Considering a power carver and could use some advice

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Forum topic by john baylor posted 12-07-2011 06:18 AM 12507 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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john baylor

2 posts in 2523 days

12-07-2011 06:18 AM

Hello folks, this is my first shot at using this forum mainly because I was raised in the tradition of if ya havnt anything of value to say keep your mouth shut.. Yeh I know dysfunctional family… sorry… anyway back to my topic I’m considering getting a power carver and so far the reviews I’ve come across are sketchy. I would really like to hear from some users out there.. My application is sculpture perhaps the size of a camera bag or so… I dont know if incorporating a reciprocating with a rotary is worth the bucks (actually I’m not sure if the bugs are worked out of the technology yet)... so any response would be welcomed…
John Baylor

-- johnb

17 replies so far

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2947 days

#1 posted 12-07-2011 02:34 PM

Check with Jim Finn and Charlie1958 and see if they have any comments. I got very few responses to my inquiry, I guess not to many carvers here.
I’m just starting and both of these guys pointed out some things.
I ended up ordering a WeCheer 1/2 hp from The Woodcarversstore(199.95 + shipping) Cheapest I found. They also handle Foredom,

-- Life is good.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2717 days

#2 posted 12-07-2011 02:53 PM

I’m glad for this thread. I have the fancy Foredom rotary but I’ve never sprung for the carving kit. My projects would be too small for one of those King Arthur getups but I wouldn’t exclude them. I mean, it’s a tool, after all lol. I’m interested to here these comments. Thanks!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4242 days

#3 posted 12-07-2011 04:06 PM

I have a small WeCheer power carver, but I mostly use it in rotary mode. I’ve tried the reciprocating carver a few times, and it seems to work pretty well, but I’m honestly not enough of a carver to be able to offer worthwhile advice.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3551 days

#4 posted 12-07-2011 08:02 PM

I just purchased a Merlin power carver. Only have had time to test it a little so far. LOVE IT! That will save a lot of time removing large areas of material. Will have to see how it holds up.

I’ve been wearing out dremels and roto-zips with the flex cords. I hope to upgrade to a forsner soon. The former would work for many, but I put lots of hours on them and they wear out. I don’t always use high speed either. They just arn’t made for long term use, in my opinion.

Like most tools, decide how much you will be using and depending on it. Hard choices these days.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Brian Rickman's profile

Brian Rickman

8 posts in 2386 days

#5 posted 12-07-2011 10:30 PM

I’ve done a moderate amount of power carving using a Dremmel, and it worked fine, but my projects are typically closer to fist size. For what you are doing, a rotary tool that can handle bits or burs with 1/4” shanks would be much more efficient. If dust is a problem in your workshop, then the recip. type tool may be a better choice. You might also want to check the Wood Carving Illustrated magazine’s forum. there are a lot more carvers there.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2947 days

#6 posted 12-08-2011 01:27 AM

I “misspoke” that should have read The Woodcraftshop.

-- Life is good.

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3270 days

#7 posted 12-08-2011 02:27 AM

Mtnwild, what’s a forsner?

I’ve burned out 3 dremels, so far, and I don’t really use them that much. So I’m watching this thread with lots of interest about possible dremel substitutes.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3551 days

#8 posted 12-08-2011 03:01 AM

Sorry, ment Foredom. I have been looking at their model 5400. High torque, 1/4” – 1/8” colletts. From the manufacture, 30% off. Two hundred ninety nine dollars, right now. Really want to get it at a good price but it’s still expensive. Looks like a good heavy duty machine. Should last, I hope.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2947 days

#9 posted 12-08-2011 03:55 AM

@mtnwild..check out The Woodcraft Shop. They have WeCheer and Foredom.

-- Life is good.

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3551 days

#10 posted 12-08-2011 04:03 AM

Yes, I’ve seen them there. They are 85 dollars more than the sale price from Foredom right now. Thanks….....

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3294 days

#11 posted 12-08-2011 04:06 AM

I have the Wecheer myself and use it for a lot of stuff – buffing, wirebrushing, small grinding, cut offs….including some carving now and then. I also have the recipricating handle….and it is really nice when you want to remove larger pieces of wood….they are not good for detail work.

Wood Carver’s supply has their own brand (see it here)) it is 1/2 hp instead of the 1/3 or 1/6 that are normally used. I have heard good things about it…including the handpiece. I will probably look at one should my wecheer die unexpectedly (so far it is a champ….and I have used it alot!).

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3794 days

#12 posted 12-08-2011 04:08 AM

My son is a carver and I just bought him a gift of an Automach recepocating carver and it seems to be working very well for him. I tried it but not being a carver it really went through the wood. The Automach is a little pricey but I wanted to get the best.

-- Tom D

View mchuray's profile


81 posts in 3022 days

#13 posted 12-08-2011 04:30 AM

Been looking at the Foredom also. Amazon has the Foredom K.5240 Woodcarving Kit
w/o the recepocating handpiece for $285 with free shipping. Those bits can really run up the price if bought seperately. The bit holder is nice also. I’d rather get one made in the USA than the far east. When you add shipping you really aren’t saving that much. and I’m a little skeptial of some of the hp claim’s of the overseas units.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2657 posts in 2946 days

#14 posted 12-08-2011 05:39 PM

I have the “Mastercarver” brand of a Fordom like tool. I like it. I started out carving and have now gone to wood working so I do little carving these days. I have the reciprocating hand piece with mine and use it to carve with now. My 20 or so hand gouges, from 20 years ago, sit in the drawer now-a-days. Relief carving is what I have done so I am not sure how good this set up would be for sculpting in wood. There are separate reciprocating tools available too but I like the thin hand piece of this Mastercarver. I also have a hand piece that will take 1/4” burrs or grinders. All the hand pieces and burrs are interchangeable with Fordom and Wecheer I think.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View john baylor's profile

john baylor

2 posts in 2523 days

#15 posted 12-09-2011 04:25 AM

Thanks for the responses, I’ve been crusing the power carver sites and even bought a few carbide burrs. I guess I’ll see what turns out when I finally get all the loose ends pulled together. From what I’ve seen so far it appears that wecheer has (a least) the best marketing program but I also looked at the mastercarver…again time will tell… xmas is taking its toll on my wallet. John

-- johnb

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