10 Best Wood For Whittling (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020

Whittling wood is a beloved hobby for many. Whether it is simply a pastime while sitting beside a campfire, or creative interests such as sculpting, this has been around for as long as anyone can remember, changing very little throughout all this time.

However, to get the best results, you must choose the right wood. here we will be reviewing the best options out there to help you choose the best wood for whittling. All wood is not equally suited for whittling and carving, and it will also depend on the kind of use you have in mind.

Let’s get the show on the road.

Our Top 10 Best Wood For Whittling In 2020

Now, we are ready to dive into the heart of the matter. Below are our top ten picks for the finest wood for whittling. Our review focuses on commercially available products, and the ratings are as per Amazon.

We have constructed our list using parameters such as the amount of wood sold at any given price, quality of the wood, ease of use and carving, and of course, reported customer satisfaction of the company making them.

1

Basswood Carving/Whittling for Kids or Adults

Basswood Carving/Whittling for Kids or Adults
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Kicking off our list is this basswood product from Canusa Crafts, which is often regarded as the best whittling wood. The company claims that this contains around 25% more wood than most competing products.

It brings with it all the features you would expect from basswood; a soft texture that makes it easy to work with and carve, a pale color that allows details to shine through on the finished product, and is specially made for beginners.

Those new to wood carving would not have to worry about too much grain and can work on this wood without the need for specialized whittling knives.

This product is made, packaged, and distributed entirely in the United States of America. It is harvested only from trees grown in America, and the mills where it is processed are also located exclusively in the USA. This thing is also shipped to all parts of the US.

It comes in two separate sizes. 8 blocks measuring 1"x1" square and 6 inches long, and 2 blocks measuring 2" x 2" and 6 inches long. Lastly, its shipping weight is 3 pounds.

As a company, Canusa has received favorable reviews from its customers, who generally describe it is as reliable.

Key Features:

  • Basswood, soft texture and pale color
  • Comes in 2 different sizes
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Contains 25% more wood than other options
2

Walnut Hollow 10 Piece Whittlers Carving Kit

Walnut Hollow 10 Piece Whittlers Carving Kit
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I really like this whittling and wood carving kit from Walnut Hollow and believe that it’s one of the best whittling woods out there.

After reading about its amazing features, you’ll know why. The wood is once more basswood. Made in their facilities at Wisconsin, the kit comes in multiple different sizes, varying in the dimensions of the blocks they contain.

You can also buy blocks individually. The single blocks available come in various sizes. In addition to them, you can buy sets that can come with three or ten pieces.

The pieces are kiln dried and sanded as to attain a smooth texture. In addition, the wood is given a soft finish so as to make it easier for carving. It is also kept knot-free.

Furthermore, the wood is also relatively lightweight, making it easier to glue to various surfaces. Its shipping weight is only 0.5 pounds.

I love the fact that the makers didn’t compromise with the overall quality of the unit despite keeping the price reasonable. So, that’s a huge plus for me.

Key Features:

  • Kiln dried and sanded
  • Three-piece and ten-piece sets, as well as individual blocks sold
  • Available in different sizes
  • The price tag is reasonable
3

Solid Wooden Whittling Kit

Solid Wooden Whittling Kit
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Coming in at third is this basswood kit from Kingcraft. This is a 100% solid basswood kit and has a straight grain with no cracks or knots. It is suitable for beginners and kids, as well as for those with more experience in wood carving.

The handle is specifically designed to be comfortable for kids. It comes with five-piece sets, consisting of 4 pieces with dimensions of 6”x1.5”x1.5” and 1 piece with dimensions of 6”x3”x3”.

Now, the size is intentionally designed as larger for novice users, and the wood surface is extensively processed so as to be suitable for sanding.

The wood is natural and unfinished, making it ideal for creative designs and unique carving work such as wooden animals, decorative wooden boxes, wooden wall hangings, and anything else your imagination may conceive.

Its shipping weight is 1.7 pounds. The blocks are sturdy, as a safety measure against splinters and possible injury.

Moreover, the kit comes in two sizes, large and small. These vary according to the dimensions of the individual blocks they contain, so you may choose according to the size of the structures you want to create.

Key Features:

  • Basswood, soft texture and pale color
  • Natural and unfinished wood
  • 4 pieces with dimensions of 6”x1.5”x1.5” and 1 piece with dimensions of 6”x3”x3”
  • Suitable for kids and beginners
4

MAMAR Natural Basswood Carving Blocks

MAMAR Natural Basswood Carving Blocks
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Next up is this natural basswood carving block set from MAMAR. This comes with ten large pieces of unfinished basswood. It is also marketed as one hundred percent American and is free of knots.

It appeals to both inexperienced ones and the experts and offers an amazing surface and texture. As always, with basswood, the coloring is pale and hence allows subsequent paint jobs to shine through better.

This thing can be used for a variety of carving work. You can work on this using pocket knives, whittling knives, and many other kinds of carving tools.

The complete set contains ten practically sized blocks that come in dimensions of 1” x 1” x 4”. All of these are sealed using a cellophane package inside the container in order to prevent them from rattling around.

The container itself is a reusable cardboard box. This set can be used for DIY projects as well as for more sophisticated artistic work.

All kinds of wooden structures may be carved using these blocks as a base. It is also suitable for kids and is safe and comfortable for their use.

I like the fact that the shipping weight has been kept under 0.85 pounds.

Key Features:

  • Basswood, soft texture and pale color
  • Marketed as 100% American and knot-free
  • 1” x 1” x 4” sized blocks
  • Doesn’t weigh much
5

Whittling Beginners Soft Wood Carving Block Set

Whittling Beginners Soft Wood Carving Block Set
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At number five is this basswood wood carving kit from WakeyPQ. As a basswood product, it comes with the usual features associated with it.

There’s no complaint regarding the texture and can be worked on using whittling tools. And a pale, inconspicuous color that makes it easier to paint in later stages and allows carved patterns to be more noticeable.

The block set comes with 8 small carving blocks and 2 large carving blocks. An added feature of this product is that it comes equipped with its own carving knife set.

In terms of the actual quantity of wood, it claims to contain around thirty percent more wood than its closest competitors. The kit comes with eight pieces with dimensions 1"x 1"x 6", and two pieces with dimensions 2"x 2"x 6".

Irrespective of whether you are a novice or an experienced woodcarver, you’ll find the unit helpful. This unit weighs a little less than 2 pounds, so it’s not very heavy.  

Key Features:

  • Great texture
  • Comes with own whittling knife
  • Ideal for beginners and kids
  • Lightweight
6

Beginner's Premium Carving Blocks Kit

Beginner's Premium Carving Blocks Kit
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This one contains multiple sized blocks that have been specifically fashioned to reflect the kind of surfaces mostly used or demanded by woodcarvers. It can be worked on using pocket knives or specialized whittling knives.

Being basswood, it comes with the soft creamy texture we have previously mentioned for the other products on this list. The wood is also free of knots and is relatively lightweight.

This kit is the perfect choice for individuals who have started recently. In particular, it is marketed towards individuals who take up creative wood carving as a hobby.

It includes the two sizes of whittling wood that is most in demand. That being the 2”x2”x4” and the 1”x1”x4” blocks. The wood is harvested and processed entirely in America, and its shipping weight is 0.6 pounds approximately.

Also, the customer service of the brand is satisfying, as many consumers will vouch for how helpful their customer service is.

Key Features:

  • Has a soft creamy texture
  • 2”x2”x4” and the 1”x1”x4” blocks
  • Great for non-experienced people
  • Helpful customer service
7

11 Pieces Large Wood Whittling Kit

11 Pieces Large Wood Whittling Kit
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Another basswood product, this one comes with a couple of paintbrushes and is made specifically for beginners, experts, and also kids.

This is a do-it-yourself kit, which means it is suitable for someone working at home and with very basic tools.

It comes in a variety of size options. The kit contains 11 pieces and comes in four different models. Now, the two paintbrushes include one flat brush and one tip brush.

This thing brings with it the common benefits of basswood, softer texture, and the paler color so as to allow subsequent coloring to be more vivid, especially when it comes to carved patterns.

It is extensively marketed for being kid-friendly and claimed as a safe and creativity inducing activity for them. Their customer service team offers communication and question-answer services for consumers who want to know more before buying.

Its shipping weight is 1.98 pounds. The basswood used in this also offers the benefit of less splintering when being whittled.

Key Features:

  • Basswood and has a soft texture
  • Comes with two paintbrushes
  • Available in various sizes
  • Beginner-friendly
8

Basswood Wood Carving Blocks Set BW1 1pcs

Basswood Wood Carving Blocks Set BW1 1pcs
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Our penultimate option is the basswood wood carving set from BeaverCraft.

This unit comes with everything you will expect from a basswood and more. Its features are really impressive and make it a desirable item. You’ll love the soft and smooth surface and pale color of the item.

The set contains four small carving blocks along with one large carving block. The dimensions are 4"x2"x2" for the large piece and 1"x1"x4" for the smaller pieces.

It comes with an ebook and further assistance if required afterward. The company’s customer service will assist you during every step of the whittling process.

It can be used by professionals and experienced woodcarvers and is marketed as a potential gift item.

Weighing at 0.8 pounds only, the unit is pretty lightweight. During promotional offers, the makers will also include a free wood carving knife to go with the block set. Its applications can include carving wooden animals, balls, dwarves, people, and many others.

Now, I must admit that this thing is quite expensive when compared to other competitors. However, if you look at the quality, you’ll realize that the price tag is justified.

Key Features:

  • Basswood, soft texture and pale color
  • Comes with an ebook and extra customer support
  • 4"x2"x2" for the large piece and 1"x1"x4" for the smaller piece
  • Lightweight
9

12 Piece Carbon Steel Tools and 5 Large Wood Blocks

12 Piece Carbon Steel Tools and 5 Large Wood Blocks
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Marketed for beginners as well as professionals, this comes with five large pine wood carving blocks, as well as a twelve-piece carving tools.

The tools are made of SK10 carbon steel, and the handle is built with a user-friendly design aimed at giving a more comfortable handling experience and is coated with a special electrolyte.

The pine wood blocks come in two different sizes. It has a really nice texture and offers a smooth surface to work on. As for what kind of knives or tools can be used on it, you can use bundled carving tools, your pocket knife, whittling knife, wood carving knife, and many others.

The tools come in different forms that vary according to tip size. These include deep gouge, shallow gouge, narrow straight chisel, rounded chisel, parting tool, and others.

This kit can be used for clay, soapstone, and linoleum. Its applications include stencils, working on old furniture, carving bowls and animals, and many others.

Key Features:

  • Pinewood, soft, creamy texture
  • Can be used for clay, soapstone, and linoleum
  • It comes with 12 pieces SK10 Carbon Steel toolset.
  • Handle coated with special electrolyte and made with an ergonomic design
10

10 Basswood Carving Blocks & Carbon Steel Tools

10 Basswood Carving Blocks & Carbon Steel Tools
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Finally, rounding off our list is this Woodcarving Set from JJ CARE. This one comprises ten basswood carving blocks, along with eight pieces of SK10 carbon steel tools. In addition, this kit also comes with one grinding stone.

Its applications are numerous, including fruit and vegetable carvings, soap whittling, and many others. The texture is kept smooth and soft so as to help the user, and it contains more blocks per kit compared to many of the others on this list.

As it is basswood, it also comes with common features associated with this wood type, such as softness, pale color, etc.

The tools included, as mentioned, are made of SK10 carbon steel and coated with electrolyte so as to increase their durability.

In addition, the handles are made of beechwood and given an ergonomic design. This is done to ensure that the user has a more comfortable and to increase the amount of time that can be spent working on them without pain or discomfort.

The kit is suitable for all ages and both inexperienced and experienced individuals.

Key Features:

  • Comes with SK10 Carbon Steel tools
  • Beechwood handle coated with electrolyte and has an ergonomic design
  • Great for small kids

Factors To Consider Before Buying Wood For Whittling

Before you go out there and buy that wood to get started on your carving, there are a few things you should keep in mind that will help you make the decision.

The Type of Wood You Want

The first one is fairly obvious. Before you buy wood, you need to decide what kind of wood you want. The most popular choices of wood for whittling are basswood, balsa wood, and pinewood.

These three are most well suited for carving in terms of their texture, coloration, and availability. Although you can still carve on any kind of wood that is available to you.  

Your Specific Interests

It is useful to first decide what kind of whittling you want to do. Will it just be casually carving wood by the campfire, or do you want to work on intricate, detailed, wooden structures. Your choices of wood should, of course, reflect the kind of application you have in mind.

Brand

Like all products, when you buy best wood for whittling, it is useful to look at the company profile for each brand available to you and their customer reviews. If you are a new user, you might want to buy from a company that offers consultation services on how to best use the wood.

You might also want to buy products that have a refund policy and hence should be seeing if a product comes with such a policy before buying.

Related Post: Dremel wood carving tools

Finding the Right Size of Block

Carving kits usually come in varying sizes of wood. Users often prefer to work with a specific size of wooden block, and hence, you might want to consider what your ideal size is before buying. Because if you get the size wrong, even the best whittling wood won’t be of much help.

Your Own Level of Experience

Many carving kits are specifically marketed as suitable for beginners. If you are indeed a beginner, you should choose one of those as opposed to something that is better suited for more experienced users.

Additional Accessories

The first thing you will need for whittling wood, aside from the wood itself, of course, is the knife. Generally speaking, this does not have to be anything specialized.

So, it would be great if the unit comes with a knife for the process.

Nevertheless, if they don’t provide one, you’ll have to get one for yourself.

Most folding and Swiss Army Knives will work just fine. However, if you do want to spend the extra money and get better results, then you can go and buy a specialized Whittling Knife.

The Price

Wood is an easily available resource. Hence be wary of companies overcharging you. Look at the amount of wood being sold in a given kit and lookup if it is indeed a good deal at that price.

Different Types of Wood for Whittling

There are three main types of wood that are used for whittling. As mentioned previously, these are basswood, balsawood, and pinewood. The following describes them in more detail;

Basswood

Basswood is often the preferred choice due to it's easy to work texture and the fact that it produces very little grain during whittling.

Found originally in Europe, this has become the favorite choice for those engaged in wood carving and can be used for creating all kinds of wooden designs and the like.

Balsawood

An alternative option to basswood would be balsawood. Grown in Central and North America, this particular type of wood is also soft and light and very popular for whittling.

In fact, the high demand for it is a sign ensuring you are able to buy at a relatively cheap price. Its most prominent use is for making model airplanes, vehicles, and other structures that are made from pre-cut wooden frames.

It is, however, comparatively more grainy and thus requires you to keep your knives and other tools sharpened so as to achieve the desired results.

Pinewood

Lastly, we have pinewood. Now, this is arguably the most readily available type of wood among all the options. The ready availability ensures relatively cheap pricing, as well.

However, pinewood is less suitable for maintaining the details of intricately cut structures. Its grain can become flaky more easily when the wood gets dry and ruin the detail you worked so hard to create.

Freshly obtained pine solves this problem but does bring with it the issue of sap, which will be flowing out as you cut in. This creates the additional need of cleaning up. One reason why many people do choose pine, though, is the characteristic smell that it brings to your carvings.

Related Post: best clay for sculpting at home

Wood Whittling Tips for Beginners

If you are just starting out in wood whittling, then there are a few things you need to keep in mind from the very beginning. The following explains;

Take it Slow

Wood Whittling is a task that requires patience as well as skill. So, it is important you take time with your first few projects.

Knife Sharpness

This one is a safety tip. You have to ensure your whittling knife is sharp at all times. A dull knife will not cut through the wood but may rebound and cut your hand instead.

The Need for Gloves

Another safety tip. In case you do struggle with your knife, it is advisable to be wearing cut resistant gloves. At the very least, you should wear these until you have become confident with the knife.

The Kind of Projects You Undertake

As with any skill, you can’t jump straight into the complex stuff. Start your wood whittling journey with simple, basic projects such as a wooden egg.

Whittling How To Get Started

Whittling How To Get Started

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some of the most commonly asked questions related to wood whittling and their answers;

1. What is the best wood type for whittling?

You should start with wood that has a soft texture and hence is easier to work on. We mentioned a lot of basswood products, balsawood is also a good option.

2. Is pinewood a good option?

This one has a complicated answer. For beginners, pinewood is not advised. The sap flow can be a difficult problem to deal with, and when dry, pinewood tears easily. Once you have gained enough experience, however, you may find a preference for it. Many professionals like it for its more natural makeup.

3. What is the best choice for a whittling knife?

This does not have a single answer and varies from person to person. Pocket knives are fine as readily available options, while specialized whittling knives offer advantages such as electrolyte coated grips. In the end, it comes down to what kind of knife you, as a user, are comfortable using.

4. What is the best sized wooden block I should buy for whittling?

Again, it depends on your use and the kind of structures you are carving. However, buying blocks that are comparatively larger in size is a safer option, especially as a beginner.

5. Where to buy wood?

There are numerous places you can purchase wood carving sets and kits from; both physical stores and online. However, Amazon, Walmart are widely considered the best place to shop for these.

Final Words

Whittling can be an extremely peaceful and rewarding experience. It is an ideal hobby, especially if you are trying to escape stress during your free time. The best part about it is how simple it is to start and learn.

However, an important aspect of that is picking the right wood. We hope our reviews guide you to the best wood for whittling. Happy whittling!

Additional Sources :

Wood Whittling Tips

Top 10 wood carving tips & tricks