A wood carving axe has a specific design tailored to the craft, with a flat, curved blade for precise shaping and control. While there are many axes on the market to choose from, not all are created equal.
To help you find the perfect axe that fits your carving needs, we’ve put in countless hours researching and testing.
We assessed factors like the size and shape of the blade, the weight and balance of the axe, and the materials used in its construction.
We also looked at comfort and ergonomics in the handle design, as this can have a considerable impact on your ability to carve accurately and safely over extended periods.
Below you can find our top carving axes based on all of these factors. We hope you find the right one for you.
Best Wood Carving Axes
The Gransfors Bruks Large Swedish Carving Axe is a high-quality carving axe. This axe has been developed in collaboration with master craftsmen Wille Sundqvist and Onni Linnanheimo, ensuring its top-notch design and functionality. Its balance and weight allow you to effortlessly shape and carve wood with precision.
- Excellent balance and weight
- Razor-sharp double bevel blade
- Durable stainless steel material
- Rough handle finish
- Higher price compared to competitors
The razor-sharp double-bevel blade is crafted from stainless steel, guaranteeing durability while maintaining a sharp edge even after extended use.
Some drawbacks to the Gransfors Bruks Large Swedish Carving Axe are its rough handle finish and higher price compared to other alternatives.
Though the rough handle finish allows for a better grip, you might need some time to adjust. Additionally, if you’re specifically looking for a scandi ground sloyd axe, this might not be the right choice for you.
Runner Up: Council Tool 1.7# Wood-Craft Camp Carver Axe
The Council Tool Wood-Craft Camp Carver Axe is a versatile, high-quality wood carving axe you’ll love for both bushcraft and camp chores.
- Excellent for carving and green-woodworking tasks
- Hardened poll for use as a hammer
- Comfortable, curved handle with palm swell
- Slightly more expensive than other axes in its weight class
- May be too small for heavy-duty tasks
- Smaller size may not suit those with larger hands
The Council Tool Wood-Craft Camp Carver Axe combines the best aspects of traditional riggers axes, Northern European bearded axes, and hatchets to create a multi-use tool perfect for bushcraft and camping.
Its design features a flat grind and large bit length to make carving and detailed work a breeze. The axe’s unique bearded blade and radius under the hammer poll allow for comfortable hand positioning, and the hardened poll can double as a hammer for added functionality.
The curved handle, patterned after a vintage design, sports a generous palm swell for a secure grip when choking up. The handle’s eye ensures durability, and the comfortable grip means you won’t mind using this axe for extended periods. Its 90-degree spine makes it easy to scrape tinder and start fires with a ferro rod.
While the Council Tool Camp Carver Axe is a fantastic all-around tool for carving, bushcraft, and camp work, it may not be ideal for heavy-duty tasks due to its smaller size and lighter weight. Additionally, those with larger hands might find its smaller size a bit limiting for comfort.
Budget Pick: BeaverCraft Carving Axe
This BeaverCraft Carving Axe is a versatile and reliable tool that is perfect for wood carving and woodworking projects.
- Hand-forged carving axe for various purposes
- Made of top-grade materials
- Ergonomic and comfortable handle
- Slight imperfections in axe head
- Handle may taper too narrow for some users
- Could be sharper for more demanding tasks
The hand-forged axe head made of advanced hardened carbon steel ensures durability and precision while the ergonomic ash wood handle provides a comfortable grip. The handle is impregnated with linseed oil and wax, preventing it from slipping out of your hand.
Despite being a small axe, it has huge potential for various carving tasks, such as shaping wooden products like kuksas or small sculptures.
The razor-sharp blade, made in Europe, allows for efficient chopping, carving, and other detailed techniques. The perfect balance between the handle and blade enables comfortable, efficient, and safe work.
The BeaverCraft Carving Axe also comes with a genuine leather sheath and belt loop, offering protection for the blade during storage and transportation. Although there might be some slight imperfections in the axe head and the handle may taper too narrow for some users, this carving axe still offers incredible value and high-quality performance for its price.
In summary, this carving axe by BeaverCraft is an excellent choice for woodworkers and carvers who appreciate top-grade materials and ergonomic design in their tools.
Also Great: Council Tool Wood-Craft Pack Axe
A versatile and well-crafted axe perfect for wood carving enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike.
- Made in the USA
- 19″ hickory handle
- 5160 steel with flat grind 25 degrees
- Leather mask may have poor workmanship
- May require additional sharpening
- Some quality inconsistency between products
With its 19″ premium curved hickory handle, you’ll find that it’s easy to grip and maneuver during your carving projects or while splitting wood. The 5160 steel used in the axe head ensures superior strength and sharpness. The flat grind 25-degree angle provides excellent bite and allows the axe to hold its sharp blade well.
One of the unique features of this axe is its Phantom Bevels, which prevent it from sticking during use, resulting in cleaner, faster cutting and other woodcraft tasks.
This design innovation makes the axe a joy to use during your carving and outdoor adventures. The 2lb head gives it a comfortable weight, making it easy to pack along with your gear.
However, there have been some reports of quality inconsistencies between products. Some users have noted that the leather mask may have poor workmanship, with bent rivets on the backside.
Others have mentioned that the axe might require additional sharpening to reach the desired sharpness. Despite these cons, many satisfied customers have praised the axe for its build and durability, making this Wood-Craft Pack Axe a wonderful addition to any woodworking enthusiast’s arsenal.
Great Quality: Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
This Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet is an outstanding wood carving axe worth considering for both casual users and professionals due to its sharpness, build quality, and versatility.
- Exceptional sharpness and cutting ability
- Durable and well-crafted
- Suitable for various woodworking tasks
- Expensive compared to other options
- Leather sheath may not be long-lasting
- Might be too small for heavier tasks
The Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet strikes the perfect balance between size and functionality. It’s comfortable to hold, thanks to its ergonomic handle and compact size.
One of the most notable features of this hatchet is its exceptional sharpness and cutting ability, allowing you to easily slice through a variety of materials with minimal effort.
The Swedish craftsmanship and attention to detail that has gone into the production of the 415 model ensure that it is durable, well-built, and able to withstand both light and heavy-duty woodworking tasks.
However, not everything about the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet is perfect. Although it is an exquisite tool, its price tag may deter those on a tighter budget. Additionally, the leather sheath provided might not last as long as one might expect, requiring eventual replacement. This axe might be too small for users who frequently engage in extremely heavy-duty tasks, leading to some limitations in terms of application.
In conclusion, for those who value quality over budget and require a versatile, high-performance wood carving axe, the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet is an excellent choice. Despite its minor drawbacks, this hatchet will serve as a reliable and efficient tool for all your woodworking needs.
What to Look for in a Good Wood Carving Axe
Weight and Balance
Getting the right weight and balance in an axe is crucial for effective and safe carving. As you handle and swing your axe, it should feel comfortable and not overly heavy. A well-balanced axe puts less strain on your wrists and arms, enabling you to carve with precision and control.
Axe Head Material
The material of the axe head will contribute to the durability and sharpness of your tool. High-quality steel, such as carbon steel or stainless steel, is a strong and reliable choice. These materials retain their sharpness for a longer period and resist chipping or damage.
The handle material is another important factor in choosing the best wood carving axe. Wooden handles, especially those made from hardwoods like hickory and ash, offer a balance of strength and flexibility. There are also synthetic handles, such as fiberglass or composite materials, which provide durability and reduce vibrations when carving.
Blade Shape and Size
The shape and size of the blade will determine the type of carving you can achieve. For general wood carving, a beveled edge allows for more control and detailed work, while a flat edge is suitable for roughing out shapes and basic carving. The size of the blade should be proportional to your carving projects for maximum efficiency and precision.
Apart from the crucial aspects mentioned above, here are some additional features to consider:
- Sheath: A protective sheath for your axe will help maintain its sharpness and increase its lifespan. Look for a durable and functional sheath that safely encloses the axe head.
- Sharpening Tools: Since maintaining a sharp edge on your axe is important, investing in sharpening tools, such as a sharpening stone or puck, can help keep your tool in top shape.
- Comfortable Grip: A comfortable grip will help reduce fatigue and improve control while carving. Look for a handle with an ergonomic design and ensure the size is suitable for your hands.
Carving axe vs carpenter’s axe
Carving axes are specifically designed for wood carving and feature a curved blade, allowing for smooth, precise cuts. On the other hand, a carpenter’s axe is designed for general woodworking tasks like chopping, splitting, and shaping wood.
Carpenter’s axes have a flatter blade, making them more versatile but less specialized for carving.
Choose a carving axe if your primary focus is wood carving, and a carpenter’s axe if you work on a wider range of woodworking tasks.
What is the Ideal weight for a carving axe?
The ideal weight for a carving axe depends on your personal preferences and the type of wood you’ll be working with. Generally, a lighter axe, around 1-2 pounds, can provide better control and precision for intricate carving tasks, while a heavier axe (2-3 pounds) can be more suitable for larger projects requiring more power. It’s essential to test different weights to find the most comfortable and efficient option for your needs.
Should you use an axe or hatchet for carving?
Both axes and hatchets can be used for carving, but each has its advantages. Axes, being larger and heavier, are especially useful for carving bigger projects and handling larger pieces of wood.
Hatchets, on the other hand, are smaller and lighter, making them ideal for intricate carvings and providing more precise control.
Ultimately, your choice between an axe and hatchet for carving should be based on your specific project requirements, personal preferences, and comfort.
How to sharpen a carving axe
To sharpen your carving axe, you’ll need a sharpening stone or a file. Begin by securing your axe in a stable position, either by clamping it down or placing it between your knees.
Start by filing or rubbing the stone along the cutting edge in a circular motion, maintaining the original angle of the blade. Ensure you sharpen both sides evenly to maintain balance in the cutting edge. F
inish by polishing the edge with a strop and honing compound for a razor-sharp finish. Remember to exercise caution and wear appropriate protective gear while sharpening your axe.