Power carving for everyone #2: Bits and Burs

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Blog entry by Jordan posted 02-02-2011 06:19 PM 7386 reads 15 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: My tools of choice Part 2 of Power carving for everyone series Part 3: Things that may help you along as you go »

Here are basically all of the items I use for rotary carving.
1. Rough carbide burs – My brand choice is Kutzall as their teeth are random. The green and orange ones at the top, if you can tell, have parallel teeth and I’ve found that they groove more than grind. Expensive.

2. Steel carbide cutters – I love these and they cut accurately and leave the surface smooth as well. They don’t work well on tupelo. Fairly expensive.

3. Stones – while I know these are not designed for wood – more or less your scissor sharpening, they are great at smoothing out basswood and the little black thing is a sharpening block. They come in a variety of grit sizes although I don’t have a very smooth one at this time. Cheap.

4. Cutoff wheels – some of these have diamond edges, some have wire reinforcement, some even have little saw teeth but they can get away from you if you’re not careful. One is a sanding wheel and it really works well. I prefer to bend and soften it before attaching. Cheap to expensive.

5. Diamonds and rubys – I have a variety of them separated by grit sizes. They come in a variety of tips, something for everything. Unfortunately, the most pointed ones break very easily if you force them. These ones were cheap but they can be up to $20 each.

6. Brushes and polishing pads – of you’ve ever worked with basswood, you’ll know there is always a fuzzy spot somewhere. Between my stones and polishing pads, I seem to tackle them. The wire brush, at the right speed, with also give you a nice satin finish.

I use all of my different styled bits on all of my carvings. The three stem sizes I have are 1/4”, 1/8” and 1/16” thus I have three different collet sizes in my rotary tools and have each tool on a separate foot pedal so I don’t have to bend down each time I need to change a tool. I have my foot pedals mounted almost like piano pedals in front but not right under me as if you accidentally step on one while you’re changing a bit, your tool cable will snap immediately.


31 comments so far

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3948 days

#1 posted 02-02-2011 06:24 PM

Nice collection. Those big ones leave nasty wounds that take forever to heal :)

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3179 days

#2 posted 02-02-2011 06:27 PM

That’s only happened to me once – I know now never to get too close to a far edge of a piece as it will surely run away and right over your fingers. I will mention that in the how-to blog


View a1Jim's profile


117160 posts in 3631 days

#3 posted 02-02-2011 06:28 PM

Thanks for sharing all your collection of bits very impressive

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3358 days

#4 posted 02-02-2011 06:37 PM

good morning mr speed skater…....i see you zoomed right into this part of the blog, im grateful for you doing this , as its invaluable information..and very useful for us who are giving this a try or even for a seasoned wood worker who might get some new info from this…ive also started to buy the kutzall bits and love them…there well worth the money and they do the job…so i shall now back away from the screen here…....take my position…and get ready…......and gooooooooooo…let me see if i can keep up with our new skater wanna be Olympian…lol… might be the way for me to loose this extra poundage i seem to have found over the last few years…...hey i wounder if one of these big honkin bits will grind it off….....i might be onto something…lol..have a great day everyone…grizz

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

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3179 days

#5 posted 02-02-2011 06:42 PM

Don’t laugh Grizz, once I ground off an annoying mole! It never came back.


View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3650 days

#6 posted 02-02-2011 07:09 PM

nice I need t get my burs in order. The president of the woodcarving guild here n my neck of the woods, is a power carver he also teaches others for 20 buck a session.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4131 days

#7 posted 02-02-2011 07:16 PM

Jordan, I will add my thank yous to all the rest. This makes it easier to figure out what I need still!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3169 days

#8 posted 02-03-2011 12:09 AM

impressive collection of bits :-)
thank´s for sharing Jordan
and since I never can remember names I bookmarked the blog
for future use

have a great evening

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2893 days

#9 posted 02-03-2011 12:28 AM

Jordan, thanks so much for taking the time to organize these photos. I never know what kinds of bits to buy. I have a small collection of this and thats for the dremel- but I have no idea which burr is for what. So this blog is good information for me to have. I am going to save it in my favorites so I can refer to it later. :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3179 days

#10 posted 02-03-2011 12:58 AM

I might try to put some videos about my use with the different bits Kelly if I can wrangle Laura into filming me.


View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2976 days

#11 posted 02-03-2011 01:03 AM

Good day Jordan,
You have good quality of toolbits there. I had started collecting some of those bits but most I got are all diamond bits.. the one being for the glass etching… I tried it on wood but not so effective. I like to have steel carbide cutters but very seldom I can in stores I have a dremel.

Thank you for sharing another educational blog like this and looking forward to how to blog.
Keep it up. Take care… the rootcause of incidents generally is human error.

-- Bert

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3179 days

#12 posted 02-03-2011 02:12 AM

Bert, Check out Woodcraft for bits if you mind ordering online.


View Karson's profile


35128 posts in 4455 days

#13 posted 02-03-2011 05:28 AM

Jordon: A great tutorial of cutting marerial. Now for the skill part.

Hope you video comes to us soon.

-- 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 David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3163 days

#14 posted 02-03-2011 06:34 AM

Thanks for the bit on the bits Jordan ;) I have the majority of the collection except for the kutzall hoggers. I have a collection of the diamond and ruby bits that were on sale from Woodcraft. I have a small collection of the stones which I should add on to before too long.

Where did you get the carbide cutters? I have a collection of Dremel steel cutters but I don’t believe any of them are carbide. They do cut well for a limited time, can both hog and leave a nice surface, depending on how aggressive you are with them, but can fade pretty quickly.

Thanks again for sharing the collection,


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

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3948 days

#15 posted 02-03-2011 07:23 AM

lee valley

and they will skin you like a cat :)

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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