Rules for Flights in the USA
On flights in the United States, It isn’t specified whether wood carving tools are allowed or banned from planes. But, the TSA states that tools over 7 inches / 17 centimeters aren’t allowed in cabin baggage. Chisels and gouges aren’t listed but mallets and knives are forbidden in cabin baggage.
Even if they are under the 7 inches / 17 centimeters limit, usually carving tools are considered dangerous since they are sharp and could be used as weapons, so they aren’t allowed on carry-on luggage. Wood carving tools should travel in checked baggage only and they should be packed in a safe way so they don’t harm anyone handling the bag.
It’s also worth noting that electric power tools with installed lithium batteries can travel only in checked baggage. Spare lithium batteries for these tools can only travel in hand baggage and should be under 160 Wh. Plug-in electric wood carvers without batteries theoretically could be allowed, but they could also be classified as a power tool (which are prohibited from hand luggage), so it’s best to pack them in checked luggage instead.
Rules for Flights in Other Countries
On Canadian domestic flights, carving tools aren’t mentioned specifically, but overall hand tools with a blade under 6 centimeters / 2.3 inches are allowed in hand baggage. If they have a longer blade, they should be packed in the checked baggage. For international flights, including the United States, all types of blades and mallets (including carving tools) must go in checked baggage. Powered wood carving tools must also go in checked baggage.
Europe, Australia, and India
On flights within Europe, Australia, and India, wood carving tools aren’t mentioned as permitted or prohibited on planes. But, the rules are similar to the United States. Carving tools are considered sharp items and possible weapons, and therefore, should travel only in cargo baggage. Powered carving tools with installed batteries are also permitted in hand luggage.
The United Kingdom and New Zealand
The United Kingdom and New Zealand‘s flight authorities don’t list carving tools as forbidden in cabin baggage. Yet, chisels, which are some of the most common carving tools, are prohibited in hand baggage. The rules for carving tools are similar to those of the US – sharp items should be packed in checked baggage. Electric carving tools with installed lithium batteries must travel in checked baggage and must not get activated during the flight.
On Chinese flights, manual and powered carving tools are banned from carry-on baggage and are allowed exclusively in checked baggage. Batteries must be installed on powered tools. Spare lithium ion batteries must travel in cabin baggage.
Sources: For writing this article, we took information only from official sources, like airline regulators, government websites, and major airlines. If you want to confirm that our information is accurate and up to date, click on any of the links mentioned above. We linked out to where we found this information for each country.
Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring wood carving tools on planes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Wood Carving Tools on Planes
Are all types of wood carving tools banned from hand luggage (chisels, knives, gouges, etc.)
Most types of wood carving tools are banned from hand luggage in the United States. A typical wood carving tool kit includes chisels, knives, and gouges which are all considered sharp items and potential weapons. Although the general TSA rule is that tools under 7 inches / 17 centimeters (including the handle) can travel in hand baggage, more often than not, wood carving tools are considered dangerous regardless of how much they measure. Mallets in wood carving kits are also banned from carry-on and must be packed in checked baggage.
Read Next: Traveling with Knives: Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Do I need to declare wood carving tools in my luggage?
In general, you don’t need to declare wood carving tools in your luggage when you’re traveling in the United States. If you packed your wood carving kit in your checked baggage, you won’t have any problem traveling with it. But, if you packed your wood carving tools in your hand baggage, you can opt to let the security agent at the airport know about it. Even if you don’t say anything, your carving tools kit won’t go unnoticed by airport security. In most cases, your carving tools will get confiscated since they are considered potential weapons.
The only way you would have to declare your carving tools kit is if you buy it in an international destination and you’re returning to the United States with it. The rule of the U.S Customs and Border Patrol is that you have to declare everything you purchase while you’re out of the country.
How do I pack wood carving tools in my luggage?
The best way to pack your wood carving tools in your luggage is by using a hard case or a cloth pouch to store them in your checked baggage. For example, this wood carving chisel set comes in its own storage case you can easily put in your checked baggage. However, a more compact option is to store the carving tools kit in a canvas case or a leather pouch. A great way to protect your carving tools and your other belongings is by putting plastic caps on each tool. This wood carving knife set includes a plastic cap for all of the tools as well as an organizing case.
If you don’t have a case, make sure to wrap each tool with cloth or wrapping paper and place it in the middle of your luggage, so they don’t poke out.
Are wooden blanks allowed on planes (basswood, aspen, oak, etc.)?
Generally, wooden blanks aren’t allowed in hand baggage on planes in the United States. Although TSA doesn’t mention wooden blanks specifically, depending on their size and weight, they could be considered potential bludgeon weapons, which are banned from hand luggage, regardless if they are basswood, aspen, or oak.
Smaller and lighter blocks should be allowed on carry-on, as long as they comply with the airline’s carry-on size restrictions. Traveling with wood internationally isn’t recommended. Wood is a potential way to transport pests and insects into a country and unless it’s been treated with certain chemicals and is certified as clean, border patrol at your destination is likely to confiscate it.
Are wood carving sharpening stones, leather, and polish allowed on planes?
Wood carving sharpening stones, leather, and polish are generally allowed on planes in the United States with certain restrictions. TSA doesn’t mention any of these things specifically on its website but general rules and restrictions apply to these items when traveling in the United States. Overall, it’s best to keep sharpening stones small and light if they are traveling in carry-on baggage. Although sharpening stones aren’t restricted (TSA even allow rocks on carry-on baggage) if they are too big or heavy, they might not be considered a threat and not allowed through security.
There aren’t any rules against traveling with leather, so generally, you should be able to pack it in a cabin or checked baggage without major problems. However, large leather strops with a handle might be considered dangerous, so it’s best to pack them in checked baggage.
Beeswax polish is allowed in carry-on and checked baggage. However, when it’s packed in cabin luggage, beeswax is subject to the liquids rule. It must be under 3.4 ounces / 100 milliliters and should go packed with other liquids and gels into a clear resealable bag. These items are generally allowed, but the final decision belongs to the TSA agent at the airport.
Are wood carving mallets also banned from hand luggage?
All types of mallets are banned from hand luggage on flights in the United States. TSA doesn’t make any exceptions for carving mallets, and although smaller than most mallets, they are still considered potential weapons. The material and size of the mallet hardly make any difference. Whether they are made of wood, rubber, or metal, travelers should pack their carving mallets in checked baggage when traveling in the United States.
What’s the best wood carving kit for traveling?
Overall, the best wood carving kit for traveling is the Augsun wood carving knife set. This 20-piece set is compact and the knives are made out of carbon steel and electrolytic coating. It includes a whetstone, a case, and sandpaper. Each knife has a plastic cap that protects both the knife and other belongings in your suitcase. Besides carving, this Augsun set works for sculpting and modeling. Both beginners and experts will find this set useful and easy to manage.
If you’re looking for an even more compact option, the Old Timer multi-tool mixes multiple carving tools in a single multi-tool so you can take it with you wherever you go.
With that being said, you should remember that both of these sets must travel in checked baggage only when traveling in the United States.