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How long should my knife blade be?

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  • How long should my knife blade be?

    I always recommend that beginning carvers start with a 1-1/2 inch straight blade. Why? The straight blade is the most useful for all around carving, and 1-1/2 inches is about all a beginner can handle safely.

    If the blade is much longer than that, 'over-reach' cuts become a real problem. That is; the blade reaches across the carving and cuts the other hand.

    So why are there longer blades available? The reason is, once a carver gains skill and respect for the knife, a longer blade is much more useful; especially on larger carvings.

    Most of the time I carve with a 2-3/8 inch straight blade; but I also have a slightly curved knife with a blade over 4 inches long that I enjoy carving with.

    Blade length is a personal decision much like hair length;
    it is really what you are comfortable with.
    (No, I don't have a ponytail)

  • #2


    • #3
      Re: How long should my knife blade be?

      Glad to hear we reduced the injury rate.

      Thank you for your confidence in my advice.

      (just don't ask how to invest your money) :-/


      • #4
        Re: How long should my knife blade be?

        What money?



        • #5
          Re: How long should my knife blade be?

          So far the longest knife I have used is 1 1/2', seems plenty long enough for my carvings, which are up to twelve inches tall. I prefer the one that is 1 1/8' long, Dave Lyons brand, of course! Callynne


          • #6
            Re: How long should my knife blade be?

            Just finished a seminar with Pete LeClair....

            He uses very long knife blades - over 3' for almost all of his work. He does use a shorter blade at about 2' for detail and will use a gouge sparingly.

            I like a relatively short blade at about 1'. I feel I have better control. I do use gouges quite a bit, especially for roughing out.

            Caution on long blades: be careful on paring cuts with the thumb. The heel of the blade can cut into the thumb and cause multiple light cuts that may not be noticed right away. This happens most often if you carve towards the tip of the knife. Also, when using longer blades, the tip can cut your holding hand (and or fingers) if you are not using good techniques.


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