Schaaf’s New Tool Sets

Product Reviews

Schaaf’s New Tool Sets

Take your pick from three sets of hard-working hand tools that really hold an edge

By Lora S. Irish and Staff of Woodcarving Illustrated

$112.95 (Foundation Set, factory sharpened)
$51.95 (Detail Set)
$78.95 (Expansion Set)

Three years ago, the WCI team reviewed Schaaf’s brand-new 12-piece foundation set with the hope that the manufacturer would expand its line of high-quality hand tools (see “Sharp Tools, Great Value,” issue #87). Now, they have: in addition to the foundation set (which, according to CEO Eli Pearlman, hasn’t changed), Schaaf offers a seven-piece expansion set complete with gouges, fishtails, and V-tools that complement the first set without any overlap. They’ve also added a four-piece detail set consisting of strictly fishtail gouges for fine detail work. 

Renowned relief carver and author Lora S. Irish prefers Schaaf’s tool sets for their tough steel, which she estimates to fall near 60 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale. This means that the tools not only sharpen well but hold an edge for long stretches of time. The steel also runs on the thicker side, letting the user “work the hardest of woods with a mallet without damaging the tool.” (For softer woods, such as basswood and butternut, Lora re-bevels her tools from the standard 23° to 15°.) 

Another notable feature of these sets is the size and shape of the handles. Lora, a carver with smaller hands, welcomes the tapered barrel design, as it offers a variety of grip options—no matter your hand size. 

For each of its three core sets, Schaaf offers both factory-ground and professionally sharpened options. If you go with the former, some basic sharpening will be necessary before you jump into carving. (For an easy step-by-step guide to sharpening all your hand tools, check out Lora’s new booklet below.) 

“These are excellent, long-tanged, long-handled, hard steel tools at an extremely reasonable price,” Lora said. “They provide good value and a nice range of sizes and shapes that will last a lifetime of woodcarving.”

Further Reading

Sharpening Carving Tools for Beginners

by Lora S. Irish

Item 03122. Available for $9.99 + S&H (parcel post) from Fox Chapel Publishing, 800-457-9112,, or your local retailer.


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