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The 5 best carving knives for children - and why I do not recommend Opinel knives (+carving guide for parents)

Learn from the wilderness educator and wilderness mentor which knives are best suited for children to use for carving. Are Opinel children's knives really good?

from Martin Gebhardt | Gear | no comment yet | reading time 22 Min
Updated on 13 June 2024 4.293 views 100% found this guide helpful
The 5 best carving knives for children - and why I do not recommend Opinel knives (+carving guide for parents)

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • The selection of a child-friendly carving knife is crucial for safety and fun while carving.
  • Carving promotes creativity, connection to nature, and teaches children how to handle tools respectfully.
  • A good carving knife for children should be sharp, but safe, with a rounded tip, fixed blade, non-slip handle, and a stable blade.
  • Carving knife safety criteria include, in addition to a sharp blade, features such as a rounded tip and ergonomic handle for better control.
  • Carbon steel knives are sharper and easier to sharpen than stainless-steel knives, but require more careful maintenance to avoid rust.
  • Safe handling of carving knives for children includes instruction on carving rules and avoiding the "blood circulation" danger zone while carving.

Imagine your child wants to explore the world of carving, but you are facing a big problem:

Which knife is safe enough for small hands?

I have experienced this concern myself, with two curious sons who were ready to unleash their creativity in the forest.

The fear of getting hurt almost takes your breath away. You wonder how you can support her interests without putting her at risk.

I have examined numerous knives in detail, aiming to find the perfect tool for young carvers.

It was not only about safety, but also about not dampening their enthusiasm.

I share my discoveries and experiences with you.

Here you will find the answer to the burning question: Which carving knife is safe and inspiring for your child?

Why Carving Can Be a Great Activity for Kids

Carving is much more than just a hobby; it is a portal to nature, a method through which children learn to use the gifts of the forest wisely and respectfully.

As a wilderness mentor, I have seen how children develop a deeper connection to nature through carving. They not only learn how to identify and work with different woods, but also come to appreciate the value of patience and the importance of mindfulness.

kind am schnitzen 1

The fact is for me: A good carving knife is the key to this world.

However, it must be the right tool for the small, curious hands.

In my time as a mentor (learn more about me here), I have seen the joy and wonder in the eyes of children as they shape their first piece of wood.

This experience highlights the importance of choosing a knife that is not only safe, but also child-friendly.

Not every knife is suitable for every hand, especially when it comes to our youngest nature enthusiasts. Choosing the right knife considers not only the size and shape of a child's hands, but also their ability to handle the tool safely.

Carved spoons and knives by children
Carved spoons and knives by children

A suitable carving knife not only allows children to bring their creative visions to life, but also teaches them to take responsibility for their tools and their environment.

As a mentor, it is my duty and joy to accompany and support this process by ensuring that every child holds the right tool in their hand.

What features should a children's carving knife have?

Safety is the be-all and end-all, that's for sure.

As a wilderness educator and father of two sons who are just discovering their passion for carving, I know what matters.

You want to give your child the freedom to be creative, explore nature, and develop important skills.

But of course, everything should proceed safely.

kind am schnitzen

Therefore, I have delved deeply into the topic and share here my insights on the characteristics that a carving knife for children should have.

Here are my eleven insights:

1. Sharp, but safe

A sharp knife may sound contradictory when we're talking about children. But a dull knife requires more force when carving. And if you slip, it can lead to uncontrolled cuts - increasing the risk of injury.

A sharp knife, on the other hand, cuts through the material more cleanly. This not only makes carving more efficient, but also safer.

messer scharf halten luecke schliessen

2. Rounded Tip

A rounded tip reduces the risk of the child or other people accidentally stabbing themselves while using the knife. This detail is especially important for beginners and also provides parents with a reassuring feeling.

hultafors sicherheitsmesser skr 380090 3

3. Fixed Blade

A fixed blade knife provides stability and safety.

Folding knives may seem practical, but their mechanisms can fail, potentially causing the knife to fold inwards.

A fixed blade knife eliminates this risk.

In addition, the locking mechanism on folding knives often does not hold up for long or becomes loose - increasing the risk of injuries.

Here in the picture below, I split a thin log with the Hultafors Safety Knife SKR (Model 380080). Impossible with a folding knife, and if you do manage to do it, it's very dangerous and your knife will be damaged.

I will introduce the Hultafors Safety Knife SKR (Model 380080) in more detail, including the blue variant.

hultafors sicherheitsmesser sk 380080 abgerundete spitze carbonstahl 7

4. Non-slip Handle

Children's hands are often still unsteady. A non-slip grip made of rubber or plastic provides the necessary control and prevents the knife from slipping easily out of the hand.

griff von mora garberg carbon

5. Stable Blade

A blade that is neither too thin nor too thick, around 2-3 mm, is ideal. It provides the necessary robustness for most carving work without being unnecessarily heavy.

6. Optimized Blade Sharpening

The Scandi grind is ideal for woodworking. It combines sharpness and stability, making it the perfect choice for carving knives.

Unlike a flat grind found on an Opinel knife, the Scandi grind is easier to sharpen, even for beginners.

messerschliff klingendesign en

Read also

What are the common blade grinds for outdoor knives? (How to choose the right knife) - Learn all about the most important blade grinds for outdoor knives. This way you can find the optimal grind for every activity such as carving or field dressing game.

7. Secure Knife Sheath

A child's knife must be able to be safely stored. A solid and secure knife sheath protects both the blade and the child.

hultafors sicherheitsmesser sk 380080 abgerundete spitze carbonstahl 6

8. Easy Care

Children should learn to take responsibility for their tools. A knife that is easy to maintain supports this learning process. I place great importance on easy sharpening, which works excellently with a Scandi grind.

It's no use: The knife will have to be sharpened one day; otherwise it will become dangerous to carve with. I have written a guide specifically for beginners on this topic: This simple and affordable trick shows you how to keep your knife sharp

Rust resistance is not so relevant to me. I prefer sharp knives anyway, and these are often made of carbon steel. Stainless steel - which is rust-resistant steel - is indeed harder, but therefore more difficult to sharpen and not as sharp. Therefore, you will also find recommendations here for children's knives that are not rust-resistant.

9. Lightweight

A heavy knife quickly tires small hands. A light knife, on the other hand, promotes endurance and joy in carving. Stay away from knives that weigh more than 120 grams.

10. Pommel Guard (Hand Protection) for Additional Protection

A knife with a guard provides additional protection for the hand holding the knife. It prevents the hand from slipping onto the blade in case of slippage.

hultafors sicherheitsmesser skr 380090 2

11. Value for Money

A good children's knife doesn't have to be expensive. Up to 15 € is a fair price for a tool that won't be the last in your child's collection. Some knives, like the "Hultafors Safety Knife SK 380080 (my review)", can be purchased for as little as 8 € including shipping.

My Top List: These 5 knives have made it into my top list for children's carving knives

What are good carving knives for children?

Good carving knives for children are the Morakniv Unisex Adult Safe with a safe, rounded tip and non-slip handle, the Hultafors Safety Knife SKR 380090 with a sturdy design and practical sheath, the BeaverCraft Carving Knife C1 Kid with a special hand guard and ergonomic handle, and the BeaverCraft Scout Knife, designed for young adventurers with a rounded tip and secure grip.

Let's take a closer look at the knives now.

1. Morakniv Unisex Adult Safe, Green, small

The Morakniv Unisex Adult Safe is a carving knife specially designed for safety and simplicity, making it ideal for young carvers such as children and beginners.

Here are the details:

Material

The blade of the Morakniv Unisex Adult Safe is made of stainless Sandvik 12C27 steel, a Swedish steel known for its robustness and durability. However, the knife is delivered with a carbon steel blade.

With a hardness of 58 HRC, it ensures excellent sharpness and is still easy to sharpen.

morakniv unisex adult safe green small 5

Design

The knife features a rounded tip that minimizes the risk of accidental stabs, making it a safe choice for children. With a blade thickness of 2.3 mm, it provides the right balance between flexibility and stability for various carving tasks.

morakniv unisex adult safe green small 4

Handle

The handle of the Morakniv Unisex Adult Safe is made of textured, non-slip polypropylene, providing a secure and comfortable grip. This is especially important for maintaining control while carving and enabling fatigue-free work.

morakniv unisex adult safe green small 7

Sheath

A gray or black plastic sheath with a practical belt clip is included. This sheath not only provides secure transport, but also quick access to the knife when needed.

morakniv unisex adult safe green small 8

Area of application

With a total length of 22 cm (blade length 8 cm) and a weight of only 76 grams, this knife is light and easy to handle. It is excellent for various carving tasks, from rough work to finer details.

The Morakniv Unisex Adult Safe continues to stand out for its specific safety features, making it an ideal starter knife for children and teenagers.

It combines Swedish craftsmanship with thoughtful design to ensure a safe and enjoyable carving experience.

Morakniv Unisex Adult Safe, Grün, small
4,5 (68)

Data updated 18 hours ago

Morakniv Unisex Adult Safe, Grün, small

  • Stainless Steel, rostfrei
  • Griff aus rutschfestem Polypropylene
  • graue Kunststoffscheide
  • abgerundete Klinge
  • 2,3 mm Klingendicke

no price can be determined (B00TO03KUE)

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2. Morakniv Mora Safe Pro Carbon, Utility Knife, Rounded Blade Tip, FT02044

There is another similar version of the Morakniv knife - the Morakniv Safe Pro Carbon, which has almost the same features and I recommend it just as much.

The only difference here is a slightly shorter handle (11.5 cm). The knife is only 19.7 cm long, but the blade is 0.1 cm longer, at 8.1 cm. Again, the blade is made of carbon steel (59-60 HRC).

Furthermore, the Mora Safe Pro Carbon is slightly pricier than the Morakniv Unisex Adult Safe. The blade thickness on the spine of the knife is also slightly thinner at 2 mm for the Mora Safe Pro Carbon.

Further down in the guide, I will explain the differences between carbon steel and stainless steel for outdoor knives.

Morakniv Safe Pro Carbon Steel Fixed Blade Knife with Blunt Tip

Amazon
Offer

-9%

Data updated 21 hours ago

Morakniv Safe Pro Carbon Steel Fixed Blade Knife with Blunt Tip

  • Fixed blade utility knife with carbon steel blade and blunt safety tip
  • Blade thickness: 0.08 inches; blade length: 3.2 inches; total length: 7.8 inches; weight: 3.8 ounces
  • Ergonomic TPE rubber handle with finger guard offers secure and comfortable grip
  • Includes plastic sheath with belt clip
  • Manufacturer's limited lifetime warranty

$14.59
List Price: $15.99

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3. Hultafors Safety Knife SKR, Model 380090

The Hultafors Safety Knife SKR, Model 380090 is characterized by its robustness and well-thought-out safety design.

Designed to enable young carvers to handle it safely, it combines high quality with practical features.

hultafors sicherheitsmesser skr 380090 1

Here are the key points that make it especially suitable for children:

Sharpened Edge

The sharp blade is sharp and at the same time safe, ideal for precise work without an increased risk of injury.

hultafors sicherheitsmesser skr 380090 3

Durable Material

Both handle and sheath are made of impact-resistant PP plastic. So the knife will last forever.

Security-Oriented Design

With a rounded tip and a stainless-steel blade, it minimizes the risk of cuts. Additionally, the manufacturer has integrated a finger guard that I particularly like.

hultafors sicherheitsmesser skr 380090 2

Versatile Carrying Options

The sheath can be attached to both the belt and clothing. This way, your child can easily choose where to attach the knife.

Swedish Quality Promise

As a product of the renowned tool manufacturer Hultafors, it stands for reliable quality and safety.

Cost Efficiency

An excellent value for money makes it an affordable option for beginners. It costs no more than 10 euros! And, well, if your child really loses it, it's not the end of the world.


These features make the Hultafors Safety Knife SKR (Model 380090) an ideal tool for children aged 6 and above, which convinces not only with its safety features, but also with its handiness and robustness.

It offers young carvers the opportunity to develop their skills safely and joyfully.

Hultafors Sicherheitsmesser (mit Stumpfer Spitze, im Köcher mit runder Spitze, Farbe Blau, aus japanischem Messerstahl) 483150

Data updated 18 hours ago

Hultafors Sicherheitsmesser (mit Stumpfer Spitze, im Köcher mit runder Spitze, Farbe Blau, aus japanischem Messerstahl) 483150

  • Messer mit stumpfer Spitze zur Vermeidung von Stichverletzungen.
  • Klinge aus 2,5 mm starkem japanischen Messerstahl, einem auf 57-59 HRC gehärteten Edelstahl.
  • Im Köcher mit runder Spitze
  • Farbe Blau
  • Im Lieferumfang ist ein Sicherheitsmesser

$49.62

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And if you're wondering why there is a yellow version of the Hultafors Safety Knife SKR (Model 380080), here's the explanation.

The Hultafors Safety Knife SKR (Model 380080) is the same knife, just with a carbon steel blade.

hultafors sicherheitsmesser sk 380080 abgerundete spitze carbonstahl

If you really want to give your child a sharp knife with a Scandi grind, then buy the outdoor knife.

Here are the differences again:

hultafors sicherheitsmesser skr und morakniv 1

4. BeaverCraft Carving Knife for Beginners C1 Kid

The BeaverCraft Carving Knife for Beginners C1 Kid is an excellent tool for children who want to explore the world of woodworking.

This knife has been specially designed to provide children with a safe and enjoyable carving experience.

beavercraft schnitzmesser anfaenger c1

Here is a brief introduction and a list of features combined with the benefits for children:

  • Security-oriented design: The rounded tip of the knife minimizes the risk of cuts, making it an ideal entry tool for young carvers.

  • Special hand guard: A unique guard on the handle prevents the hand from slipping into the blade while carving, providing additional safety.

  • Ergonomic handle: The compact and thoughtful handle design fits perfectly in a child's small hands, offering a secure and comfortable grip, making carving easier and improving control.

  • Carbon steel blade: The blade made of high-quality carbon steel is durable and stays sharp for a long time, allowing for a smooth carving experience.

  • Includes leather sheath: The knife comes with a convenient leather sheath that provides maximum safety for carrying and storing while also protecting the knife.

The BeaverCraft C1 Kid is not just a tool, but also an educational resource that guides and inspires children to engage with the craft of carving.

BeaverCraft Whittling Knife for Beginners C1 Kid - Whittling Knife for Kids Safety Carving Knife - Children Whittling Knife for Entry-Level Carvers - Kids-Friendly Woodcarving Tools for Beginners

Data updated 18 hours ago

BeaverCraft Whittling Knife for Beginners C1 Kid - Whittling Knife for Kids Safety Carving Knife - Children Whittling Knife for Entry-Level Carvers - Kids-Friendly Woodcarving Tools for Beginners

  • Safe and Reliable Whittling Knife for Kids: Our wood carving knife for kids is completely safe due to its thoughtful design – it has a special guard that keeps the kid’s hands from slipping onto the blade, and a rounded point prevents cuts and scratches.
  • Kids Whittling Knife with Ergonomic Design: The knife has a compact and convenient handle design that provides a secure grip and fits perfectly in a small kid’s hand.
  • Wood Carving Kids Knife Leather Sheath: A whittling knife for kids comes in a genuine leather blade sheath for maximum safety and protection for aspiring young carvers.
  • Beginner Wood Carving Tools for Whittling: This knife is a perfect cutting tool for all whittling jobs and craft hobbies.
  • BeaverCraft Wood Carving Tools Designed for Children: Let your kids unleash their creative talent and reveal their inner wood carver with our brand-new whittling knife designed especially for children

$16.99

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5. BeaverCraft Children's Knife / Scout Knife

The BeaverCraft Children's Knife / Scout Knife - BSH Kid is a carefully designed tool specifically created to introduce young adventurers safely to the world of outdoor activities.

beavercraft kindermesser pfadfindermesser 1

With its child-friendly design, it is the ideal first knife for learning basic knife skills.

Here are the key features and their benefits for children:

  • Rounded Tip: Prevents injuries by minimizing the risk of puncture wounds. This makes the knife particularly safe for young users taking their first steps into the world of carving and outdoor activities.

  • Ergonomic Handle made of European walnut wood: Provides a firm and comfortable grip designed specifically for smaller hands of children. This promotes proper handling and control of the knife.

  • Short, Fixed Blade with Finger Guard: Ensures safety in every outdoor learning experience. The fixed blade gives the child a sense of confidence and stability, while the finger guard provides additional protection against slipping.

  • With Sheath and Belt Loop: The full tang design ensures superior strength and balance. The included sheath offers a secure storage option, and the belt loop makes it easy to carry on outdoor adventures.

beavercraft kindermesser pfadfindermesser

Not only suitable for carving, but also for various outdoor tasks. This promotes versatility and practical learning in children.

BeaverCraft Kids Knife Boy Scout Knife - Whittling Knife for Kids Safe Kid Knife Children's Bushcraft Knife with Sheath Knives for Boys 8-12 First Сamping Cutting Knife with Rounded Tip BSH Kid

Data updated 18 hours ago

BeaverCraft Kids Knife Boy Scout Knife - Whittling Knife for Kids Safe Kid Knife Children's Bushcraft Knife with Sheath Knives for Boys 8-12 First Сamping Cutting Knife with Rounded Tip BSH Kid

  • Boy Scout Knife to Learn Knife Skills: Our specially designed kids’ knife introduces young adventurers to the world of outdoorsing safely. Crafted with a rounded tip and ergonomic handle, it's ideal for teaching kids essential knife skills.
  • Whittling Knife for Kids: Let your child explore the great outdoors with confidence, as this bushcraft kid-safe knife features a short fixed solid blade and a finger protection guard, ensuring safety during every outdoor learning experience.
  • Camping Children's Knife for Little Hands: Make camping trips memorable for your children with our kids' cutting knife. Its European Walnut handle and secure grip design make it perfect for camping tasks like food preparation, woodcrafting, and more.
  • Safe Outdoor Knife for Children – Bushcraft Gift Idea for Boys: Keep your child's curiosity alive on family vacations with our small knives for kids. They are compact and safe, making them the perfect gift for young travelers and budding adventurers.
  • Best First Knife for a Boy Scout: This bushcraft knife is not a child's plaything. It's a real, skillfully crafted, versatile tool for kids who want to learn cooking skills, explore nature, and stay safe in the wilderness

$34.99

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I do not recommend these knives - from Opinel to ZLEMMA

When it comes to choosing the right carving knife for children, there is a lot to consider - safety, handling, weight, and finally, the joy of carving itself.

Unfortunately, not every knife on the market meets these criteria, and some are far from being ideal for children's hands.

Let me be honest and explain to you why certain knives are more of a disappointment than an enhancement to your child's carving experience.

So here is my list of children's carving knives that you probably shouldn't buy if you value safety, quality, durability, and care.

Opinel Carving Knife for Kids

Unfortunately, I keep seeing the Opinel Children's Carving Knife No. 7 (here is my review in German, it only received 5 out of 10 points) in the hands of children, and every time it irritates me that parents did not research well beforehand (hence the existence of the guide here).

Sorry Opinel, but these knives are not good children's carving knives
Sorry Opinel, but these knives are not good children's carving knives

I have often been out with school classes, families, and my children, observing children carving with the Opinel knife.

And if there's one thing I can say, it's that the Opinel children's knife is not optimal for kids.

Although Opinel knives enjoy an excellent reputation among outdoor enthusiasts, is it justified? In my opinion, no.

The Opinel Children's Knife No.7 is not a good children's carving knife.

opinel kinder schnitzmesser

The main issue lies in the folding mechanism, which is not only difficult for small hands to operate, but also poses a safety risk if the blade unexpectedly folds in.

A folding mechanism always poses a safety risk, no matter how well it is designed.

Furthermore, the blades become so dull after a short time that carving becomes pure physical exertion - and then also a risk.

An Opinel is, for me, a knife for hikers who need to cut an apple or spread butter on a slice of bread. It's great for that - but it's not a carving knife!

Your child should have fun carving, right? Then keep your hands off the Opinel children's knife.

opinel kinder schnitzmesser 3

Mora Children's Knife

Mora knives are known for their quality, but the prices for the "Mora Knife / Children's Knife" are simply exaggerated.

You are paying a lot of money, maybe too much, for a tool that does not necessarily offer more safety or better handling. There are cheaper alternatives, such as the "Morakniv Unisex Adult Safe, Green, small (carbon steel)" and the "Mora Safe Pro Carbon" from Morakniv.

However, if you are looking for strong finger protection and have a few extra euros to spare, then I can recommend it to you.

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Data updated 21 hours ago

no price can be determined (B00GSAJOP8)

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EDELFELD - Carving Knife for Children aged 6 and above

The "EDELFELD - Carving Knife" has the same issue with weight, weighing 210 grams. Additionally, it is quite thick. Which child's arm is supposed to hold this knife for an hour?

And a child's knife does NOT need full tang steel. For what?

Even promoting a "unique finger protection" does not make it any better, as this finger protection is also found on 8 € work knives.

Furthermore, the statement that it is "ideal for left- and right-handers" is nothing special. Most regular knives can be used by all people without restrictions. Here, the advertising drum is being beaten quite loudly.

The one good thing I like: It's advertised as spicy.

ZLemma Children's Knife

The ZLemma children's knife offers a sturdy blade, but only moderately removes wood due to the flat grind. Additionally, the design with a finger hole forces the hand into an unnatural position and restricts versatile carving techniques. Efficiency looks different!

There are various carving grips, such as the thumb pressure grip, that are highly efficient and can be used by children at an early age. With the right carving grips, accidents can be avoided and risks minimized.

ZLemma Kids Knife Set for Real Cooking with Sharped Blade for Children, Finger Guard & Educational Ring for Cutting Trainning, Rosewood Handle & Stainless Steel Blade Sharped Edge

Data updated 11 hours ago

ZLemma Kids Knife Set for Real Cooking with Sharped Blade for Children, Finger Guard & Educational Ring for Cutting Trainning, Rosewood Handle & Stainless Steel Blade Sharped Edge

  • Safety and Innovative Education Design This kids knife set unique educational ring structure teaches children the proper use of blades, while the finger guard plate educates them on how to hold food securely while cutting. This ensures a safe cutting experience for kids and makes it easier for them to master the art of safe cutting.
  • Not a Toy, But a Professional Kitchen Knife This children's cutting set strictly adheres to professional knife design and manufacturing standards, featuring sharp blades made from high-quality 420j2 stainless steel that undergoes professional heat treatment, ensuring long-lasting sharpness. It's not just a simple toy; it's a genuine professional tool that allows children to learn cooking skills in a safe environment.
  • Outstanding Durability Crafted with a robust full-tang construction, this product guarantees stability and durability. The premium Japanese 420j2 stainless steel blade and precious rosewood handle ensure that this chopping kit can withstand the test of time, becoming a long-term cooking companion.
  • Ergonomically Designed for KidsNot only does this product have an adorable appearance, but it also incorporates ergonomic principles, ensuring that little hands can comfortably grip the handle, providing balance, and making it easier for kids to learn the correct chopping techniques. This boosts children's confidence and comfort during the cooking process.
  • Exquisite Gift Packaging Our children's chopping kit comes in exquisite gift packaging, adding value and appeal to your present. It's the perfect gift choice, offering both practicality and aesthetics, suitable for special occasions, and an ideal way to ignite a child's interest in cooking.

$16.99

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The knife is also available as a folding knife, but I generally advise against it. Folding knives can be used for mushroom hunting, but not for carving. If you are looking for one, then go for the Victorinox Huntsman.

Furthermore, here: More appearance than reality. Funny dog design? Hand-polished? What child is interested in that? Please give your children good knives to carve with!

Final Thoughts on the List

Not every knife that ends up on "best of" lists on the internet deserves its place there. It is crucial to question the source of these recommendations.

Were the knives actually tested by parents, educators, or equipment experts who share their experiences and feedback from children?

Or are they just commercial recommendations that have little to do with the reality of carving?

When buying a carving knife for your child, there is more to consider than just price and appearance. Pay attention to practical use and safety features.

It is also important to consider whether the knife allows your child to develop their skills. Enjoyment of carving should be the main focus. Ultimately, the experience matters more than the brand.

What is the difference between carbon steel and stainless steel in outdoor knives?

Carbon steel and stainless steel are two popular materials for outdoor knives, and both have their pros and cons.

Carbon steel consists mainly of iron and carbon

Carbon steel is known for its excellent sharpness and easy sharpening. Knives made of carbon steel can be sharpened to be very sharp and retain their sharpness for a long time.

However, carbon steel tends to rust faster if not properly maintained. It requires regular care, such as oiling, to prevent rust. Carbon steel is often the choice for professionals who value sharpness and performance.

Stainless steel contains chromium, which gives the steel its rust-resistant property

Stainless-steel knives are more resistant to corrosion and rust, making them particularly suitable for humid environments. They are easier to maintain than carbon steel knives, as they do not need to be oiled as often

However, they are often more difficult to sharpen and do not hold their edge as long as carbon steel knives. Stainless steel is a good choice for general outdoor activities and for users looking for a low-maintenance knife.

unterschied kohlenstoffstahl edelstahl en

Summarized:

➡️ Carbon steel provides better sharpness and is easier to sharpen, but requires more care against rust.

➡️ Stainless steel is rust-resistant and low-maintenance, but does not quite reach the sharpness of carbon steel and is harder to sharpen.

The choice between the two depends on personal preferences and the intended use of the knife.

My Carving Rules for Kids: Safe Handling of the Knife

When children learn the art of carving, it's not just about showing them how to create beautiful things out of wood.

It is also about teaching them how to handle a carving knife safely.

Here are my golden rules for young carvers:

1. The knife belongs in the knife sheath

A knife is not a toy and should always be handled with care. When not in use, it should be placed in its sheath to prevent accidental injuries.

My rule: As soon as you stop carving, the knife is the FIRST thing to be safely stored. Everything else comes after that.

messerscheide von mora garberg carbon

2. Pay attention to the circulatory system

By "circulatory system" I mean the areas where you could cut if the knife slips. It is also the area around the carver that he can reach with his arm outstretched and knife in hand.

blutkreislauf beim schnitzen en

Teach your children to always carve in a way that they secure the knife when another person enters the bloodstream. This will prevent many accidents.

And that also means that anyone carving should find a fixed seat, with sufficient distance from other people.

3. Always carve away from the body

This is an important safety rule when carving. By always carving away from the body, you minimize the risk of injuring yourself.

This rule also helps to have more control over the knife and make more precise cuts.

But shh: There are also carving grips that lead towards the body. But you don't have to show that to your child for now. I explain all the important carving techniques in my Knife Basics course in the Wildimpuls Annual Program via video.

Below in the video you can see the pull-up grip - a carving grip that leads towards the body.

More important safety rules for carving:

  • Always use both hands: One hand holds the knife, the other the wood. This way you have more control and safety.

  • Carve while sitting: This gives you a more stable posture and prevents you from tripping or falling while holding a knife.

  • Keep distance: Make sure there is enough space around you. Other people should not be in the "blood circle" or come too close.

  • Pay attention to your surroundings: Do not carve near paths where someone could pass by. Find a quiet place where you can work undisturbed.

  • Use suitable material: Start with soft wood that is easy to carve. This reduces the necessary force and thus the risk of slipping.

  • Do not carve when you are tired or when it is dark.

  • Lead by example: Children learn best through observation. So be a living example of how to handle a knife respectfully and safely. Your attitude and technique will be their first textbook.
  • After work is done: A good knife deserves good care. After carving: Clean, secure, and store properly. Waving or running with an open knife? An absolute no-go! And if the knife does slip: Never try to catch it.

  • Dealing with minor mishaps: Even small cuts can happen. It is important to treat them properly: Rinse with cold water, apply a plaster, and discuss how to avoid such accidents in the future. Here are important things about first aid.

Safety always comes first, especially when children are learning to handle tools.

By following these rules and teaching your children, you can help them develop a safe and loving relationship with nature and the craft of carving.

hultafors sicherheitsmesser sk 380080 abgerundete spitze carbonstahl 5

When is the right time to allow children to handle a knife?

I cannot answer this question precisely. However, based on my experience with school classes, I know that children usually handle knives very carefully.

Nevertheless, it is important to consider the child's personality. The influence of the social environment also plays a role. If your child is naturally cautious, but their friends tend to lean towards daring adventures, you should be particularly vigilant.

As a general guideline, many children have the necessary maturity by around 6–8 years old to start gaining their first carving experiences under supervised guidance.

I gave my children a small outdoor knife at the age of 3. However, they did not have the desire to carve at that time.

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Wood Carving Projects for Beginners

Often I am asked:

Martin, what can I carve? I have no idea.

And then I take out my list…

Carving projects offer young adventurers an excellent opportunity to test their skills while deepening their love for nature.

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Here are 14 simple and creative ideas that children can try under supervision and with the right safety equipment:

  1. Rings and patterns in the bark: Great for practicing for beginners.

  2. Tent pegs: Handy for the next camping adventure.

  3. Chopsticks: Perfect for eating noodles in the woods.
  4. Butter knife: Safe and easy, perfect for breakfast at the campsite.

  5. Flowers: Carve simple flower shapes and decorate your home with them.

  6. Keychain: With a simple design or the child's initials.

  7. Boat: A small sailboat that actually floats is a great project.

  8. Dice: A simple die that can be used for playing.

  9. Garden markers: Label your plants in the garden with self-carved markers.

  10. Wall hooks: Handy for light items like keys or lightweight chains.

  11. Letter opener: An elegant desk accessory.

  12. Simple spoon: A classic project that promotes patience and precision.

  13. Small animals: Foxes, owls, or bears make great motifs.

  14. Wooden spatula: Ideal for mixing colors or cooking outdoors.

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These projects are not only entertaining, but also help develop fine motor skills, patience, and spatial imagination.

It is important that safety come first in all projects and that children are always supervised while carving.

With each completed project, not only does carving skill grow, but also self-confidence and connection to nature.

Books for Deepening

Short and sweet - I like these two books:

Carving for Kids: An Introduction to Woodcarving

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Environmental Awareness and Respect for Nature

Carving connects us uniquely with nature. It not only teaches us the art of craftsmanship, but also respect and appreciation for our environment.

Here are a few thoughts on how we can show our love for nature while carving:

  1. Choose your wood wisely: Only collect wood that has already fallen to the ground or is dead. This way, you do not harm any living trees and respect the natural habitat. Pay attention to insects and larvae living in deadwood.

  2. Protect the forest: Leave the forest as you found it. This means not leaving any trash behind and respecting the plants and animals. I recommend following the Leave No Trace principles.

  3. Share your knowledge: Tell others about the importance of nature conservation. By sharing our knowledge and appreciation for nature, we promote an environmentally conscious community.

By following these principles, we make carving an activity that is not only fun but also expresses our deep connection with nature.

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FAQ: Carving Knife for Kids and More

These FAQs are intended to serve as a guide and answer some of the most common questions about carving with children.

It is important to always prioritize safety and gradually introduce learners to the art of carving with the right materials.

Do you recommend carving knife sets consisting of books and knives for carving with children?

I tend not to recommend these sets. Especially because they often include an Opinel knife, which is not an ideal carving knife for children in my opinion. My experience has shown that it is better to buy a good carving knife and consciously choose the appropriate book to go with it.

What is the Virobloc safety system on Opinel knives, and why is it prone to failure?

The Virobloc system is a rotating lock designed to secure the blade of the Opinel knife in the open or closed position. While it is intended to increase safety, over time it may become jammed or too difficult for children to operate. This can make handling more challenging and potentially dangerous. Therefore, I also recommend a fixed-blade knife.

Can you carve with a pocket knife?

Yes, you can carve with a pocket knife; however, fixed blade knives are safer and easier to handle for carving beginners, especially children. Pocket knives can be useful for advanced techniques or as a versatile solution for on-the-go.

What is better: Carbon or Stainless Steel?

Both materials have their pros and cons. Carbon steel is easier to sharpen and holds a sharp edge well, but can rust if not properly maintained. Stainless steel is rust-resistant and easier to care for, but can be more challenging to sharpen. The choice depends on personal preferences and the intended maintenance effort.

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Which wood is suitable for children for carving?

Soft woods like linden, pine, or willow are particularly suitable for children. These types of wood are easier to carve, requiring less effort and reducing the risk of accidents.

Read also

6 trees every survivalist should know - Trees are your lifesavers in survival situations. It is advisable to take a closer look at some trees to make tea, glue, tinder, or salad.

Can anyone learn to carve?

Carving is a skill that almost anyone can learn, regardless of age. It requires patience, practice, and a steady handling of tools. With the right guidance and tools, anyone can learn the basics of carving and strengthen their skills over time.

Conclusion: Go out and learn how to carve - with the right kid's carving knife

Finding the right carving knife for children is like finding the perfect hiking trail: It depends on what suits the person best.

My above-mentioned knives offer safety, comfort, and the right level of sharpness for young nature lovers. Because at the end of the day, it's about promoting a love for nature - safely and with joy in exploring.

Have fun carving and you are welcome to leave a comment on how carving is going for you. When did your children start? What did you carve first?

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

Since this is a gear guide, here ...


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  3. Expertise: My many years of experience allow me to understand the intricacies and details of various products that a layperson might overlook.

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