Motorized Carving Tools

Updated February 21, 2017

Used by wood carvers to improve the efficiency of shaping wood, the motorised carving tools fall into two broad categories. Rotary tools utilise tools attached to a spinning arbor to grind away wood, and power chisels slice away wood similar to a handheld chisel being struck by a hammer. Electricity powers tools in either configuration. Each has its place in a wood carver's tool chest although both take practice to use properly.

Dremel Tools

The Dremel Company offers an entire line of rotary tools that are often used by wood carvers. Tools such as burs, small grinding heads or sandpaper drums are fitted to the holder at the end of the tool. The Dremel line includes variable speed and cordless rotary tools. They also offer a complete line of burs, sanding drums, bits and other attachments for the tools, increasing the options for its use.


The Foredom Power Wood Carving tools are also rotary tools, although the system is more specifically designed for wood carvers. The motor is a separate unit connected by a flexible shaft to the hand piece where the burr or drum is mounted. The motor unit is hung above the work piece, allowing the carver easier movement and more control of the hand piece. The Foredom carving tools are variable speeds with the operator controlling the tool by a foot pedal.

Arbortech Power Chisel

Rather than rotating, the cutting head of the Arbortech Power Chisel slides forward and back from the handheld motor unit. The chisels are interchangeable, allowing the carver to work in broad cuts or fine detail. Carvers commonly use power chisels for shaping projects requiring straight lines such as lettered signs.

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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.