Professional carver Ian Agrell starts with questions when suggesting what tools to buy: What sort of carving do you want to do? What size? What woods? Then he gets down to which tools are best. He avoids buying sets, saying one or two pieces in them are always unnecessary. You can always add more. He talks about where to find them and which tool types to start with. He finds straight gouges, V-parting tools, fishtail, and spoon gouges the most helpful, but he includes a complete list of what you should get. He explains section and size numbers, how to drive carving tools, and how to store them.

From Fine Woodworking #122