Power Tools for Woodcarving

Written by jensen johansson
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Power Tools for Woodcarving
Chisels are good for all kinds of woodcarving. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Carving is perhaps one of the hardest wood working process to learn. Even old masters of woodcarving would probably welcome new and powerful tools for carving. Although power tools make carving easier, consider learning woodcarving step by step. Start with hand tools and experiment with simple shapes. After you've conquered basics of woodcarving, start using power tools to produce complex carved pieces.


A woodcarver is produced from hardened steel and tungsten carbide for best performance. Both materials are good for shaping, trimming, sculpting, trenching, and planing. Smaller scale woodcarvers have a rapid and controlled stock removal that was a few years ago the characteristic of only large scale carvers. With small discs of about 2 inches in diameter, small scale woodcarvers reach narrow areas.

CNC Machines

Computer numerical control machines are powerful and automated machines that let you design your carving piece using various software to upload a project into the machine. CNC machines have a monitor which guides you through a few steps. They can perform carving, routing, cutting, and jointing and automatically choose the right bit for specific job. CNC machines are often produced for a large scale woodwork, but there are now more compact and smaller machines suitable for smaller pieces.

Reciprocating Carvers

Reciprocating woodcarvers have blades that use push and pull movement to carve the wood. This action enables the cutter head to carve through the wood with simple hand direction. The depth of the cut depends on the amount of pressure applied. Most reciprocating carvers stay switched off until pressed against the wood. These models are ideal for restoring furniture and antiques, carving, and even for precision paint removal.

Rotary Carvers

Unlike reciprocating carvers, rotary carvers use rotation to carve the wood. Rotary carvers usually have motors built into the hand pieces, improving the maneuverability. In addition to this, rotary carvers don't have a flexible shaft to increase operating angles. These carvers are small and good for detailed and intricate carving.

Power Carving Accessories

A wide range of woodcarving accessories helps you make quality wood pieces in a more efficient way. Carving burrs with diamond tips last longer than normal burrs and can carve not only wood, but other materials, such as glass, stone, or metal. Tungsten carbide burrs cut with randomly positioned teeth that work simultaneously. They're good for hand-held operations because of the ease of control. To protect your equipment, use trays that come in different diameter sizes. Carving dust collectors are a necessity in smaller workshops. Duct collectors often come with two motors to adjust the amount of needed air flow.

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