What are good tools to carve in corks?

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Actually, I'm using a simple kitchen knife but I guess there are better choices.

My goal is to carve some chess pieces.

  • I'm assuming you mean cork corks, not the new rubber ones?
    – bowlturner
    May 3, 2016 at 12:34
  • Are you looking to do designs similar to the corks shown? Because you could probably use a wood burning tool to achieve that look.
    – user24
    May 3, 2016 at 14:42
  • @bowlturner So I have mainly cork corks. Anyway I noticed that rubber corks are much easier to carve (they are somewhat softer and breaks less easily).
    – Surb
    May 3, 2016 at 16:41
  • @CreationEdge Wood burning sounds interesting but I'm not sure what it is. Could you tell me more about it?
    – Surb
    May 3, 2016 at 16:42
  • 1
    You can buy wood burning kits that have a little tool sort of like a soldering iron, except you use it to burn designs into wood. You can get different attachments to make certain designs easier. It generally blackens the burnt part.
    – user24
    May 3, 2016 at 16:50

2 Answers 2


I would lean toward scalples/X-Acto knives. They a are very sharp, and the blades lend themselves to carving small details well. They are designed for detailed work unlike kitchen knives which are designed to cut things up.

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As Camil pointed out in the comments, a heftier blade might be needed to start with the larger roughing cuts so it doesn't snap.

  • I was thinking about this, but I think this blade is not strong enough; it is meant for paper. I would suggest a blade like here which should not break as easily.
    – Keelan
    May 3, 2016 at 12:26
  • @CamilStaps I think both would be good, the heavier blade to rough out the shape and the lighter blade for detail work.
    – bowlturner
    May 3, 2016 at 12:29

Depending on the level of detail you are trying to achieve, linoleum cutting tools may work well for you. I would highly suggest practicing on some spare cork first however - I have used these tools for linoleum printing and it takes a while to get the hang of things and avoid cutting yourself.

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  • I remember doing linoleum at school and indeed, it was not so easy. The point is that if it is already not trivial on a flat surface, it might be very hard on a round surface. Anyway, it seems to be a good direction to explore.
    – Surb
    May 4, 2016 at 17:10

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