These are the 4 main sizes of blades I use to carve my linoblocks – they are known as ‘V’ gauges and are blades designed to push away from you whilst you carve. There are other blades known as ‘pull’ blades designed to pull towards you as you carve – I have never used these.
The blades above fit into a handle when using them to carve lino.
Now at this point I need to stress that these particular carving tools are over 25 years old – they are certainly old and faithful and I guard them jealously. Not because they were hugely expensive but because out of long years of use they are comfortable. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the comfortable. I have noted that a newer set of Speedball blades and handles are not the same as these – they are a different shape of handle and gauges and have less weight in the handle.
I have not the access to shops that sell the more expensive carving tools nor the finances at this point and I would need to feel them before I bought them but I also know that into the future I will need towards replacing these.
The end section on the right side of the above image below comes off and the spare blades can bet stored there but this is not something I do. I do also though use some padding I tape onto the end for the finer blade due to the constant pressure into the palm of my hand whilst carving. The end of the handle fits neatly and comfortably into the centre of my hand.
Essentially you need to find the blades and handles that best feel comfortable to you. As an aside I do not like the long straight wooden handled cheaper lino carving tools that are most used in schools. They contain only larger sized blades and foe me I find them cumbersome to use as I have a small hand and do a lot of fine carving.