from package to wood.
Excellent Edge Retention
With a RC of 59, it is within the sweet spot for blade hardness and edge retention. I have found that after whittling for an hour straight with these knives, there was no need for any serious sharpening at all.
From tip to handle, I have not had any issues with advanced wear to the cutting edge and the knifes just keep slicing away the wood.
Variety of Handles
One of my favorite things about the OCC tools are the variety of handles that are available! You can find a comfortable grip to fit any hand, large or small.
My personal favorites are the “grip handle” and the “large handle” as they fit in my hands perfectly (I wear XL gloves). Even their regular knife handles are comfortable and easy for most people to hold on to securely.
Compared to FlexCut knives, the grips are not lacquered and allows for a more secure, non slip grip. This is perfect for those of you who will be whittling outside, or live in a warmer climate like myself.
Lots of Tool Options
OCC has an impressive selection of tools that come in different shapes and sizes. You can find anything from super small 1/2″ detail knives to longer 3″ roughing knives to fit just about any whittling need.
I had to stop myself from buying more of their knives as they had so many different options to choose from that you can’t find from other manufactures. You really do feel like a kid in a candy shop when looking at all that they have to offer.
Flat Edge Grind
Lots of knives have a thick blade and a much wider cutting angle. Having a wider cutting edge angle makes it a little harder to make those thin, precise cuts for details and finishing your wood carving.
OCC Tools have a flat grind that makes whittling wood, like basswood, an easy and enjoyable experience. The thin blade easily glides through the wood and allows you to make precise, detailed cuts for better details.
What I Didn’t Like
No knife is perfect, and there are a few things on these knives that may hold them back for you. They are more minor issues to me, but are worth mentioning to help your decision making process.
Even with these minor issues, OCC knives outperform 90% of all the other whittling knives on the market (even some more expensive knives.) These are definitely worth your consideration.
Handles Aren’t Round
The first thing that I noticed when holding these knives is that the handles are a little blocks, even with their other handle designs. Now, I’m not saying that the handles aren’t comfortable, they just may feel different in your hands at the beginning.
All the corners are smooth, so there are no sharp edges digging into your hands, but I feel like the handles don’t fit inside the hand too well compared to some other knife handles (Flexcut and Beavercraft for example.)
Cutting Edge May Be Thin For Beginners
I mentioned earlier that the thinner blades make it easier to cut through the wood, this does come with one small caveat: a thinner blade is easier to damage.
New wood carvers are more likely to damage the cutting edge of their OCC knives with improper knife technique and handling, making me more hesitant to recommend them to beginners. Knives like FlexCut may be a better choice for you.
Not Polished Smooth
This is more cosmetic than anything, but I didn’t like how the blade has some of the grind marks on them still. They aren’t rough like some other knives are, but you can still see some roughness on the side of the blade.
Even with these minor cosmetic issue, it doesn’t degrade the cutting edge at all. The knife is still razor sharp and needs no extra stropping before you start whittling.
Best Places to Pick Up OCC Whittling Knives
Because these knives are hand made and are more limited in supply, you can only buy OCC tools from woodcarving stores. You won’t find them in major retailers like Amazon, which allows you to support smaller companies instead.
The 3 stores I prefer for picking up great woodcarving tools and supplies are: Treeline USA, The Woodcraft Shop, and Mountain Woodcarvers. You can find a wide variety of OCC tools from the 3 of them to fit any need. If you want the full list of where to find OCC tools, click here for the complete supplier list.
My favorite woodcarving shop that I frequent the most is Treeline USA. From tools to wood, they have everything you will need for all of your woodcarving needs.
Treeline’s OCC tool selection is quite expansive and have the best prices available. They are my first stop if I need a new tool and was the first place I purchased my OCC knifes. Click here to browse Treeline USA’s complete line of OCC knives.
The Woodcraft Shop
One of the coolest woodcarving shops online is The Woodcraft Shop. You can find a wide verity of tools and wood available for carving all in one stop.
The Woodcraft Shop’s OCC tool selection is quite extensive and has a few things that some other stores may not have. If you do pick up your OCC knife here, pick up some basswood or even their cutouts to practice with! Click here to browse The Woodcraft Shop’s selection of OCC knives.
Finally, if you can’t find what you need at the other shops, you will probably find it at Mountain Woodcarvers. They have a large seclection of knives, tools, supplies, and instructional material for wood carvers of all levels.
My favorite thing that Mountain Woodcarvers does is create their own knife kits of their best selling tools. You can pick up several OCC knives in a more affordable package deal than you could if buying them individually. Click here to see what Mountain Woodcarvers have to offer!
More Knife Reviews
If you want to see more knives I reviewed, click the link below and find what whittling knife is best for you!