Knives. Sharp knives. A carving knife needs good edge geometry, good steel, and a solid handle. Most of all, its edge must be sharp as the dickens. The hairs of my left arm are the testing ground for all my blades.
Does it shave hair as effortlessly as a razor? If the answer is no, then the blade is not sharp enough for me to use. A sharp knife is a safe knife.
This knife shown here is the Mora 1241. The carbon steel blade is 2 3/4" long, 11/16" wide and .098" thick. It has a 4 inch handle painted red. The blade's geometry is a Scandinavian grind, or "Scandi." There is no secondary bevel. Not as strong as some other grinds due to it's thinness, I wouldn't use it for chopping, but a Scandi grind will really move wood. The lack of any crossguard allows for a variety of grips. A perfect carver's tool.
I ordered this one online at Ragweed Forge. For $10 it was an absolute steal.