Trading tips for gutting, transferring, and carving the real thing.
Hey guys,

When I got into "serious" pumpkin carving last year, I used a real pumpkin and one of those stencil/tool sets you can get, well, pretty much everywhere, this time of year. It had a scoop, 2 little saws and a plastic awl. Well, after my one and only pumpkin, the awl and both saws, were broken.

So, after that fiasco, I decided that the commercially available tools were junk, so I was going to make something that could withstand years of heavy abuse. So, a trip to Home Depot later, I had built my carving saws, for the following year.


The 3 saw blades, are Bosch jigsaw blades, for wood. I have a large tooth, for cutting through thick areas (like removing the top), a medium blade for general work, and a small blade for detail. The handles used to be a 12" long, 1"dia. dowel, cut down to 3" lengths. They were sanded to shape with a drum attachment on my motor tool (as I own a craftsman, and not an actual Dremel), and finished with 100 grit sandpaper, by hand. Then they were stained and given a coat of shellac. I drilled a hole in the handle, insterted the balde and back filled it with wood putty, to secure it in place.

I have since discovered foam pumpkins. Since my other saws would destroy the foam, I had to switch tactics. The other tools are a #1 hobby knife, with an excel #11 blade, and a #2 hobby knife, with an X-acto #13 micro keyhole saw.

An in addition to those, I have my pounce wheel, for transferring patterns; my grease pencil, so I can write on the pumpkin without it washing off, and the scoop, which is the only surviving tool from the original kit.

And I store them all in a little cigar box, that I found when I was visitng my parents, one day. Thankfully, my mother is a hoarder and never throws anything away. She doesn't smoke, but she collects cigar boxes.

So, I was wondering if anyone else did something similar - either design a kit, or adapt an already existing tool, or anything along those lines.

thats what the commercial carving tools basically are made from, regular blades for things other than pumpkin carving . its just that they tend to be more geared towards safety for kids . old blades form coping saws, reciprocating saws, scroll saws, band saws hack saws can all be used- its just a matter of how much length you want and affixing a handle to it . for cutting the lids on pumpkins i use a hand saw used for cutting into drywall . ive even read to where some will use a hole saw with a drill . drill bits can be also used to make holes of different sizes .
Ive made my own the last couple years. Nowhere near as elegant as yours. Those are purdy.

I use coping saw blades - couple different blade types, including one that cuts in both directions.

The blades i buy can be cut to length (and i sharpen the end with a dremel so it penetrates the pattern/kin with less effort & more predictable results) & i mount them in dowel handles with epoxy. The blades are thinner, stiffer, sharper and shallower (cutting edge to back of blade) than the pm ones whic makes them ideal for detail work

I still buy a pm set every year or so. The kidlet manages somehow to claim a couple victims every season
I stock up on PM saws (when they go on sale after Halloween) the ones that come in a 3 pack

I just don't like the little Plastic Handle - I like something more Pen Size like the comfy rubber covered - X-Acto X2000 Handle

Soooooo - Just remove blade from plastic.

I crack the plastic in a vise


Snipps help to separate the plastic.



(I keep like 25 Blades all ready separated from the plastic in my tool box)

I also use keyhole saw blades in a #2 X-acto handle - depends on how big the kin is and the thickness of the walls.
The one thing I would suggest that you didn't find at Home Depot (but probably could) is my favorite pumpkin cleaner... the electrical junction box cover. It is the best thing I have found for cleaning pumpkins. It fits right in your hand, it has a fairly sharp edge to help scrape the inside of the pumpkin (if you don't have a clay loop) and the shape fits the side of the pumpkin. Just scrape around the inside a few times, dump out about 95% of the guts, then clean it out with a few more passes. It works great. I have been using the same one for about 15 years.

Kayo wrote:Cant you just order the xacto keyhole blades or do they not fit a #2 handle? I need more tools :?

Yes the #15 Keyhole saw blades "ONLY" fit the #2 Handle
(they wont fit in a standard x-acto handle - because the bottom of the saw blade is wide)

The Reason I also make the ones above, is these Pumpkin Master, saw blades are much longer, than the keyhole blades.
So if I have a pumpkin that is really thick and want the carve to Last longer.
I don't thin the walls as much, and use the longer saw blade.

So I keep both in my tool box - depends on the pumpkin, on what saw I use.
wookie66 wrote:I prefer the saws that are sold right here, The Zombie Pumpkin carving tool. It has the big and small saw and a comfortable handle.
I'm with wookie on this one. I never used anything but my Zombie Pumpkins! Pro Carving Kit, and so far it has done me good. I only ever damaged one blade and that was entirely my fault.
Zombie Pumpkins! wrote:You guys are very kind. :) This year's batch of carving tool kits are almost ready. I already have a waiting list of people who are itching to buy 'em. Haha.

I know I'm one of them :)