I thought I should write a little about why whittling is something worth pursuing. So here goes…

This hobby really came about due to my son’s insatiable love of sticks. We had so many sticks lying about the garden that I decided to make a “stick holder” for them which is essentially a bit of wood on four legs with a variety of holes drilled in it. The sticks are then stored neatly at the back door. These then became sharpened sticks which we used for toasting marshmallows. The hunt for good sticks evolved into a bit of obsession, and of course, I needed a good knife to trim the sticks. This then became a collection of whittling knives and tools. From there I started to make a variety of trinkets and carvings which now litter the house (as do the wood shavings). A great and cheap hobby but can be very time consuming.


Time – 30 minutes to several days depending on scale.

Equipment – A sharp pen knife (although I would recommend a proper whittling knife for about £25 and a set of whittling tools for about £10. Also a pair of carving gloves for about £7 which I would say are essential. Sand paper for finishing touches and any old oil eg olive, for coating your carving at the end).

Cost – £ to £££. You could spend hundreds on belt sanders and band saws. However, I would say that the main pleasure here is the feel of trimming away the wood by hand so I’d caution against buying any power tools.

Difficulty – Moderate. Really depends on the scale of the project but as time goes by I suspect you’ll want to do bigger and more challenging carvings.

Partner annoyance factor – Moderate to High mainly due to the mess. I would suggest keeping this as an outdoor or garage past time.

Family Friendly – Not really although older children might be interested but be very cautious with them using sharp knives. However, going for walks in the woods and on beaches with my son looking for sticks to carve has brought immense pleasure. Unfortunately we now have a garden full of drift wood and branches. There’s only so many marshmallow toasting sticks that one can make!

Rewards – High. Very soothing and mindful past time. Gives a great deal of satisfaction, not to mention an endless supply of gifts and trinkets to hand out to people.