Multipurpose Hand Held Wood Cutting Tools

Written by melissa worcester
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Beginner woodworkers may find the number and variety of woodworking tools a bit overwhelming. Understanding the purpose for each type of tool is important. You can get started with a few basic tools of each type, and then add to your collection as you continue learning the craft of woodworking.

Carving Knives

Carving knives come in many shapes for special kinds of uses. Use chip knives to remove v-shaped chips of wood. Larger blades are generally for rough cutting, while smaller detail carvers are used to cut finer details. Specially shaped curved knives are made to carve out the insides of spoons or bowls. Keep your knives sharp using a whetstone, or other type of sharpener.


Use a rasp to finish off the piece. Choose from a fine, medium or coarse cut, with the finest being used to smooth out the finest details of your word carving. Miniature rasps are even smaller, for detail work. Use speciality rasps such as plaster rasps for working with plaster, or cabinet rasps when making cabinets. Clean your rasps periodically with a rasp brush.


Use rip cut saws and cross cut saws for large cuts where detail isn't important. Cut holes and curves with a keyhole saw. Use a small panel saw to cut small pieces of wood, and a flooring saw to cut floor boards. A back saw is made to cut moulding and other types of trim.

Chisels and Gouges

Chisels have a flat cutting edge and gouges have a cutting edge that is curved. Both come in many sizes, with cutting edges that range from a fraction of an inch wide up to several inches. Use bent gouges and chisels for cutting the inside of hollowed out shapes, and v-shaped gouges to cut corners or add sharp details. Use a wooden mallet to strike the end of a chisel or gouge to make a cut.

Power Grinders and Sanders

Hand-held rotary grinders and sanders, such as a Dremel tool, are an efficient way to speed up the work of wood carving. Reciprocating carvers are another useful power tool for woodworking.

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