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Whittling is typically performed with a light, small-bladed knife, usually a pocket knife. Specialized whittling knives are available as well. They have thick handles which are easier to grip for long periods allowing precise control and pressure.
Occasionally the terms "whittling" and "carving" are used interchangeably, but they are different arts. Carving employs the use of chisels, gouges, and a mallet, while whittling involves only the use of a knife. These days whittling is mainly a hobby and not as living as it used to be before carving machines were invented.
See also 
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