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The ABCs of Carving Knives - Part I

By: Keith Hendrickson
Updated May 03, 2017
Photography by Keith Hendrickson

Many new wildfowl carvers start off using power tools. At some point in their carving careers, they may find their curiosity pulls them towards adding a carving knife or two to their tool arsenals.

This is pretty much how I started. At first, I carved cork blocks with a big, serrated bread knife and some rasps, and I worked over the heads with a Dremel. Later, I got my own Foredom, but I still used the old Dremel for the finer detail work. After taking a couple of classes, I found my interest in knives sparked by the custom carving knives one teacher kept hidden from his students. (He kept them hidden for good reason, as I soon found out).

I purchased my first knife from a vendor at a decoy show. As soon as I got home, I began whittling on a little teal head I had on a shelf . . . and I cut off the tip of my finger. That’s when I understood why my carving instructor didn’t want any of his students touching his knives. If I were going to continue with this knife carving venture, I needed some instruction on how to do things right.

I’ve picked up a few more knives since then, and learned a good bit on my own about how to use them, but the scar on the end of my finger makes me think that other carvers might want to learn a thing or two about how to get started with knife carving.

Read the rest of this article in Wildfowl Carving Magazine's Winter 2016 issue.

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