Tips & Tricks: Carving - with Power

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Forum topic by MsDebbieP posted 10-31-2011 11:18 AM 1867 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18615 posts in 4068 days

10-31-2011 11:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: carving tips tricks

what are your tips/trips/strategies re: using powered equipment for carving?
-Dremels (etc), CNC routers, CarverWright, angle grinders, etc.

(also add links to helpful blogs etc that are related to the topic)

Gateway to all Tips & Tricks Topics

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

9 replies so far

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3303 days

#1 posted 10-31-2011 01:21 PM

One very important thought:
If your power carving tools make ANY amount of airborne dust, please wear a dust mask or a respirator.

I am trying to recover from a severe respiratory ailment that may have been caused by inhalation of wood dust.
Doctors have not been able to give me an exact diagnosis, but they have told me all the things it is NOT, and I’m left with very little except the possibilty of a reaction (or poisoning) from not wearing my respirator when making a lot of dust.

It’s been a hard couple of months and I still have a way to go, so this is a serious warning.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View sedcokid's profile


2730 posts in 3506 days

#2 posted 10-31-2011 01:24 PM

Sorry Don for your problems and hope for a speedy recovery. This is a good lesson for all of us!!

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View helluvawreck's profile


30164 posts in 2774 days

#3 posted 10-31-2011 01:35 PM

I’m sorry about your illness and I hope that you will have a speedy recovery.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4068 days

#4 posted 10-31-2011 07:30 PM

ditto re: quick recovery

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View mpounders's profile


869 posts in 2803 days

#5 posted 10-31-2011 11:32 PM

Don’t wear Kevlar carving gloves or any type of glove when power-carving, that could snag and cause severe damage to your hand. I wear plain leather gloves when I am using certain large burrs or sanding drums in my flex-shaft tool that I control with a foot-pedal. These are used at lower rpms which reduces the risk somewhat. I have caused more damage in recent years with sanding drums than anything else….so i prefer to sand away a bit of cow-hide instead of my hide! Everything else I use both hands and have my work secured in some fashion. Some of my favorite bits are large 1/4” shaft carbide cutters for die grinders, similar to this . They give a smoother cut than a lot of the carbide burrs.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2622 posts in 2829 days

#6 posted 11-01-2011 01:25 AM

Power carving can be done without dust by using a recipricating handpiece on a Foredom type power tool. It works like a mini jackhammer and is quiet, dust free and easy to work with. Works for small carvings not large ones.

-- No PHD, but I have a GED and my DD 214

View DS's profile


2855 posts in 2328 days

#7 posted 11-01-2011 07:56 PM

When I am carving, power tools are just another tool in my arsenal.
When roughing or blocking a piece, it’s about 50-50 as to whether electricity is involved or not. It usually depends of how much wood is being removed.

When shaping a piece from the blocking stage, I will sometimes use a dremel style router, but usually only if there are areas of restricted accesss where it’s easier to reach with a power tool. A good quality set of gouges, chisels and knives can make short work of almost any project.

For the detailing stages only my small knives and gouges will do.

Carving is, for me, about having a vision of the finished piece. Getting from point A to B in the most efficient and effective manner possible determines which tool I use at any given moment.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3144 days

#8 posted 09-24-2012 12:35 PM

I do almost all my carving with a 2 1/2 hp router. I use a lot of different cutters, from a 1/8” carbide spiral upcut bit to a 3/4” bull nose roughing burr. Here's a project post that shows my dedicated carving duplicator. I have to be accurate and each project has to be carved within a few thousands of an inch. I’d hate to carve a block of hard maple with chisels, rasps and files… I can’t imagine how long the carving would take.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18197 posts in 3583 days

#9 posted 09-24-2012 05:04 PM

Hal, It takes a long time! I made a full length Kentucky rifle from scratch ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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