When I first started sculpting, like most of you, I bought the $7 tool kit from the big box craft store. You know the one. It has a bunch of wooden tools, a couple metal bits, and a cheese cutter thingy. Those dreadful cheap tools made my sculpting learning curve nearly a flat line. Every time I tried to use the tools to smooth clay or blend two pieces together I got tears and even more areas to smooth. It was so frustrating I nearly quit.
I finally bought the detailing tool set from Sculpture House, but at $30 plus shipping it is not accessible for everyone. The Sculpture House Set blends like a dream. That tool set is made from much pricier hard wood which is highly polished. I have been using the same set for over 10 years.
I have the cheaper tools for students, but I improved upon them. With just a few dollars you can make those cheap tools actually work much better.
Using either Magic Glos UV resin or any 2 part resin, you can fix your tool! It will smooth clay much better than it did before. They sell the Magic Glos at Michael’s, and with your 40% off coupon you can get it for less than $5. You can use a ball of junk clay to hold the tool up while the resin sets. Just put the non-varnished end into the clay.