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Henry Taylor Tools
Woodcarving Tools, Technology & Sharpening

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  #1  
Old 02-13-2003, 09:15 PM
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Default What are the best carving tools

You are all probably like me you have hoards of tools. I decided that I would start this thread to see which tools all of you prefer. I little prelude into this thread, when I started carving three or four years ago I went to the local carving club to ask the questions I needed to get me started. I noticed that there were a lot of different brand names on the tools that the people were using. One man who had some beautiful carvings talked to me for quite sometime about the difference in tools. He influenced me to purchase Pheil tools he said that Swiss tools were the best that my money could buy. He also explained that they were a little more expensive than the other brand names but I would see in the long run that they were worth it. He was right I have probably 75 or more Pheil tools now and they are just as good as the day I brought them. I find that they really hold an edge and that they retain their sharpness with very little honing. Since then I have purchased a lot more chisels and knifes and I have found that Flexcut tools produced in the USA are also excellent tools. I find that they also retain their sharpness and are honed very easily. I do large carving and now use a power chisel a lot and I love the way that the Flexcut blades interchange very fast with the adaptor. I probably have over 100 Flexcut chisels now mallet,palm, and power head chisels.
You are probably asking if I could possibly use them all or do I just use a few? I use every chisel and knife in my collection sure there are some I use more than others but I do use them all. My dad once told me that 'The person with the most tools wins' I will pass my *tools onto my grandchildren I just like collecting tools. So I ask you this question again what tools do you prefer best? You know this message board is a learning experience and I love to learn so I open to try new things and especially new tools 8)
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2003, 12:24 AM
Teri_Embrey
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Default Re: What are the best carving tools

I use Flexcut tools pretty much exclusively. That isn't because they're the 'best', but they were the first I tried when I got serious about carving...and like they say, if it isn't broken, why fix it?

Both my Flexcut power and hand tools hold their edge very nicely, in spite of what I do to them.

Teri
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  #3  
Old 02-14-2003, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: What are the best carving tools

* * In my vast experience of two years, I have decided that so far, the knives I LOVE the best are my Dave Lyons knives. *I now have four and I love the larger (1' & 1 1/4') as much as the two tiny (1/2' & 5/8') detail knives. *
* * I have a couple Denny gouges, a couple Flexcut gouges and then a bunch of the Dockyard Micro tools. *All work great and sharpen up beautifully. *Detail would be impossible without the Dockyard Micro tools so I'll be ordering more of those soon....broke one of my V gouges...bummer!! *:'( * *
* * I used the Flex Cut blades in my reciprocating carvers until I got my Proxxon Carver, the blades that came with it are awesome!! *If they continue to hold up I will be ordering more of them. *Callynne
P.S. Oh yeah, and I love my little Proxxon Pen Sander too....no, I don't work for the Company!
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  #4  
Old 02-14-2003, 09:11 AM
FatEddy
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Default Re: What are the best carving tools

My wife says I'm nuts when it comes to tools (any kind wood, carving, mechanics, electronic, you name it) and she's probably right. I buy everything in sight.

Here's what I've got:
Stubai
Pfiel
Ramelson
Warren (with home made handles)
Dastra
Lamp
Flexcut
The only thing that I'll jump out on a limb and say is best is the Stubai Veiners. Only because of their design, They are EXTRA deep. Plus something I hadn't noticed but Rick-in-Seattle pointed out they have a special grind and tapered shank that allows you to actually drill a full lenght hole with them. Anyway the Stubai vieners get my only vote for best.
The worst finished are the Warren tools that I made up from a travel set I bought at a flea market with no handles. I made up a set of handles and the tools seem fine except for the finish. They do take a nice shine with a lot of effort. But functionally they are fine.

The Pfiel tools are great as long as you stay with the softer woods and stay away from knots. If you get in a fight with a hard piece of wood you can chip the edges rather easilly. Could probably be solved by redoing the bevels, but then you wouldn't have that really sharp edge they are famous for.

The Flexcut palm tools I really didn't like. Two of the selling points are the ability to flex the tool and the comfort of the handle. Those are the two things I didn't like. They tend to flex out of a cut at inopportuen moments and the handle is uncomfortable when the tool is turned over to use the backside of the gouges to round off an edge or cut a bead (I guess anything convex would be the appropriate way to say it). I've only had the palm tools so have no idea if any of this applies to the other configurations.

That being said, I don't really see a dimes worth of difference between the rest of them functionally. Am saving my pennies for some Henry Taylors and Two Cherries to see how they are. Suspect they'll be about the same.

If I had to do this on a strict budget I would probably go with the Ramelsons and be happy. I'm speaking strictly palm and some mid sized tools here as I haven't used the full sized enought yet to have an opinion.

Tools are probably like girlfriends and wives (boyfriends and husbands) you like what you like for whatever reason.

Knives: I've got a pretty good selection of knives and the only thoughts I've got there is I have yet to find a handle I like, including the ones I make myself and be very careful with Flexcuts as they have a very fragile edge; sharp, but fragile.

I quit!
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  #5  
Old 02-14-2003, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: What are the best carving tools

Ah, the proverbial 'chicken or the egg' question. I used to be very attached to my Two Cherries tools, and would scoff at the thought of another brand. Then I tried Pfeil. I still prefer Two Cherries for 90% of my work, but When I am carving Jelutong or basswood, I will pretty much grab the pfeil. If you have flexcut and Pfeil, you have two varieties of tools with a low profile bevel, so you dont have the option to choose a chisel with a higher bevel. it may not matter to you enough to invest in more tools, but I love being able to switch.
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  #6  
Old 02-14-2003, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: What are the best carving tools

ahhh tools, a favorite subject of mine.

I'm mostly a full sized tool user but have a fair selection of palm tools as well. I love my Pfiel tools (both palm and full-size) and would not hesitate to recomend them to anyone. I have been adding to my collection Henry Taylor tools lately and expect to get more in the future. They need some work before use but once they're tuned up they are fine tools (Woodcraft is buying their HT's polished and honed but it raises the price to the consumer). I have an old set of AMT tools that took some major regrinding and I had to relieve the edge along the length of the blade for comfort but now that I have personalized them they are holding up fine. Stubai, yup I like them too, especially the vieners for the reasons already stated (although there are times I would like the wings leading the cut... perhaps another set of them in the future will get 'personalized'). Knives: my Helvie roughout is my 'goto'. Love the blade and the handle is great. I have a nice Denny detail knife but the handle is a bit small. I recently aquired a custom Seatle Detailer and it's a sweet tool. If your ever feeling cash heavy treat yourself to a Diobsud Forge or two... hands down my favorite palm tools.

OK that's enough for now :-X

Dave
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  #7  
Old 02-14-2003, 10:26 AM
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Default Re: What are the best carving tools

You go Dave !! There's nothing like Diobsud. I just wish they made more sizes and shapes.
My favorite knives are still my old Knotts.
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  #8  
Old 02-14-2003, 10:35 AM
whittlin
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Default Re: What are the best carving tools

I have to agree with Callynne. I love my Lyons knives. I started with Helvie knives because someone suggested it. I needed a small blade so I tried the 5/8' Lyons knife and I thought it was so good I got the 1' knife also.

As for gouges I use Flexcut. I don't have any complaints with them. The main reason I got them is they have the travel set. I have very limited space so that works best for me.

I think tools are like cars. They all do their function it is just a matter of personal preferece as to which one is the best.

Thats my 2 cents.
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  #9  
Old 02-14-2003, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: What are the best carving tools

thanks guys you realize that you are probably going to cost me a whole bunch of money I have never heard of most of these tools. That is why I love this message board you sure learn a lot when you ask a question what did we ever do before computers? The advantage you have from being from the US is that you have so many more suppliers there. We are very limited to the different types of gouges and knife's in Canada but it is sure helpful to know that they are out there. Now before I get blasted by my Canadian counterparts maybe they are available in Canada I just have never heard of them let alone seen them. You can bet that I will be on the internet right after this looking up such names as Dave Lyons,Diobsud, Two Cherries etc. By the next time I talk to you I will probably own a bunch more tools again thanks for the information I am sure this question will help a lot of the carvers starting out and get them off on the right foot.
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Old 02-14-2003, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: What are the best carving tools

The best tools? That's easy; them that's MINE!!!

Al
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