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Thread: power carving choices

  1. #1
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    power carving choices

    I am primarily a turner but I do some carving. I also enjoy making small items by hnd tool and use some carving chisels to embellish them from time to time. I would like to do some carving on some turned pieces and as I'm researching around, like most woodworking, the choices are abundant. The foredom I looked at and sense I'm not really a carver seams like a bit much money for something I would not use that much. I have also looked at the merlin type a thing and it looks to fit the bill some and then the wheels to put on a grinder. I can use my carving tools for detail but I wanted to compliment with some power stuff some for heave removal some for sanding but I just do not have a clue which way to go. I also do not want to waste a bunch on money. So if you folks could I would appreciate some opinions and what you do, meaning project types, and way you use what you do.
    Last edited by Dean S Walker; 10-06-2018 at 10:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    Dean,

    I like to carve on turnings too. I think the power carving tools that would be best for you might depend on your budget, the scale and type of carving, and what I might call the "convenience" factor. I use hand tools, a reciprocal carver, and several rotary carvers.

    The most fun for me is the hand carving, specifically chip carving.

    (edit to add photo)
    chip_carved_goblet_IMG_5001.jpg

    I use small bits on a Dremel for some detail carving like stippled textures.

    For more conventional carving I generally use the Foredoms to remove a lot of wood since the slim handpieces are comfortable to hold for extended times. The "convenience" factor, or perhaps the patience factor is the reason I keep several Foredoms with different burrs- when carving I hate to stop and change bits. That may be decadent...

    I had a Merlin and for what I did it wasn't that useful so I gave it away. Wheels on a grinder also don't sound useful for what I like doing.

    Besides the power tools, I use various hand gouges, knives, rifflers, files, and sanding aids, both power and hand. A pneumatic power file is very useful at times as well. This is a piece turned then carved with the Foredom and hand tools.

    (edit to add photo)
    carved_bowl_IMG_4195.jpg

    Much may depend on the type of carving enhancement you plan. For example, I love the recip carver for some things and for some woods. Maybe describe a little more and someone will have some good suggestions.

    PS, I'm typing on an iPad in a hotel on the other side of the planet and the wifi here makes glaciers look fast. I'm unable to include the two photos. If you want to take a look I think they are #34 and #43 in my turnings photo album here. (I think you can get to the album by clicking on my name in this message then look for the albums in the left column. Or maybe this link will work, don't know: on page 2 of https://sawmillcreek.org/album.php?albumid=862)

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Dean S Walker View Post
    I am primarily a turner but I do some carving. I also enjoy making small items by hnd tool and use some carving chisels to embellish them from time to time. I would like to do some carving on some turned pieces and as I'm researching around, like most woodworking, the choices are abundant. The foredom I looked at and sense I'm not really a carver seams like a bit much money for something I would not use that much. I have also looked at the merlin type a thing and it looks to fit the bill some and then the wheels to put on a grinder. I can use my carving tools for detail but I wanted to compliment with some power stuff some for heave removal some for sanding but I just do not have a clue which way to go. I also do not want to waste a bunch on money. So if you folks could I would appreciate some opinions and what you do, meaning project types, and way you use what you do.
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 11-22-2018 at 2:17 PM.

  3. #3
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    Beautiful work John, What I have in mind right now is spiral groves and little handle like things. I can use hand tools fairly well. I have been using a dremel some. it just sound like its going to give up the ghost most of the time, I just think it pretty light duty. Thanks for the input!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean S Walker View Post
    Beautiful work John, What I have in mind right now is spiral groves and little handle like things. I can use hand tools fairly well. I have been using a dremel some. it just sound like its going to give up the ghost most of the time, I just think it pretty light duty. Thanks for the input!
    I generally use the Dremel for smaller things. (I keep several, again, so I don't have to change bits!) My favorite bit for texturing woodturnings is a small carbide bit (I could take a photo if you want) - I would describe it as sort of egg shaped, single cut. I used it to stipple the band around the bowl with carved handles and feet (leaving the band was far easier than making a seamless, perfectly smooth transition!) and I use it a lot on handles and other small turnings.

    (I'm back home after about 26 hours of traveling so I can post pictures again. )

    crops_comp_texturing_.jpg StL_wand.jpg Handle_adpater_alum_IMG_6001.jpg stoppers_ stippled_IMG_7385.jpg

    Dremels don't seem to last long with heavy use. I try to buy the higher quality models but I'm not sure they are made any better. I've had the three I use now for much longer than previous one but maybe that's because I spread the use among them! I know you can get a bearing rebuild kit which might help a lot. The brushes also wear out. All said, for rotary carving the fat Dremel is much harder to hold and control than my favorite slim Foredom handle. A Dremel does turn a lot faster which might be useful for cleaner cuts in very hard wood.

    I've cut a few spirals - lay out by hand with a pencil then carve. Some people use small routers on a custom support to keep the depth consistent on grooves, flutes or spiral. I haven't done that but if interested, ask John Lucas.

    JKJ

  5. #5
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    That is spot on what I have in mind for small things, The fore is just kind of expensive but I understand they are well made. Are you using a cut bit or one of those carbide burrs? like saburr tooth? As far as the dremel goes I have changed bearings and brushes and I have the little flex shaft for it and it works fine for the very small stuff. I am also wanting to turn a small vessel and cut spirals in it the hollow it out until I break through. Then make the spiral rounded. I do not remember where I have seen this before but I thought that the piece was really nice. I already think this will be a time consuming piece I was looking for a faster way to remove the bulk. I have air tools angle head grinders and straight type die grinders but they generally stay in the metal/mechanic shop.Maybe I need to change that I just hate listening to an air compressor run. Then again maybe I just need to do this by hand and enjoy the carving and no be in such a hurry. Thanks for all your help John it is much appreciated.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean S Walker View Post
    That is spot on what I have in mind for small things,

    ...Maybe I need to change that I just hate listening to an air compressor run.
    I prefer the cut carbide bits. I have some of the bumpy burrs but haven't grown to love them yet.

    My compressor is noisy too. When I built this shop I put in a 4x8 sound-insulated closet for the cyclone DC and the 5hp compressor. SO much nicer! I often use small pneumatic random orbital sanders which still tend to cycle the compressor a lot.

    JKJ

  7. #7
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    While foredom flexible shaft setups are fairly expensive, but worth the money. You can get pencil style handpieces much smaller than handling a dremel, which will allow you much greater control. I have that as well as a dremel with flex shaft, i also have a knock off foredom style flex shaft that will do the job and work well for years of occasional use.

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