A man whittling a wooden horse

The Best Whittling Book: A Review of 6 Products

Whittling is one of those forgotten pastimes that was much more popular before we had modern conveniences like television and the internet. However, there are still many who still actively enjoy this art, spending their free time whittling.

You too can enjoy this activity – all you need is some wood, the right tools, and, of course, the know-how. If you’re missing that last requirement, don’t worry. We have you covered.

Here we present the 6 best whittling books available on the market, so that you can choose the best whittling book for you. You’ll be whittling like a professional in no time!

Best Whittling Books on the Market

In this buying guide, we present you with 6 different whittling books. Each will serve a different purpose and be helpful in their own way, but all are excellent choices.

The books are compared by degree of difficulty, how clear they are, and what exactly they teach you to do. The point is that you can use this as your guide to find the best book to suit your unique whittling needs. Here are our selections:

1. The Little Book of Whittling

Available in both hardcover and paperback, The Little Book of Whittling will give you easy to follow instructions on how to get started with your new hobby, and includes plenty of projects that will keep beginners occupied for hours.

The author, Chris Lubkemann, has over 40 years of whittling experience, and he uses this book to impart his knowledge on to the reader. His instructions will have you whittling away like a pro in no time.

With over 18 different projects, the book will keep you entertained for hours as you learn about proper techniques, the best wood for carving, how to care for your knives, and, most importantly, how to get started on your project.

Unfortunately, the book doesn’t go into too much detail about certain aspects of whittling, glossing over information that could be useful for beginners, like properly explaining maneuvers that can be difficult for beginners to grasp.


  • Pages: 104 pages
  • Product Dimensions: 6.11 x 0.33 x 8.98 inches
  • Item Weight: 9.5 ounces


  • Convenient and portable size.
  • Teaches the basics.
  • Friendly and easy-to-read style.
  • Teaches knife maintenance.
  • Focuses on wood selection.


  • Not very useful if you already know how to whittle.
  • Some projects can be tough to master for beginners.
  • The Kindle version is not well scanned.
  • The book can get repetitive after a while.
  • For some projects, you need more tools that aren’t specified.

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2. Complete Starter Guide to Whittling

The Complete Starter Guide to Whittling is another whittling book aimed at beginners of the hobby. This book will guide you through choosing the right knife, and follows up by teaching the basics with 24 different whittling projects.

Made by Woodcarving Illustrated, the book includes easy step-by-step instructions, as well as how-to pictures and ready-to-carve patterns that will aid amateurs on their wood-carving journeys – everything guaranteed to get you started with this relaxing new hobby.

This guide will help you learn the four basic knife cuts, like the push cut, pairing cut, v-shaped cut, and the stop cut, all while teaching you how to properly care for your knife. The book will also teach you the techniques needed to whittle branches and twigs, and will show you the correct types of wood you should use for each project.

The Complete Starter Guide to Whittling will start you off with fast and fun projects that will teach you the basics. After a lot of practice and effort, you will manage to go from basic projects, like a simple flying propeller, to more complex affairs, like a musical frog.


  • Pages: 96 pages
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.25 x 9 inches
  • Item Weight: 11 ounces


  • Teaches the basics.
  • Includes 24 projects that range from beginner to expert.
  • Goes over how to select and care for your whittling knife.
  • Shows the correct wood to use for each project.
  • Teaches whittling techniques for twigs and branches.


  • Some projects need more tools than a knife.
  • Just a recollection of projects from Woodcarving Illustrated.
  • The instructions can be unclear at times.
  • Some projects look easier to whittle than they are in reality.
  • Most of the early projects can be mundane.

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3. Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Whittling Book

The Victorinox Swiss Army knife is one of the most recognizable pocket knives available right now, so it was only natural for them to create a book specifically designed to teach Swiss Army knife owners how to whittle with their knives.

Another book written by world-class whittler Chris Lubkemann, this book has over 43 whittling projects to keep you busy with only a twig and a Swiss Army knife.

With beginner-friendly, step-by-step instructions, you’ll be whittling objects like spoons, forks, and flowers wherever you are – although we should warn you that brandishing a knife might not be the best thing to do while out in public!

The book also comes with instructions on how to properly care for and handle your knife, as well as how to choose the right wood for your project. With this book, you’ll learn basic and expert techniques like the straightaway, drawcutting, thumb-pushing, V-notch, and curling.


  • Pages: 192 pages
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 7 inches
  • Item Weight: 16.1 pounds


  • Easy to read and follow.
  • Focuses on carving with the Swiss Army knife
  • Projects range from simple to complex.
  • The author is enthusiastic about whittling and the book reflects that.
  • Teaches the basics of whittling.


  • It may be hard for beginners to use a Swiss Army knife.
  • Most of the projects are basic and repetitive.
  • Some instructions aren’t clear enough.
  • The book isn’t really useful if you don’t have a Swiss Army knife.
  • The simple projects can be too easy, while the complex can be too difficult.

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4. Whittling Country Folk, Revised Edition

Whittling Country Folk isn’t really a book about learning how to whittle in general, but it is a book that teaches you how to whittle a specific thing – in this case, caricatures of country folk. Written by caricaturist Mike Shipley, he will introduce you to whittling colorful caricatures from his native Ozarks.

This book will teach a little on the basics of whittling, but its main focus is on creating the caricatures of country folk. With over 12 different projects accompanied by step-by-step instructions, the book ensures plenty of easy and fun projects.

What this book offers over other whittling books is that it provides readers with instructions on how to paint and finish the wooden figurines. This ensures that, by the end of the book, you will have 12 fun, colorful, and fully-finished wooden caricatures of country folk.

Lastly, the book also comes with humorous stories about each character, allowing you to get to know their personalities as you enjoy whittling them into life.


  • Pages: 88 pages
  • Product Dimensions: 8.75 x 0.5 x 10.75 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.06 pounds


  • 12 fun caricature projects.
  • Teaches how to paint and seal wooden carvings.
  • Includes over 100 photos to guide you.
  • Includes humorous tales for each caricature.
  • Original formula for mixing your own wood stain in a blender.


  • Not the best book for beginners.
  • Only instructs on how to carve the 12 figurines.
  • Doesn’t teach you about whittling in general.
  • Some instructions are hard to follow.
  • For some projects, you need more tools than a simple knife.

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5. Whittling Little Folk: 20 Delightful Characters to Carve and Paint

This is another book that focuses on whittling character figurines, only this time you whittle a whole community of characters. All of it is done in the Scandinavian flat-plane style of carving, as taught by the master Harley Refsal.

The book includes 20 different characters to carve and step-by-step instructions with photos. The pictures present each pattern to cut with four different perspectives – the front, the back, and both sides – giving the reader a complete 360-degree view of what they need to whittle.

The whittled folk are full of personality, thanks to their rosy red cheeks, toothy smiles, and humorous outfits. A few of the characters featured in the book include the policeman, hard-hat road worker, monk, baker, professor, and football player.

The book includes a brief overview of the Scandinavian flat-plane style of carving, while its simple-to-follow instructions will teach you how to carve and how to paint the little whittled figurines.

Once you are done with Kristian, the Scandinavian husband donning a work shirt, and his wife, Thea, you will be more than ready to begin whittling the entire village.


  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Product Dimensions: 6.07 x 0.31 x 8.99 inches
  • Item Weight: 10.1 ounces


  • Teaches the art of Scandinavian flat-plane style of carving.
  • Pictures present a 360-degree view of the wood carvings.
  • Teaches you how to paint the wooden carvings.
  • Includes step-by-step instructions.
  • Gives a challenge to experienced whittlers.


  • Not for beginners.
  • Doesn’t teach you about which knives to use for the carvings.
  • Some carvings require more tools than a knife.
  • Some instructions can be unclear or imprecise.

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6. Whittling in Your Free Time

Written by Woodcarving Illustrated contributor Tom Hindes, Whittling in Your Free Time is a follow-up to the book 20-Minute Whittling Projects. In this one, you’ll learn the basics of whittling by learning and practicing four simple knife cuts.

Once you have mastered the basics, you will find 16 fast, easy, and fun whittling projects that will enable you to put into practice what you’ve learned. Paired with easy step-by-step instructions, high quality photographs, and clear guidance, the book will teach you to carve, paint, and finish each piece.

By going from simple to challenging, each project will encourage you while teaching new techniques. Before you know it, you will be a whittling master.

This book also teaches the Scandinavian flat-plane wood-carving style, which is the perfect style for beginners. Soon you’ll be carving animals like giraffes, rhinos, woodland deer, wolves, chickens, horses, and even a Golden Retriever.


  • Pages: 96 pages
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Item Weight: 8 ounces


  • The steps are well organized and clear.
  • Teaches the basics.
  • Includes painting tips and how to finish the wood carvings.
  • Teaches the Scandinavian flat-pane wood-carving style.
  • Goes over a simplified method of wood carving.


  • Some projects need more tools than specified.
  • Doesn’t talk about the ideal wood for each project.
  • Dull and repetitive for expert carvers.
  • Doesn’t go over knife maintenance.
  • Doesn’t teach how to select the right knife.

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Whittling Book Buyer’s Guide

All of the whittling books reviewed above are great in their own way, but some may help you in ways that the others can’t. That’s why we’re here, to help you find the ideal book for your money and needs.

Read on for a quick breakdown of our top choices by difficulty level.

The Best Book for Whittling Beginners

The Little Book of Whittling is the ideal book for beginners because it goes over the basics of whittling. From selecting knives to knowing which wood is best for your project, this book will give you all the knowledge you need.

The Best Book for Whittling Experts

If you already know how to properly whittle, then we suggest that you choose Whittling Little Folk, so you can learn or further practice the Scandinavian flat-plane style of carving. This book will take your whittling skills that much farther, and the figurines make for awesome gifts or decorations around the home.


Whittling can be an intricate activity, but it doesn’t have to be difficult! With the right book, you’ll find yourself whittling like an expert in no time. We hope that this review has helped you find the best whittling book for your needs, and we hope that you take this fun hobby as far as you can. Happy whittling!