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Power Tool Use For Traditional Carving

I am a general woodworker who does some woodcarving and I haven't see this discussed here yet. Does anyone else use power tools to support traditional woodcarving? I realize we all use table saws and bandsaws to reduce carving stock and make "roughouts" but do you use any other power tools to take reduce the "work" of the whole process? If so, what tools and how do you use them? I for one have been known to use a router to establish background levels of large blocks.

I have a Proxxon power carver for when I want to remove a large amount of stock quickly. When I get closer to where I want to be I generally switch to the gouges and mallet for more control. I also use a small Dremel for some detail work. Many of the carvers in the woodcarving club I belong to use Foredom tools with large cutters to hog off a lot of wood in a short time and then use micromotors for detail work. I personally don't like this approach for the amount of sawdust it creates and the safety equipment that you need to use to protect yourself (masks, eye shields, dust collectors, etc.) But these guys do turn out some beautiful work and probably in half the time it takes me.

I have most carving power tools out there, but most of them are getting very dusty in storage. The only one I really use if I need to hog a lot of wood away is the Automach electric carver. I actually have 3 of them because they heat up quickly and this allows me to continue to carve and let them cool off. I haven't used them for a while, but for larger pieces, it's great! I've always found dremels have done more damage than help (but that's just me). I also occasionally use a 4" angle grinder with an aggressive grinding wheel - also for removing the bulk of wood. I have never found using machines work for finishing work.

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Robert Butler