For those looking to add unique designs and details to their woodworking projects, rotary carving tools can be a great solution. Also known as burrs or bits, these small blades attach to a rotary tool. Rotary tools like the Dremel rotary tool, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes for detailed carving and sculpting.
From simple engravings to more intricate designs, these rotary burrs allow for precision and control in wood carving. They can also be used for shaping and sanding down tough materials like plastic.
Whether you're an experienced woodworker or just starting out, rotary carving tools are versatile additions to any creative endeavor.
Shapes of Wood Carving Bits
Carving bits for wood come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own unique function.
Sphere burrs, for example, are great for carving spoons, while cylinders excel at removing large amounts of material.
RotoSaw burrs, on the other hand, can create grooves or lines, as well as mortises for attaching wings or fins to a carved piece.
Taper and ball nose burrs offer more precision, and flame, dovetail, eye cutter, and bud burrs provide even more specialized functions.
By having such a diverse selection of carving bits at your disposal, you will be able to tackle any wood carving project with ease.
Materials Rotary Carving Tools for Wood are Made From
Rotary carving tools for wood come in a range of materials, each with their own unique advantages.
Carbide burrs are known for their hardness and longevity, making them a popular choice for carving intricate designs.
HSS, or high-speed steel, offers a nice balance between cost and durability.
The carbides and high-speed steels can be found in different variations with different coatings. These include a double cut, single cut, and cross-cut which are different grindings on the burrs. The coatings also vary from very fine to ex-coarse affecting the burr removal.
For smaller or more intricate DIY projects, fragments of diamond, ruby, or sapphire may be embedded in steel or carbide to provide a cost-effective option. A diamond burr is favorable for creating finer details in a carving fast and easy.
Each material also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit different types of projects and preferences.
No matter the material, these rotary carving tools can offer precision and control when used with a high performance rotary tool kit.
Whether you're an experienced woodcarver or just starting out, there's sure to be a suitable material option available for your project needs.
What's a Shank?
The shank is the portion of the burr or drill bits that fits into a rotary tool for wood and does not include the cutting head.
Shank sizes are typically measured in millimeters or inches and can vary in diameter. In some cases, a smaller-diameter shank may provide a better hold in certain materials, while larger shanks can handle more pressure and force without bending.
For power tool use, we are concerned with the diameter and how it will fit in our tool. There are several common shank sizes to carve wood and are 1/8" shank, 1/4", 3/32", and 1/16". A Drill bits set also come with different shank sizes.
It's also important to note that shank length should also be taken into account when selecting bits. A super long shank might be beneficial for reaching into bowls or vases. A long shank burr may bend easier on a smaller shank diameter.
With these factors in mind, choosing the right shank size for your project can lead to better results and overall satisfaction.
What Kind of Tool Do I Need?
When it comes to carving wood with burrs, there are a few power tools that can greatly improve the efficiency and precision of the project.
A flex shaft tool, which is a hand-held motor connected to a flexible shaft, allows for greater control and maneuverability in tight spaces.
These tools also often come with multiple attachments for various tasks. They have a lot of power and can be used for hogging out material and are known for getting things done fast.
The drawback is, if you cramp the shaft too tight or it pinches on your clothing, the shaft will break. The shafts are an easy fix and part of maintaining your tool.
Use the 1/4" shank burrs for heavy duty sculpting with these tools. Depending on the handpiece, you can also use smaller shank sizes.
Most of these units have a forward direction and are limited on speed with a top end of about 18,000 rpm. Variable speed controls can be added to the units and some also come with a reverse option.
Micromotors are smaller and more versatile carving machines. They can be used for detailed engraving or carving and offer precise speed control.
Most micromotors are set up to handle 1/8" shank burrs and smaller. There are a few motors that can handle the 1/4" shanks. An example is the NSK Emax Evolution with the high torque motor. Properly equipped, the NSK is the ultimate carving tool.
While both the flexshaft and micromotor power tools can make carving with burrs easier, it is important to carefully follow safety guidelines and properly maintain the equipment for the best results.
A tool for wood carving will be something that you can use for years.