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Meny Stäng

Woodcarving with children

A safe adventure
Children and knives
It’s completely silent and concentration is total. All focus is on carving the stick, sliver by sliver, on carefully evening out the edges of the piece of wood. Is it going to be a bark boat? A barbecue stick? Or maybe even a butter knife? Working with a knife and a carving subject can give long moments of pleasure. It gives adult and children alike an almost meditative feeling of being in the present.
As always when working with a knife, one needs to have respect for the tool, both adults and children alike. When we carve wood together with children, we need to be aware of what we do with the knife, how we carve and how we behave. Here are our tips for what you can keep in mind when you’re about to bring out your knife and start to get creative together with your apprentice.
Choosing the child’s knife
From Scout to Companion

Choosing the right knife is the first and perhaps most important step when starting to learn wood carving. It can also be difficult. Basically, it’s about finding the best alternative for each individual child. Exactly what is the right age to introduce a knife, or which model the child is ready to use is difficult to say. It’s up to you to assess the situation and the child and choose what you think is most suitable. Below are some of our recommendations for different models adapted for children who want to learn to carve in wood.

Scout 39 Safe

The scout knife is the best starter knife. This model – Safe – has a point-free blade so the child doesn’t get pricked unnecessarily. There is a double finger guard to make it safer and prevent fingers slipping down onto the edge.

The first knife
The second knife
Scout 39

This scout knife also has a double and safe finger guard. The difference between this and the Safe model is the sharp point, making it suitable for the young woodcarver with a bit more experience.

Woodcarving Junior

Woodcarving Junior suits the slightly more experienced youngster. This is the knife we perhaps recommend above all others with its short blade, pointed edge and simple finger guard. The spindle shaped handle is a good size for children’s hands. It’s simply a very good junior woodcarver knife.

The third knife
The fourth knife

The Companion is a true all-round knife that also works superbly for woodcarving. It is good for all ages; both youngsters and adults alike can enjoy this model. If children use this knife it’s important to keep in mind that the blade is slightly longer, so that the knuckles of the hand holding the subject don’t get injured.

Things that are good to have
There are a few good things to bring with you when you go out in nature to carve wood. Always have a first aid kit at hand, with plasters, tape and smaller first aid supplies. It can be good to wear a belt so that the child can carry the knife cover around their waist. Make sure there are plenty of potential carving subjects – brushwood to carve sticks from, aspen twigs or round trunks of linden, birch or alder. Make sure you point out that cutting down branches from living trees is not allowed. Prepare a place with stable benches, pales or tree stubs of child height. It can be good to have a fire to keep warm, or a roof nearby to run for cover in case of rain.
Talk about the knife
Start by looking at and talking about the knife together. Explain the different parts of the knife: handle, blade, spine, edge, finger guard, and knife cover. Then go through how to handle a knife. Point out that they are sharp and pointy, and that one can cut or prick oneself if the knife isn’t used in the way you agreed. Never play with the knife! Never place it on the ground either, someone might fall or step on it. The knife will also get dirty and blunt. That’s why the knife should always be kept in its cover when it isn’t in use.
Pass the knife
Explain that it’s never OK to take somebody else’s knife, if they haven’t given it to you themselves. Train at handing a knife to each other safely: the handle should always point to your friend who takes the knife. Hold it carefully, and make sure to hold the knife with the edge turned away from your palm. Make eye contact with your friend as confirmation, and use calm movements, no sudden jerks.
Find a carving subject
The Swedish “right of access” law states that it is only permitted to take smaller branches and twigs that have fallen to the ground. One good tip is to ask your local timber yard or carpenter if they have any bits of wood in a good size for what you want to carve. Remember that fir and pine are relatively hard wood types, so alder or aspen are softer and easier for children to carve with. You can also find and order carving materials online.
Carving together with children?
Here are some suitable knife models
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Woodcarving with children