Wood Carving Power Tools

Written by jock bergeron
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Wood Carving Power Tools
Power wood carving tools allow carvers to create finished work more efficiently than hand tools. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

While many people practice traditional manual wood carving, the advent of power tools has opened doors for wood carvers. New tools have been used and developed for carving projects, enabling carvers to produce finished work more rapidly than ever before. A power carver's shop includes tools for a variety of uses, from reducing the raw material to a generalised shape to extremely detailed finish work.

Chain Saws

Chain saws have been used as carving utensils for many years. Generally, woodcarvers have used lightweight models for enhanced precision and prevent fatigue-related injury. Using a chain saw for woodcarving is useful when carving away large chunks from the project.

Industrial Rotary Carvers

Another option for accomplishing rough cutting on a large scale is the industrial rotary carver. Industrial rotary carvers are more easily controlled than chain saws. With interchangeable carving blades, they offer an increased range of carving textures as well.

Reciprocating Saws

While reciprocating saws aren't capable of the same power as chain saws or industrial carvers, they are also useful tools for power carving. They're very easily controlled and can be used to remove a variety of material sizes, from bigger chunks to thin shavings. Some carvers prefer a pneumatic body saw to an electric reciprocating saw. The pneumatic models are lightweight and easier to work with over extended periods.


For smaller projects or more detailed work, an array of smaller tools is available. Among them are mini-grinders. These attachments for a standard 4-inch grinder body use a 2-inch grinder blade to let carvers access small recessed areas without damaging surrounding woodwork.

Reciprocating Carvers

Reciprocating power carvers work in a similar manner to a reciprocating saw. However, they're used to chip away at the wood, rather than cut into it. Many types of bits are available for small power carvers, but a popular type of reciprocating power carver is the power chisel. This tool lets the user chisel away sections of wood without the use of a hammer. It saves elbow fatigue and injury and can be used in to create grooves of varying depths and widths.

Rotary Carvers

Rotary power carvers operate by spinning a bit at high speed. There are two varieties of these carvers. One is the pneumatic version, which works at a much higher speed than the electric variety. Depending on the bit, rotary power carvers have a many applications, including v-cuts, round cuts and smoothing effects. To get the most from a rotary power carver, have a selection of bits to use with it.


Sanders of all sizes can be helpful in power carving. However, the more versatile varieties tend to be those with very small surface areas. These include belt sanders with a width of less than 1 inch and an extended arm to allow for increased detailing and access to recessed areas of the carving. Oscillating sanders can be useful for exposed surfaces.

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