Power carving for everyone #1: My tools of choice

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Blog entry by Jordan posted 02-01-2011 09:30 PM 6620 reads 8 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Power carving for everyone series Part 2: Bits and Burs »

Thank you Grizzman, for suggesting that my knowledge of power carving might be a welcomed topic for a blog series.
My intention is only to share with you what I know and have learned, not what I think any of you should do or change what you are doing. I have taught myself everything I know and my methods work for me. That’s not to say that I still can’t learn new things or methods. However, if I lay in bed at night and dream of what new tools to buy to help me, I really can’t think of anything else at this point.
Today I will share with you the only tools I have and use for all of my current projects and I hope in some way, I can encourage you to start power carving or add to your own knowledge.

1. Where would I be without my bandsaw? I won this in a contest and although it’s not the biggest I could have, it was free and so far it has worked for anything I’ve needed. When I start a carving, I only cut near to one profile. I prefer to hog off the true profiles with another tool.

2. My 6” jointer. I tried it for a few months without one because when we moved, my original jointer was too heavy. I enjoy the diagonal and individual blades on this one. I only use my jointer for laminating large objects. Again, it’s not the best there is, but it works for me.

3. Dentist motor and fan. I use this constantly for smaller projects. The highest speed is 5000 rpm and the coarse drum will remove almost anything. And talk about torque! I’ve leaned into it with all of my body weight and it never stalls. My only problem is with the drums and solid rubber mandrels themselves – hard to put on.

4. My rotary tools. These are my right hand men! I start my hogging with the Lancelot 4 inch chain grinder at 12 teeth per inch. I then go to the 2” Merlin chain, then to the heavy duty Dremel(which sadly is no longer made) and then to my smaller Dremels. I use a foot pedal for all of my power tools ALL of the time. I also use the flexible shafts on my Dremels.

5. And stand I do, for hours and hours in this tiny spot, with just enough light – but not enough light! However, due to the fact that I am currently a gypsy in transition, I can pretty well set up in any bathroom sized area. My dream is to one day have a big workshop but for now, I need to make money to get it so I don’t complain much. My stand is a garden shovel holder with a section of plywood. That way, I can easily dismantle it when I go to shows where I am required to carve.

6. Due to the fact that I do such large objects, my dust collection system has to be portable and mobile. One day in my dream shop I would have a better system but beggars can’t be choosers.

7. How could I have forgotten my burners? I prefer to use the Razertip most of the time but the soldering iron has it’s uses as well. I don’t find it stays hot for long enough but the bits are hardy for deep holes.

My next blog will be on all of the bits and burs I use with my tools. Please feel free to ask any questions or add your own advice.


29 comments so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3137 days

#1 posted 02-01-2011 09:46 PM

Nice layout of your tools Jordan. I knew some of what you used but not the whole kit and kaboodle. I didn’t know Dremel made Foredom style carvers at one time. I have looked at the Guinivere sanding system more than a few times. They have some nice inflatable drums. You might want to check them out on Woodcraft. Since they deflate, might be a little easier to work with. What bits are your favorites to use on the Dremel. Not to push you to write a book here ;) but I would really like an overview of some of the burrs you use and for what purpose they serve. I have to believe that I am not the only one that sees these collections of them out there and wonders which bits would be really useful and which would just look pretty in my tin.

Thanks for sharing,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View mpounders's profile


875 posts in 2924 days

#2 posted 02-01-2011 09:59 PM

I look forward to all the posts in this series! Any particular vises or methods of holding work while roughing it out?

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3153 days

#3 posted 02-01-2011 09:59 PM

Thank you for your interest David, I will lay out my bits and burs tomorrow. You can suggest the tins, LOL!
The reason I don’t use the inflatable drums is because they cave in when I’m pushing to achieve a deep gouge. I hear they are much easier to change though.
The Foredom will achieve 18,000 rpm. The Dremel Heavy Duty goes 30,000 which is why I’m scared to death that this one may someday die – it’s twenty years old now and still going strong 10 hours per day.


View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3153 days

#4 posted 02-01-2011 10:01 PM

Mike, when I use the Lancelot, I ALWAYS clamp my piece to a table with just hand clamps. Otherwise, and because I’m always turning them round and round working on all sides, I just hold them with my hand.


View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#5 posted 02-01-2011 10:32 PM

Great information Jordon I really appreciate you sharing . Good Idea Grizz . Now Jordon I want to know where you buy you Talent pills I could really use some of those maybe a whole bottle? LOL
I look forward to seeing the rest of your blog. Good job my friend.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View whitedog's profile


652 posts in 3486 days

#6 posted 02-01-2011 10:35 PM

Thats for sharing…

-- Paul , Calfornia

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3153 days

#7 posted 02-01-2011 10:39 PM

Hi Jim, nice to see you again – no talent pills just a daily diet of peanut butter sandwiches and oatmeal raisin cookies!


View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3625 days

#8 posted 02-01-2011 10:49 PM

i want your diet. I am going to watch this blog like a hawk. and act like a sponge

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3332 days

#9 posted 02-01-2011 10:52 PM

thank you jordan…this will be really great…i appreciate i guess then its all in the jiffy peanut butter….any jam…or is that how you keep your stylish figure…lol…......grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View helluvawreck's profile


31417 posts in 2895 days

#10 posted 02-01-2011 11:14 PM

Jordan, I’m glad that you’re doing this and I will watch with interest. I’ve started to try hand carving again except this time I have a little more time than I use to. I’ve started several times before but each time I’ve quit because I had no time to devote to it because of the long hours I worked. I still have to work 50 hours per week but that gives me my weekends and if my carving goes well I hope that it is something I can enjoy doing in the evenings as well. However, I’m interested in learning power carving as well – maybe for things like birds and so forth. Finally, I want to learn wood burning. I just want to be able to decorate what ever I do in woodworking with these techniques. So I will follow with interest. I really regret not being able to do the shoe challenge. I probably would have learned a lot. Anyways, thanks for doing this.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3153 days

#11 posted 02-01-2011 11:16 PM

Thank you Grizz for suggesting it, for all it’s worth.
No Jiff – too much sugar. Adams unsweetened, no jam, just the hard stuff on the rocks! White bread, there’s enough oatmeal(fibre) in the cookies – iron in the raisins. The figure? That diet will make anyone thin!


View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#12 posted 02-01-2011 11:20 PM

I know you don’t need them there pills but I sure do. I already have to many deposits in the peanut butter and cookie department already, any more and I won’t be able to reach the work bench :))

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4429 days

#13 posted 02-01-2011 11:46 PM

Jordon: Thankjs for the posting of the tools that you use and soo we will be getting to the power fingers that do all of the shapiong.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2963 days

#14 posted 02-02-2011 12:16 AM

Great information Jordan. I have always wanted to know what power tools were used in carving and wood burning.

Thanks you for sharing that information.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3153 days

#15 posted 02-02-2011 12:33 AM

Grizz, you know how I keep my figure!

( still at it!


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