5 best whittling books for beginners: A detailed review

We recently wrote an article on the best wood carving books for beginners. It has since occurred to us that some carvers that are more specifically whittlers are requesting a similar review but this time only dedicated to whittlers. Therefore, what are the best whittling books for beginners? Many people are not aware and use carving and whittling interchangeably but as we will see these two crafts are actually distinctive.

Difference between whittling and carving

Unlike carving, whittling is a form of wood carving that only with a minimalist approach to the number of tools used. A whittler may use a pen knife alone and whittle amazing gnomes. Carving, on the other hand, is the craft of using any tool to carve therefore whittling together with chip carving and other techniques are part of wood carving.

To acquire the skill of whittling, you can check out youtube videos of popular whittlers. But if you want to learn it from a book, then our list of the best whittling books for beginners should serve you right.

Best Whittling Books for Beginners

1. Swedish Carving Techniques by Wille Sundqvist: Best whittling book overall

This book is an incredible resource for amateur craftsmen interested in whittling as a hobby, as well as those in it for a living.

Swedish Carving Techniques by Wille Sundqvist: Best whittling book overall

The book has extensive instructions with an abundance of illustrative material. The book dates back to the 90s but that doesn’t mean the information is outdated. The basics of whittling seem to remain intact and this book offers the best guide on hand grips, knife strokes, and a creative approach to whittling.

The author Sundqvist insists that awareness of the craft leads to an understanding of tool care, material, and design.

Perusing the book is not hard to notice and the material covered is basic. Nonetheless, it covers a broad span, and it would take a series of study circles to exhaust the subject.

This is the reason this is our best whittling book overall. It can be a reference book that you use in your workshop to quickly jump to sections of interest and make references or refresh your memory.

If you do not like an all-rounded approach for your first whittling book then single-topic whittling books may be a perfect choice for you. Take a look at our best single theme whittling book.

2. Spon: Best Single topic

Spon: A guide to Spoon Carving and New Wood Culture by Barn The Spoon is our best single-topic whittling book. Barn The Spoon, as he’s lovingly known, is a rare spoon carving master artisan. In this book, he willingly shares his exceptional skill, kind attitude, and life’s work – creating and carving gorgeous spoons that are both a joy to use and touch.

Spon A guide to Spoon Carving and New Wood Culture

From stirring our first cup of coffee to scraping the last bit of dessert from the bowl, the plain, common spoon is a part of our daily life, deeply entwined with the activities of eating and socializing. Who doesn’t enjoy spooning in bed?

Barn’s spoons will take you on a voyage through the new wood culture, starting with an awareness of the relationship between wood, the raw material, and its majestic roots in our trees and woodlands, all the way to the workshop.

3. Complete starter guide for whittling: Best for beginners

This is a simple book/ magazine that jumps straight to the point. If you are a beginner that wants a practical approach to whittling. An approach without too much theory then look further The complete starter guide for whittling is the book for you.

Complete starter guide for whittling: Best for beginners

The book is by the editors of woodcarving illustrated. They have many more whittling books and even a magazine with regular issues.

In this particular book they guide you on all the basics a beginner should know before starting. From safety and what you need to protect yourself from injuries to a whittling knife buying guide.

Once you have bought your first carving knife, Then their step-by-step whittling projects will see you whittling like a pro in no time.

The authors of the book bet on learning by practice and experience and have selected a caple of projects specifically to fulfill that aim.

4. Chainsaw carving an eagle: Best chainsaw carving book

There arent many chainsaw carving books. In fact, during my research, I could only find one other book that is specifically for chainsaw carving. But is chainsaw carving even whittling why is it on this list?

Chainsaw carving an eagle: Best chainsaw carving book

Chainsaw carving is practically whittling but the use of chainsaws replaces knives. That aside I have read chainsaw carving an eagle by Dennis Roghair and Jamie Doeren and I can say that it has been a great resource in understanding the fundamentals of chainsaw carving.

They do well to take it from scratch by pointing out the importance of safety in chainsaw carving. They also help in informing a newbie how and where to buy their best chainsaw. The carving is mostly done by illustration method but a good chunk of theory goes in as well.

The research on the book is amazing and it’s a good book to have with you if you are inclined to go into chainsaw carving someday.

5. Power carving manual by woodcarving illustrated – best for carving tools

For those who want to learn about using power carving tools for their whittling efforts, this book offers a thorough reference. It covers a wide range of issues, such as choosing the best power carving tool, correct use and upkeep, and different methods for producing elaborate and detailed designs.

To aid readers in understanding and mastering the techniques covered, the book also provides comprehensive images and step-by-step instructions. It is a great tool for anyone looking to advance their whittling skills and investigate the potential of power carving.

Power carving manual by woodcarving illustrated

Best whittling books: Summary

In summary, the best whittling books for beginners are “Swedish Carving Techniques” by Wille Sundqvist for an all-rounded approach, “Spon: A guide to Spoon Carving and New Wood Culture” by Barn The Spoon for a single topic focus on spoon carving, and “Complete starter guide for whittling” by the editors of Woodcarving Illustrated for a practical and straightforward approach to whittling. These books cover everything from basic techniques and tool care to step-by-step projects and safety precautions, providing a comprehensive guide for anyone interested in learning the craft of whittling.