1. LEARN TO SHARPEN.
Even if you plan to power carve, you should at least strop your reciprocating tool gouges, chisels, and V-tools. Even disposable blades, such as X-Acto or Warren blades, cut better if they’ve been stropped.
2. KNOW THE LOCATION OF THE SHARP EDGE.
Know the location of the sharp edge (or spinning bit) and where it could go. Not only do you not want any of your (or anyone else’s) body parts near them, this knowledge will improve your carving. If you’re always aware of the location of the cutting edge of the tool, especially the tip, you’ll make more deliberate cuts, and your carving will turn out better.