7 Best Woodcarving Axes – A Comprehensive Guide


best carving axe

Finding the best carving axe is a great addition to any woodcarver’s arsenal. A woodcarving axe or hatchet is a versatile tool that can be used to quickly rough out shapes when carving.  Purchasing a high-quality wood hatchet or carving axe will not only make your carving more fun, but the tool will last you a long time with proper care.

With so many brands claiming to be the best carving axe, it may be difficult to select the top hand tool wood carving axe. We’ve completed thorough research and shortlisted the following 7 axes as our favorite axes for wood carving!

With so many considerations; from handle length and weight of the head, to single bevel vs double bevel, we’ll help you sort through the features to look for.

What to Look for When Shopping for the Best Carving Axe

How to Choose the Right Carving Axe

If you’re in the market for a wood carving axe, there are a few things you should consider before making a purchase. In this section, we’ll explore the key factors to keep in mind when shopping for the best axe or hatchet for woodcarving.

Quality of Steel in the Head

First and foremost, consider the quality of the steel used to make the head of the axe. Look for high-quality steel that will hold up to frequent use, and provide and maintain a sharp cutting edge.  You truly get what you pay for when it comes to the steel used in a high-quality carving axe.

Weight of the Axe

The weight of the axe is also an important factor to consider. If the axe is too heavy, carving will be a tedious task, but if it’s too light, you’ll have better control but the head won’t provide enough carving momentum. Look for a carving axe with a weight that feels comfortable to hold, while also being sturdy and balanced for easier workability and greater control.

Handle Material and Design

The design of the handle of the axe is another crucial aspect to evaluate. Look for a handle that is ergonomic and comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. Additionally, a handle with a secure grip will help prevent the axe from slipping during use.  

Depending on your intended use, the handle length will also play an important role.  A long handle helps by creating more momentum and power, but will also be a heavier axe offering less precision.  A shorter handle with a lower total weight is best used for lighter and more delicate work.

Bevel of the Blade

When it comes to wood carving, the bevel of the axe is another essential factor to consider. Many standard axes have a rounded edge and a convex bevel, which isn’t ideal for carving. Look for an axe with a flat bevel and sharp edge to maximize its carving power.

Cutting Edge Length

The cutting edge of a carving axe is typically longer than that of a chopping ax. Look for a good carving axe with a cutting edge that is long enough to work through your carving wood, but not too long where it gets clunky when working with a smaller piece of wood.  I like to target a cutting edge of 4″ – 5″.

best carving axe

Manufacturer

As wood carving gains popularity, more manufacturers are creating axes specifically designed for this craft. Look for an axe made by a reputable manufacturer, with plenty of good customer reviews and a history of creating quality tools.

If You Can’t Find an Axe with Flat Bevels

If you can’t find a best carving axe with a flat bevel, don’t worry! You can purchase a standard ax and shape or grind it into a carving axe. This may require some additional work, but it’s a viable option if you can’t find the perfect carving axe for your needs. 

The Best Carving Axes – Detailed Review

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Our Favorite Carving Axes:

Top Pick
Gransfors Bruks, Large Swedish Carving Axe
$274.75

Experience the artistry of Swedish craftsmanship with this exceptional ax, meticulously designed and crafted by expert carvers, Linnaheimo and Wille Sundqvist. Using traditional techniques and premium materials, that guarantee unmatched durability.

Having been designed by actual woodcarvers, this model meets the highest standards of quality and functionality. Its broad beveled face, long and curved cutting edge, and double bevel blade ensure effortless carving of even the most intricate shapes with maximum precision and control.

So why settle for anything less when you can own this premium Swedish-designed ax? Upgrade your woodcarving game today and experience the unmatched quality and performance that this ax has to offer.

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Reasons to Invest in the Gransfors Bruks Carving Axe

  • Unique design inspired by traditional Swedish woodcarvers
  • Made of premium steel with double bevel blade
  • Comes with an axe book and vegetable-tanned sheath
  • Ergonomic short handle with good texture and secure grip
  • Heavier axe head for maximum carving power
  • Crafted by expert Swedish artisans
1st Runner Up
Hults Bruk Akka Foresters Premium Outdoor Axe
$170.00

The Hults Bruk Akka Foresters Premium Outdoor Axe is a top-performing woodcarving ax that delivers superior quality and durability. Here are some of the reasons why it's the perfect choice for your woodcarving projects:

  • Premium Materials: Made with a Swedish steelhead, this ax is built to last. The head is pre-sharpened before packaging, and the finger notch and ground edge make it easier to shape wood. Plus, it includes a leather sheath with a welt to protect the edge.
  • Hand-Grinded Head: The ax head is hand-grinded, which increases density and durability, ensuring that it will last you a long time.
  • Ergonomic Handle: The 24-inch hickory handle is carved and designed with good ergonomics, making it comfortable to use for extended periods.
  • Retains Sharpness: Because of its Swedish steel construction, this ax does not need to be sharpened often, as it has the ability to retain its sharpness
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Benefits of the Hults Bruk Akka Foresters Premium Axe

  • Made with premium materials, including Swedish steel and hand-ground head.
  • Ergonomically designed hickory handle for comfortable use.
  • Retains sharpness for a longer period of time.
  • Versatile with finger notch and ground edge for shaping wood.
  • Comes with a leather sheath with a welt for maximum protection.

Best Carving Axe for Beginners:

Best For Beginners
CRKT Freyr Axe: Outdoor Axe with Deep Beard Design
$91.97

CRKT Freyr Axe - our top pick for the Best Budget-friendly Carving Axe for Beginners. Despite its size and weight, it is easy to use and features a small, smooth hickory wooden handle that provides a good grip and easy control. The carbon steel blade is durable and retains its sharpness even after prolonged use, while the ergonomic design allows for precise blade control.

At just under 2 pounds, Freyr is perfect for beginners looking for an affordable, high-quality axe that can handle a variety of tasks such as chopping wood, clearing brush, carving wood, or felling trees. Additionally, the included sheath provides protection when not in use.

We recommend it for beginners who are just starting to learn carving skills and do not want to spend too much money on an axe.

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Why Investing in the CRKT Freyr Axe is Worth the Price

  • CRKT Freyr Axe is a budget-friendly option for beginners.
  • It has a durable hickory wooden handle with an ergonomic design for easy control.
  • The carbon steel blade provides durability and edge retention without frequent sharpening.
  • It can be used for chopping wood, clearing brush, carving wood, or as a felling axe.
  • Comes with a sheath for protection when not in use.

Best Carving Axe for Spoon Carving:

Best Spoon Carving Axe
Drake Off Road Tools Viking Type Light Bearded Axe
$48.00

The Drake Off Road Tools Viking Type Light Bearded Axe is the best spoon carving axe on our list. It has a wide, sharp blade made of high-quality steel that is perfect for shaping and processing minor pieces of wood into spoon blanks. The head weighs only 1.3 pounds, making it lightweight and easy to handle. The handle is made from a beech tree and is treated with a wood varnish that provides a comfortable grip while in use.

Despite being less sharp out of the box than preferred, the axe takes an excellent edge and is simple to resharpen. If you're searching for a good axe that will make your spoon carving smooth and easy, this is the perfect axe for you. Plus, the reasonable price makes it a great value.

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Why Invest in Viking Type Light Bearded Axe/Hatchet

  • The Viking Type Light Bearded Axe is specially designed for spoon and small bowl carving.
  • It has a wide, sharp blade made of high-quality steel that is perfect for shaping and processing minor pieces of wood into spoon blanks.
  • The axe head is lightweight, weighing only 1.3 pounds, making it easy to handle and ideal for situations where weight is a concern.
  • The handle is made from a beech tree and is treated with a wood varnish, making it comfortable to grip and use.
  • The price is very reasonable, making it an excellent investment for anyone looking for a high-quality axe for spoon carving.

Other Best Wood Carving Hatchets:

1844 Helko Werk German Rheinland

1844 Helko Werk German Rheinland

The 1844 Helko Werk German Rheinland is a Wuppertal, Germany make and it is excellent for cutting and carving. It includes an axe guard bottle and a leather sheath.

The head is drop-forged with German C50 carbon steel and left unpolished creating a unique and rustic look with the forging marks. This process also improves the axe’s ductility and metalurgic properties. The head of this axe is heat-treated and then hardened by oil-quenching for maximum performance.

The handle is made of grade AA American Hickory and it is secured using attached steel-ring wedges. The long, slim, flat head is specifically designed to cut across the grain. The edge retention on this axe is excellent and the smooth sanded handle gives comfort when carving.

Gransfors Bruks Carpenter’s Axe

 Gransfors Bruks Carpenter's Axe

This is another axe from the family of Gransfors Bruks weighing 1.3 pounds, and this carpenter’s axe is hand-forged to make it stronger and durable. It includes a leather sheath that helps to protect the edge.

It has a thin, low-angled bevel face blade that facilitates stability, control, and rigidity. The edge of the blade also has a small recess that helps in controlling the movement by applying minimal force with your finger. This recess is also known as the beard length of the blade.

It has an inward curve that runs from the heel to the ax’s head giving the user a better grip. This feature makes it possible to grip the axe close to the end and this improves precision when shaping.

It has a straight, durable, 9.5 inches hickory handle that gives maximum control, balance, and speed. The handle is also nicely oiled to reduce blisters on your hand if you don’t prefer wearing whittling gloves.

This axe comes with a great warranty and you can rely on it to serve you for a long time because it is built to last.

Prandi German Style Hatchet

 Prandi German Style Hatchet

This type of axe’s head, which is 1.3 pounds in weight and 4 inches in size, is made in Italy but assembled in Germany and it is made of C45 steel. The ax is packed with a blunt edge for safety purposes, so it will require you to sharpen it after buying it.

It includes a leather sheath to protect the blade and an added feature of a golden mark of ‘Prandi’ on the head.

The Prandi German Style Hatchet has a thin flat blade radius that quickly digs into wood and it is ideal for carving spoons and bowls made from softer wood like basswood.

Th axe has an ergonomic handle which is 15.75 inches, and it is made of hickory wood giving a smooth grain orientation. It also has a smooth varnish coat that makes the ax appealing and durable.

What’s Next?

Whether you’re looking for a carving hatchet or the best carving axe, finding the right characteristics for your intended use is crucial.  There are many different types of axes, so it may be helpful to purchase a couple different kinds so you’re prepared for various carving tasks when they arise. 

Sharpening your axe is one of the best ways of maintaining your axe and when storing it, make sure it is in a cool and dry location to prevent rust and tarnishing.

After you are done carving, clean and lubricate your axe to increase its longevity.

Author: Hadwin Fisher

Hi, my name is Hadwin. I've been a long time wood carver and whittler. My day job is as a carpenter, but I like to work on and write about my wood carving hobby on the weekends and evenings. I hope you enjoy learning from my past experiences!

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