Hook knives are a great tool for beginners to get started with regardless of your skill level in woodcarving. If you are interested in woodcarving, whittling, or just want to dip your toe into woodworking a hook knife is a great low-cost option to get started.
A hook knife comes with a sharp blade that makes carving easier and enjoyable. You can use it for spoon carving, chip carving, letter detailing, and whittling projects. With a click of a button, you can easily buy one of these online. However, the many different kinds of hook knives on the internet make it confusing to pick the one that works best for you.
We understand this frustration and have compiled a quick but straightforward review designed to satisfy your spoon carving and whittling needs. To ensure that you get value for your money, we used thorough grading criteria that explore and judge every item on price, versatility, quality of material, longevity, and ease of use.
While this article is meant to guide you in buying the best hook knife that is within your means, below is a summary of the basic terms that will help you understand it better.
Hook Knife – a sharp knife-looking tool used to make concave hollows in spoons and bowls.
Whittling Knife – a tool used to carve by repeatedly making cuts on your workpiece one small piece at a time.
Corrosion – the process of causing gradual destruction due to chemical action.
Tapered handle – a hook knife’s handle that gradually lessens.
Holding an edge – the ability of the knife to maintain its sharpness and be used for smoother cutting.
Pick #1 Beaver Craft Wood Carving Tools Kit - Top Pick
Unlike the costly ‘brand hook knives’ flooding the market today, the BeaverCraft Wood Carving Hook Knife comes with the same premium quality at an affordable price. This hook knife features a sharp corrosion-resistant carbon steel blade and can be used right after unboxing it. The knife’s ability to hold its edge makes it popular for carving smooth and consistent cuts into harder woods.
Its handle is made of oak and the flat features on its side are designed to give you more control and enhance its ergonomics. This is further fastened with a copper ferrule that firmly holds the hook in place preventing it from wearing down.
The BeaverCraft Wood Carving Hook Knife is versatile and can be used for spoon carving, chip carving, carving bowls, letter carving, and more. However, it does not come with a sheath and there are claims that a small percentage of these hook knives arrive dull and unsharpened. Reason enough for you to learn the handy skill of sharpening one.
Overall, this durable, ergonomic, and versatile option offers premium quality at a price that won’t necessarily cost you a fortune.
Pick #2 Gaxcoo Wood Carving Tools Kit
The Gaxcoo wood carving tools kit comes with a great set of 3 different woodcarving knives and a sharpening stone. The knives include a sloyd, detail, and hook knives that can be used for different carving works for both softwood and hardwood.
The sloyd knife is made for whittling and roughing out your workpiece while the hook knife is designed for smooth edge carving. For an authentic look and feel, all knives in this set have smooth rounded wood handles made of oak. This makes them much easier even for beginners to use in carving spoons and kuska bowls.
Other hobbyists and DIY woodworkers will appreciate Gaxcoo wood carving tools kit’s ergonomics but will love its carbide blades more. Its sharp carbon-steel blades are not only meant to hold its edge and be durable but also to handle a myriad of small-scale woodcarving projects.
On the downside, more advanced woodcarvers would opt for an alternative bigger set that comes with multiple carving knives for serious carving. If you are a beginner or a hobbyist, looking for an inexpensive but convenient woodcarving toolset for your small-sized home projects then this kit should be your quick fix.
Pick #3 Morakniv Hook Carving Knife
The Morakniv Hook Carving Knife comes into the picture as a premium hook knife. The strength of this Swedish-made hook knife mainly lies in its corrosion-resistant stainless steel blade. Unlike those made with carbon steel, the stainless blade contains chromium that makes it poor at holding its edge.
However, it comes with an ergonomic wooden handle. This makes it feel comfortable and convenient when in use.
This model is a single-edged razor-sharp hook knife that comes ready for carving right out of the box. Due to its sharpness, it’s advisable for complete beginners to first work on their cutting technique just to be safe. The knife weighs 9.6 Ounces and has a wide-angle that makes it lighter on the hand for faster carvings. This also makes it perfect for carving bowls and other bigger projects.
Sadly, this model does not include a sheath in its package but what keeps it from being our top pick is that it is expensive. However, you will have a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty to cushion your purchase. For safety reasons we insist that you should not leave it uncovered when not in use.
Overall, the Morakniv Hook Carving Knife is a durable, very sharp, and wide-angled hook knife suitable for both small and large carving projects.
Pick #4 Flexcut Sloyd Hook Knife
The Flexcut Sloyd Hook Knife is the second most expensive hook knife in this review. This hook knife is an experience-based tool that will not make a huge difference unless you are a full-time wood carving specialist. If you are an intermediate user, do not expect to improve your experience very much with this model.
From the start, you are bound to notice its high-quality handle that is carefully carved from cherry. This also will give you a great feel when handling it and does not stain easily like other woods. This hook knife also has a corrosion-resistant brass ferrule that tightly holds the handle and the blade together. This helps to improve its durability and strength.
The manufacturer’s tout this model as a full-tang hook knife meaning that its blade goes all the way up to the cherry handle. This hook knife weighs 3.2 Ounces and is slightly large. The only downside is that its price matches that of other premium quality options. Other than that, it is perfect for commercial spoon carving.
The knife heavily borrows from the iconic Swedish design to sharpen easily but does not come with a sheath. However, it is a great tool for hollowing your bowls and carving spoons.
Pick #5 Narex Spoon Carving Hook Knife
Unlike most hook knives in the market, the Narex Spoon Carving Hook Knife has serrations on the right making it a good option for the left-handed woodworkers. For your convenience, this will also allow you to push using the left hand and pull with the right one.
Its blade is made from an alloy of manganese steel. This makes it a very strong knife perfect for projects predominated by high abrasion rates. Unlike the premium quality alternatives, this model has a very odd blade angle. This coupled with its 11/16 inches width-sized blade, makes it hard for one to carve faster.
This clunky feeling is simply not worth its price point. At that price, you can easily get a premium best budget option that will help improve your carving experience. Its narrow blade is not good at making precise cuts and can’t be used for letter detailing.
However, this is still a decent model for left-handed woodcarving experts, especially when working on smaller projects that don’t require much precision.
Pick #6 Elemental Tools Spoon Carving Knife
The Elemental Tools Spoon Carving Knife is a high-quality option that comes in a whole package set that’s ready to get you started instantly. This package consists of a detail knife, hook knife, wood spoon plank, sloyd knife, cut resistant gloves, polishing compound plus strap, and a display box.
Unlike many others in this review, this model comes with a bamboo storage case. This is a great bonus especially if you occasionally tend to misplace tools. This model’s different knives for carving make it more versatile. Other than spoon and kuksa bowl carving, you can also use it to whittle gnomes and kuksa cups.
For your own safety, this model also comes with a pair of cut-resistant gloves designed to fit most hand sizes. Despite being made of 65MN carbon steel and an ergonomic black walnut rounded handle, there are claims that this model isn’t very durable.
The model is also expensive but if you happen to be dissatisfied with the purchase, you can easily take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee. In short, this model is ready to use, versatile, and can be used by both beginners and expert woodcarvers.
How We Picked The Best Hook Knives
A hooking knife can be used for multiple purposes such as letter detailing, whittling, spoon carving, and chip carving. However, they are often made with varying blade types and shape and some can only be used for specific projects. To help you select the best option for your project below are the criteria that we used in this review.
Pricing is a critical factor that usually guides our decisions when buying almost anything. We tend to consider more aspects such as affordability. We ought to be cautious when considering a hook knife’s price this doesn’t necessarily reflect its quality. For instance, our top pick is of high quality and costs $43.95 while the Narex Spoon Carving Hook Knife isn’t a premium quality model and goes for $9.96 less.
Quality of materials
From the review, you can already tell that those with carbon steel blades often translated to very high quality followed by stainless steel ones. Carbon steel blades are highly preferred due to its ability to carve hardwoods but we highly recommend those with corrosion-resistant carbon steel such as the BeaverCraft Wood Carving Hook Knife. Moreover, most hook knives come with a comfortable wooden handle for ease of use. If your choice comes with a carrying case, the better as this ensures its safe keeping after use.
How Well Does the Knife Hold an edge?
Woodcarving is an attention-demanding craft meaning that you are always focused on making precise cuts. However, your focus might greatly be disrupted especially when your knife doesn’t hold its edge. This means that you will spend more time re-sharpening the blades and in turn hurt your productivity.
Hook knives such as our best budget option are specifically meant for whittling spoons. Versatile alternatives from Beaver Craft, Elemental Tools, and Morakniv give you so much flexibility between different projects. These can be used to carve kuska cups, bowls, wooden board games, and letter detailing.
As already stated, hook knives with either corrosion-resistant carbon steel or stainless steel blades are h3er and durable. For a risk-free purchase, you should go for those that include a 100% money-back guarantee. However, make sure that this guarantee/warranty period has clearly been stated. We recommend anything beyond 30 days.