Wood Carving

I am looking to start wood carving with a power tool (I am thinking small items under 10 inches).

What are the tools necessary for this?

I am thinking of dermel 4000 4/34 with flex shaft, and small set of tungsten carbide burrs. I have read that these burrs do a poor job so I am thinking to get one or two kutzall burrs – one for removal for large amounts of material and one for more precise work, which type would you recommend?

I’d also recommend a band saw and a belt sander for roughing the wood to shape. Depending upon what exactly you’re doing people also use wood burners particularly if they’re planning on painting the piece. As for cutters and bits, there are so many that depend upon what you’re doing. I have done power carving, but I’m not an expert on it, so I don’t know what to tell you. I use carbide cutters from Dremel and some diamond burrs for fine work. I typically cut to shape on my bandsaw, then use a 60 grit belt on my sander to get me close, then carbide bits to really do the grunt work of carving and finish up the pretty stuff with diamond burrs. I can’t tell you if this is what experts do or not, but it works for my purposes.

Another possible solution, especially if you get into larger items.

I’m not artistic enough to even mumble the word artist, but I do enjoy carving now and again. I use the dremel with a flex shaft and have had no issues. One thing I learned from a real artist is to start off with the cheapest, softest wood you can find, like bass or balsa. This will let you get the feel of the tool and the tips without spending a ton of money. My first project was on a piece of oak that was as hard as iron. It didn’t go very well and left me frustrated. Once I practiced on the softer woods, my results improved a lot.

Wood carving covers many areas.

I started with relief carvings. It helped me learn to visualize objects that I wanted to create. Relief carvings are a front and side view.

I find it much harder to carve a complete figure from all sides. They often weren’t symmetrical.

Start with a basic book with easy projects and patterns. It will help you select the power tool and shaping bits that you need.

I’d also suggest looking into easy scroll saw projects. That’s what I enjoy the most.

Inexpensive and a lot of fun. It helped me learn to see shapes in wood and understand how to work with the material in an artistic way.

Here’s a beginners book with very easy projects.

With a good scroll saw you can get into fretworkand intarsia and just basic scroll saw art.

A good combination belt/disc sander would be invaluable for intarsia.

When I was a kid, one project that was suggested to me was soap carving. Given that a bar of soap costs about a buck or less, and is very soft, it could be a good way to practice.

One of my kids uses wax reclaimed from dead candles. She melts it down and recasts it into a block or cylinder to carve. Save the chunks and reuse it.