If you are just getting into wood carving, you will see a wide variety of different types of knives of varying shapes and sizes. One of the most common types of knives you will find are called Sloyd Knives.
Sloyd Knives are a Swedish designed tool that is widely used for wood carving and whittling. This knife has a full tang construction and a slightly thicker blade making it a very durable knife capable of both removing large sections of wood and making smaller detailed cuts.
The blades will typically range between 2 to 3.5 inches in length and have a rounded handle making them quite versatile and comfortable to hold for long periods of time.
What Do You Use a Sloyd Knife for?
While Sloyd knives are great all around wood carving tools, but what they excel at is removing large sections of wood easily.
Sloyd knives are primarily used for whittling and carving wood. Because of their ridged blade and sharp cutting edge, sloyd knives excel at removing wood quickly and can make some detailed cuts with its pointed tip.
As these knives are extremely useful, they fit in with any wood carving tool set and you will likely use them quite frequently. Many spoon carvers, whittlers, and general wood carvers will have at least one in their toolbox.
Differences Between a Sloyd Knife and a Whittling Knife
While Sloyd knives are popular across the world many people who focus on whittling smaller wood carvings will primarily focus on whittling knives, also called bench knives.
The primary visual differences between a whittling knife and a sloyd knife will be the overall length and thickness of the blades. Plus the Sloyd knives will commonly have a full tang construction providing them with a more ridged design.
The pictures shown in the comparison will be between the Flexcut Stub Sloyd and Flexcut Cutting Knife.
The biggest difference between a sloyd knife and the typical whittling knife is the overall blade length. Most sloyd knives will vary between 2 and 3 inches in length while most whittling knives will vary between 1 and 2 inches in length.
Sloyd knives will also usually have an upswept blade that helps promote more of a slicing motion when carving. Many whittling knives will typically have a flat cutting edge but some will have a slight upswept tip as well.
The other major difference between a sloyd knife and a whittling knife is the overall blade thickness. Sloyd knives are thicker and have a much more ridged blade when compared to a typical whittling knife.
Sloyd knives can be two to four times as thick as a whittling knife, providing the knife with a more durable cutting edge and overall knife. Whittling knives are not meant to rapidly remove large sections of wood and can easily damage if too much force is applied to them.
How to Sharpen a Sloyd Knife
The most important thing for any wood carving knife is to keep the cutting edge razor sharp for an easier and safer carving experience. Thankfully, sloyd knives are easy to maintain due to the traditional Scandinavian grind applied to the cutting edge.
To sharpen and hone a sloyd knife, place the flat ground edge on the sharpening medium surface and drag the knife edge on the surface trailing the direction that it is being pulled. In order to sharpen the curved section, you can either hone the curve in steps or rotate the edge as you are dragging it along the sharpening medium surface.
Repeat this step for both sides until you have a well honed cutting edge and inspect for any uneven spots.
Best Sloyd Knives
If you are looking to pick up a sloyd knife to add to your wood carving tool kit, here are some of my absolute favorites! If you want to see a comparison of a few different sloyd knives, check out my video below.
Without a doubt, my favorite overall sloyd knives are the Flexcut Sloyd Knives. Even though they are a little more on the expensive side, they are very well made and come razor sharp right out of the package.
|Steel||High Carbon Spring Steel|
|Rockwell Hardness (RC)||59 – 61|
|Sharp After 30 Min||Yes|
|Average Price||$45 – $55|
You can find two different types of Flexcut sloyd knives, the longer KN50 model with a 2 – 7/8 inch blade and the shorter KN53 with a 2 – 1/2 inch blade. I personally like the shorter blade for my own personal style of wood carving but the longer blade does offer more reach and slicing potential.
For a more affordable option, the Morakniv (Mora) sloyd knives are an extremely popular and well made knife!
|Steel||Laminated Carbon Steel|
|Rockwell Hardness (RC)||59 – 60|
|Sharp After 30 Min||Yes|
|Average Price||$23 – $27|
Mora knives are affordably priced and have a wider world wide availability, making it a great option for everyone. They use a carbon steel blade that has a laminated stainless steel layer to help prevent corrosion and make it easier to keep the blade honed.
If you are trying to pick out the right length Mora knife, the Mora 106 comes with a 3 – 1/4 inch blade while the Mora 120 and 122 come with an easier to control 2 – 3/8 inch blade.
More Whittling and Wood Carving Tips
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