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Beginner Whittling - Life Skills Series

To be able to turn a flake of rock into a tool, a mound of clay into a cup, or a cut of wood into a bowl is one of the purest expressions of creativity.  To walk outside and see the earth as a blank canvas for your imagination is an unrealized experience for many of our children, and it is up to us to open the doors for them.

I recall the first time my husband sat on our front porch with his pocket knife and began to whittle a spoon.  What began as a fun experiment in primitive skill-building quickly became an impressive exercise in self-sustainability. 

After a few less-than-successful attempts, he finally created a quality product, and now, two years later, you won't find a store-bought wooden utensil in our kitchen. 

He has since passed this hobby onto myself and our boys, and we find ourselves creating an endless pile of tools and toys for our everyday work and play.

Whittling has become a favorite front porch hobby for our family; however, there are a few tips and tricks to learn before beginning your wood carving adventure, so here is a list of resources our family found useful:

Knife Selection, Safety, and Use:

   Beginner Knife Safety Part 1

   Beginner Knife Safety Part 2

   Whittling Basics

Beginner Knives:

Our youngest son received this "Swiss Army My First Victorinox Knife" when he was five.  It is a great beginner knife and works well for small whittling projects.

For older children and adults, any sharp (the key word here is "sharp") knife will work for most projects.  My latest whittling project was completed with a $3 camp knife I bought at the local big box store, so don't feel like you need to spend a lot of money when you are just getting started.

Also, if you plan to carve spoons, you will need a hook knife.  Here is the one we use:


Morakniv Wood Carving 164 Hook Knife with Carbon Steel Blade

Carving Blanks:

Before my family acquired all of the woodworking tools we have today, we had to shape large chunks of wood down to small workable pieces by hand.  This was doable, but not desirable. 

In more recent years, we simply cut "blanks" for our whittling projects.  Carving blanks are a great way to begin your journey into the world of whittling without becoming overwhelmed.  They are also a great way to try a variety of different woods without buying entire boards.

If you are interested in purchasing a carving blank for the beginner whittler in your life, we are now offering Whittling Kits in our shop.  From kitchen utensils to imaginative toys, you will find a variety of wood blanks on which to begin your creative projects.

You can check them out here.

We will happily create custom requests as well, so if there is a particular shape or type of wood you would like, just let us know, and we can likely accommodate. 

And whether you whittle a twig or use one of our kits, we would love to see what you create!  Send pictures of your creations to, and you may find your work featured on our Facebook or IG page!

Until next time, happy adventuring!