Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dremel, rotary tools and woodcarving

Dremel bits
Question: Got a new Dremel for Xmas. Would like to learn BASIC woodcarving with this tool. My grandsons names carved in a walking stick, maybe a simple design, stuff like that. Could you suggest what type of bits I can get to begin learning and practicing this stuff??? Thanks.  Bill
Answer: Hi there Bill, I am always interested in helping a new carver on his way.  Dremel is a great little tool.  They actually make carving bits for the dremels. I have used my dremel extensively and find I need to replace the unit every 2-3 years, and believe me thats good, as I punish my dremel, having it go for hours on end.  In addition to the bits, I suggest 2 things to make your life easier.  First get a keyless chuck (under $10)
         CHUCK
http://www.dremel.com/en-us/attachments-and-accessories/attachment-accessory-det

to make changing the bits easier and second, get yourself a flexible shaft.  This should be your most expensive accessory at around $20 but trust me, if you're planning on carving, you will definitely want one.  instead of holding the unit(which is heavy, clumsy and hot after awhile) you can hold the hand unit of the flex shaft which is like holding a thick pen and you will be able to comfortably carve at any angle.
         FLEXSHAFT
http://www.dremel.com/en-us/attachments-and-accessories/attachment-accessory-det


I have included the links below to my favorite carving bits. Buy at stores where they sell genuine dremel bits so you don't have to worry about quality. they are cheap enough.

First bits I recommend are the high speed cutters
         HIGH SPEED CUTTERS
http://www.dremel.com/en-us/attachments-and-accessories/attachment-accessory-gro

I find the following 4 bits to be the most useful 117,134,144 and 191

Next I recommend the Structured Tooth Carbide Cutters which can remove wood quickly. They leave it rough but they are great if you need to waste a lot of wood. With these I recommend 9931, 9933, and 9934
         CARBIDE CUTTERS
http://www.dremel.com/en-us/attachments-and-accessories/attachment-accessory-gro

I also like to use grinding stones
         GRINDING STONES
http://www.dremel.com/en-us/attachments-and-accessories/attachment-accessory-gro

They smooth and shape rather than carve and work well to clean up your carving.  They also have sanding bits but the grinding stones work better in my opinion.

Carbide-tipped bits: more expensive than other bits, but they stay sharp much longer than steel, high-speed steel or titanium bits.

As for how narrow bits are......I can't find info on exact sizes. I can tell you dremel makes some extremely small cutters but when you get into dental and industrial bits they are measured in microns, something no carver should ever need. Honestly it is just the tip you need to worry about and almost any bit that comes to a point will suit your purposes.


Of course what bits you decide on will depend on the actual project you are undertaking as each type of bit is available in different sizes and shapes.  On the dremel site is a store locator, use it to find the bits in your area.  You will want to eyeball them to see that they suit your purposes.  Warning! Warning! Warning! Be careful here, once you get into the world of dremel accessories, you most likely will become addicted to checking out and buying all the different bits available.  Even dental and industrial bits will work in the dremels. Once you become familiar with the bits and know what they will do,  You can go on ebay and find bits at very good prices, especially the grinding stones which needn't be actual dremel brand.  There are even genuine dremel bits on ebay.  Good luck with your lettering and feel free to stay in contact with me.  You can reach me thru my website www.carvinginnyc.com   I am never too busy to help a fellow carver. thanks for an interesting question and have a great day.     Maura



 I am always interested in helping a new carver on his way.  Dremel is a great little tool.  They actually make carving bits for the dremels. I have used my dremel extensively and find I need to replace the unit every 2-3 years, and believe me thats good, as I punish my dremel, having it go for hours on end.  For all the following info go to dremel.com and veiw their digital catalogue. You can most likely just put the item number in their search box......as for particular sizes, I suggest you find the dremel section of your local hardware store and eyeball the bits you buy......your definition of small may be different than mine.....In addition to the bits, I suggest 2 things to make your life easier.  First get a keyless chuck (under $10)
         In the online catalogue #4486

to make changing the bits easier and second, get yourself a flexible shaft.  This should be your most expensive accessory at around $20 but trust me, if you're planning on carving, you will definitely want one.  instead of holding the unit(which is heavy, clumsy and hot after awhile) you can hold the hand unit of the flex shaft which is like holding a thick pen and you will be able to comfortably carve at any angle.
         FLEXSHAFT #225-01

I have included the links below to my favorite carving bits. Buy at stores where they sell genuine dremel bits so you don't have to worry about quality. they are cheap enough.

First bits I recommend are the high speed cutters in carving and engraving
         HIGH SPEED CUTTERS 121and 124

Engravers 105 and 107 are quite small for detail....eyeball in person as you may want bigger

Next I recommend the Structured Tooth Carbide Cutters which can remove wood quickly. They leave it rough but they are great if you need to waste a lot of wood. With these I recommend 9931, 9933, and 9934 but please eyeball these as they are great for general wood removal but may be too aggressive for your purposes

         Tungsten CARBIDE CUTTER 9910

I also like to use grinding stones for sanding rather than dremel sanding bits which are too rough for a finish desired by a carver
       Aluminum oxide  GRINDING STONES 945 and 953

They smooth and shape rather than carve and work well to clean up your carving.

Carbide-tipped bits: more expensive than other bits, but they stay sharp much longer than steel, high-speed steel or titanium bits and can be used on harder woods and other materials.

As for how narrow bits are......The exact sizes are included on the dremel site but I can't stress enough how important it is to eyeball the sizes in person until you become more familiar with the bits.  I can tell you dremel makes some extremely small cutters but when you get into dental and industrial bits they are measured in microns, something no carver should ever need. Honestly it is just the tip you need to worry about and almost any bit that comes to a point or almost to a point will suit your purposes.

Of course what bits you decide on will depend on the actual project you are undertaking as each type of bit is available in different sizes and shapes.  On the dremel site is a store locator, use it to find the bits in your area.  You will want to eyeball them to see that they suit your purposes.  Warning! Warning! Warning! Be careful here, once you get into the world of dremel accessories, you most likely will become addicted to checking out and buying all the different bits available.  Even dental and industrial bits will work in the dremels. Once you become familiar with the bits and know what they will do,  You can go on ebay and find bits at very good prices, especially the grinding stones which needn't be actual dremel brand.  There are even genuine dremel bits on ebay.  Good luck with your lettering and feel free to stay in contact with me.  You can reach me thru my website www.carvinginnyc.com   I am never too busy to help a fellow carver. thanks for an interesting question and have a great day.     Maura

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