Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Sculpting power tools, for DIY projects. Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,130

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 10:40 am    Post subject: Sculpting power tools, for DIY projects.         Reply with quote

This could become a Topic for useful tips and tool recommendations for various DIY project and should go beyond my initial question below.

To give context about what advice I am looking for at this time, I like to make walking sticks and maybe also make some warclubs out of various types of woods. I might go for oak or ash for economy reasons, or other woods if I can find a good source of them like hard maple etc .....

But I'm also planning on using more exotic woods like cocobolo or African ebony.

Actually found a local place that sells exotic woods and these can be very expensive, up to $200 for a 1 1/2"x 3"x40" for a piece of select quality ebony for example.

I want to use a minimum of power tools but whittling down such an expensive piece of wood into 60% wood chips and saw dust is sort of a waste of materials to I'm thinking of getting a hand held power tool I can use to cut of big pieces of excess material that can be used later for other things and also rough out shapes with a much control/safety as possible.

Most detail work would probably be done by hand or a small Dremel tool.

I've been looking at Oscillating Tools as these seem to be able to do plunge cutting, sanding, scrapping etc ....
http://oscillating-tools.com/
http://www.ehow.com/list_6133475_high-speed-c...tools.html

Basically I'm looking for a tool for freehand sculpture that can cut away material as if I was using a knife on a block of clay i.e. slice away anything from a big chunk of wood to precise thin slices with precision and full control.

An example of this would be people who sculpt using a chain saw but with finer control and less dust flying all over the place. ( Safety should also be a concern in choice of tools and the Oscillating tool demo Videos I've seen make them look somewhat safe to use and they also seem to not produce great clouds of wood dust which can be very much a hazard with some tropical wood dust that can be toxic or at least an irritant and cause allergic reactions )
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chainsaw_carving

I guess a tiny miniature chainsaw might work if those exist ? The Oscillating Tools look like they could do some of this kind of detail work, so apart from these being good tools for general carpentry work I'm looking for people who have used these for more artistic projects than cutting a hole in plaster board for a light switch. Wink Laughing Out Loud Could you control the tool enough to sculpt complex shapes ?

So opinions on the tools mentioned or recommendations for other tools that could work for these types of projects.
http://www.ehow.com/info_8441100_power-wood-sculpting-tools.html

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 12:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

my two bits would be to stick with hand powered tools... knives and chisels... power tools just end up causing me to rush and make a mess of things.

The thing though is you have to get some nice blades and keep them really sharp so they can ignore the grain... besides sharpening stones make a wood mounted strop and use rouge to polish the edge.
View user's profile Send private message
Jason Daub




Location: Peace River, Alberta
Joined: 14 Jan 2005
Reading list: 78 books

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean,

For power carving, check the Lee Valley online catalog, they stock the Foredom power carver, I haven't used one myself but have heard good things about them. I do a little bit of carving and have found that the most important tool is a good vise or carvers' screw, having the workpiece locked in place but still easily adjustable makes work so much easier. Most of my work is done with chisels, but I have used a friends' power carver using Kutzall carving burrs and it was amazing what you can do with them. You can get the carving burrs from Lee Valley as well, I'm not sure, but I think that they have more of my money than A&A does.

P.S. In answer to your question, there are miniature chainsaw carving blades that mount on an angle grinder, Lee Valley has them as well Wink

'I saw young Harry, -with his bevor on,
His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd,-
Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship.'
View user's profile Send private message
Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
Likes: 10 pages
Reading list: 13 books

Spotlight topics: 7
Posts: 5,880

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 12:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've had good luck with a portable table saw for getting a long piece down to the correct diameter (leaving as a by-product some nice wood for knife grip scales) and then doing the finer work with a hand plane and rasp (I live by the Stanley Surform). I use a hand saw/miter box for length.

I think you'd be disappointed by things like the Dremel. They can certainly remove tons of wood locally very quickly but without much finesse. That means you have to stop well short of the final shape when using such tools for large shapes. They might be better for very detailed sculptural detail. You're pretty much going to have to follow up with fine saws, chisels, knives and abrasives, no matter what. Get a good whetstone! A sharp carbon steel knife/chisel is magic. The hand tools have the added advantage of not filling your workshop, hair, lungs, eyes, clothes, etc. with truly horrible particulates that can actually explode in high enough concentrations. A long piece of hardwood curling out of a hand plane into a tight spiral is one of the great pleasures of the workshop, in my view. Big Grin

FWIW, I have a Dremel system and I don't use it for any wood other than (sometimes) the interior of a scabbard core. Even carving a spiral wire-bound grip, a knife is the thing to use.

If you do decide to get a power tool, I'd recommend a Dremel with the flexible extension shaft. That at least allows you to hold the tool like a pen for fine work.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 1:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

for removing lots of wood... I prefer rasps and hand planes.
View user's profile Send private message
J. Wilby




Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Joined: 02 Apr 2007

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 2:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To rough out pieces while still maintaining the removed bits as usable, I have used a bandsaw. The kerf (material removed by the blade) is much smaller than that of a table saw, and don't even talk about various forms of a chain saw! The trick is the width of the blade. Wide bandsaw blades track much better, narrower blades allow tighter corners.

What you get:
- roughed in shapes that still need proper working with hand tools
- scrap wood that can be reused
What you don't get:
- detail work
- a straight line :-)
Challenges:
- always leave enough material so that you can finish by hand
- take the time to set up the guide blocks to properly constrain the blade. Too tight is hard on the machine, too loose and the blade wanders.
View user's profile Send private message
Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I own one of these:



A power file. (I hear they're refered too as Dynabrades or dynafiles in the US.) All I can say is that I really recommend this type of device..

It does basically what a file does only much, much, much faster. Short of a large stationary grinder, I have found nothing that grinds metal as easily and effectively as this thing. If you need to rework or shape something out of metal, even make a blade through stock removal, this is what you want. I'm currently using mine to radically alter the blade profile of an old Darksword Armory blade and it's working like a charm.

It's also good if you want to rough-shape wood quickly, though it has a lot of bite when working wood so you'll want to be careful not to let it eat into what you are working on.

Sean Flynt wrote:

If you do decide to get a power tool, I'd recommend a Dremel with the flexible extension shaft. That at least allows you to hold the tool like a pen for fine work.


Seconded. I have one of those and the extension shaft never comes off.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.


Last edited by Anders Backlund on Mon 13 Jun, 2011 3:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 30 Mar 2008

Posts: 271

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do an awful lot of woodcarving in my spare time, using both 'authentic' methods with hand tools and 'short cuts' with electric tools, depending on the timescale and the amount of man-hours I can devote to a project. I carve 'in the round' and in relief.

If I go the electric route, I first rough cut my wood using my bandsaw.

For 3D (in-the-round) carving:
For further rough shaping, I use a powerfile with a thin 40-grit belt. Or an Arbortech attached to an angle grinder (either the large or the small one, depending upon the amount of wood I want to remove and the size of the carving). I use the type with the CNC bits on the wheel, not the type with the flat cutting wheel in the pic below. Or a Japanese Saw Rasp if I want manual control (but that's a hand tool....). I then go to my Dremel (or other model....).

I can totally complete the carving (bar finishing) with the Dremel. It is perfectly possible to do fine detail carving with it (I have many, many, many hours practice and many fried Dremels to prove it!).

For relief (flat or incised) carving:
I tend to use different techniques, using power carvers (both large and small) and Dremels with router bits.

I have to say, that the most satisfying and rewarding is carving with just manual hand tools, but people just don't want to pay for the time and skill involved.......

Julian



 Attachment: 12.77 KB
Power Carver.jpg


 Attachment: 5.65 KB
Powerfile.jpg


 Attachment: 2.54 KB
Japanese Saw Rasp.jpg


 Attachment: 11.24 KB
Arbortech - small.jpg

View user's profile Send private message
Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 30 Mar 2008

Posts: 271

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And for those who say you can't do detail work with a Dremel (save for the final sanding/finishing, of course), let me show off:

(lots of different techniques and various dremel fittings have been used for these, but I mainly tend to use it like a pen or a paintbrush in one hand, and work very quickly and fluidly)

The boar in oak is only 7 inches long and is entirely done with a dremel-type tool. Surface is textured.

The pierced work rose and applique oak leaves are around 6" across.

I also use the dremel a lot to carved dagger handles.

Julian



 Attachment: 24.29 KB
Brancepeth Brawn (Oak).jpg


 Attachment: 27.01 KB
Brancepeth Brawn (Side).jpg


 Attachment: 138.77 KB
Picture 024ed.jpg


 Attachment: 121.04 KB
Picture 025ed.jpg

View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,130

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julian Reynolds wrote:
And for those who say you can't do detail work with a Dremel (save for the final sanding/finishing, of course), let me show off:

(lots of different techniques and various dremel fittings have been used for these, but I mainly tend to use it like a pen or a paintbrush in one hand, and work very quickly and fluidly)

The boar in oak is only 7 inches long and is entirely done with a dremel-type tool. Surface is textured.

The pierced work rose and applique oak leaves are around 6" across.

I also use the dremel a lot to carved dagger handles.

Julian


Nice work and good to see what a steady hand and some talent can do with a dremel on wood.

I've used dremels for a long time but mostly on metal using cutting wheels to do file work but haven't done any wood work with them yet.

Ease of removing material can be a great thing in speeding things up but if too easy one can make decision too quickly and cut when more thinking would have been appropriate. On the other hand removing a lot of excess material when the material is very hard is just frustratingly slow with hand tools and it means that the really creative part of the work has to wait until the gross removal of excess material has been done.

So, I guess I'm looking to find power tools to remove the excess and do most of the fine work by hand, I don't have the space or the inclination to want a full woodworking shop with band saws or wood lathe & turning tools etc .... at least for the moment. Wink


Oh, forgot to mention that I might want to use a small axe to remove excess material when the wood is not expensive like Oak or Ash but want to be able to not waste big pieces of costly Ebony that I can save for other projects: Probably my A&A Nordland Axe held close to the head for light and controlled chopping strokes and not big heavy blows.

By the way mine is a semi customized version with a hardened high carbon steel edge welded to the main cast body that I can shave arm hairs with. Wink
http://www.arms-n-armor.com/pole213.html

Apart from a vice like work bench to hold the work I'm mostly happy and comfortable doing thing as freehanded as possible with either power tools or hand tools.

At the extreme I could just use a knife and eventually sculpt just about anything I want to make ( Adding some wood chisels or gouges for some things ) but like I said the idea to to get to the fun part once the basic shapes have been roughed out.

Note to all: Thanks all for the advice so far and the tools and methods suggested. Big Grin Cool


Just to get back to the specific tool I'm curious about and planning in buying, an Oscillating tool like shown in my links: Has anyone used these freehand to sculpt ? And if yes, what can this tool do well and what are it's limitations or negatives ?

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 30 Mar 2008

Posts: 271

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean,

The Bosch Power Carver I showed on my reply is an oscillating tool. There is a fast spinning offset cam inside, and the chisel blade (once you apply pressure to it) is 'hammered' by this cam. So it acts like an oscillating/vibating chisel when you push it into the wood.

As I said in my reply, I regularly use 2 - a large one as shown in the photo for taking out the 'meat' in a piece of wood, and one that is around 2/3 the size for fine work.

I find that I cannot use it for carving 'in the round' (ie. 3D) unless the work is large and very well supported, because the blade has a tendency to either 'skid' or bite too deeply. I put this down to the difficulty in judging the perfect angle for blade alignment on the carved object (something I have never found with using hand chisels, as you are constantly making minute angle adjustments - you don't have the control at the speed a power carver works).

Where I find them extremely useful, is in relief carving, where the wood is well supported, flat and with relatively fewer angles and you have a lot more support and control to your hand/arm by leaning onto the piece of work or the bench (see the example below, a copy of a mediaeval bench end, in oak, pretty much carved entirely with a power carver/oscillating tool).

Julian



 Attachment: 99.57 KB
Leaping Salmon (Oak).JPG

View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,130

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julian, thanks for the informative posts and I'll Google the Bosch Power Carver to see if I can find it locally or order it from somewhere here in Canada and even better in Montréal. ( Or a different brand of the same type of power tool ).

I might get more than one type of power tool but this one seems versatile although as you mention it might take some practice to get enough fine control on it.

I like the fish carving as it's really nice. Big Grin Cool

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,130

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 7:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not a power tool but since it's my Topic I think I can add useful hand tools also. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud

Here is one I found that I think I will buy anyway: Japanese saw(s)

Interesting video showing them in use and how fast they can cut:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2dWhMT7rgs&feature=relmfu

I don't mind taking 10 minutes cutting a long plank of very hard Ebony, for example, with a hand saw but with my very old and very used and tired hand saws ( been in the family for generations: They were my Grandfather's ) I think it would take all day and be very tiring and frustrating.

So, if these are as efficient as they seem my need for power tools would be a lot less essential I think, although I think I would still like a power sculpturing tool also.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Jason Daub




Location: Peace River, Alberta
Joined: 14 Jan 2005
Reading list: 78 books

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 7:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean,

If those saws were your Grandfathers' take them to a reputable hand tool repair shop, being of an age they are probably very good quality. Somewhere in Montreal there will be someone who can sharpen them and reset the teeth. There is nothing quite like using a well made tool that has been in the family for a few generations to build something. Or, if you would like to resharpen them yourself you can find a sawfile & guide and the saw set at.... Lee Valley Big Grin (no, I don't get a commission each time I mention the place, really)

'I saw young Harry, -with his bevor on,
His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd,-
Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship.'
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,130

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Daub wrote:
Jean,

If those saws were your Grandfathers' take them to a reputable hand tool repair shop, being of an age they are probably very good quality. Somewhere in Montreal there will be someone who can sharpen them and reset the teeth. There is nothing quite like using a well made tool that has been in the family for a few generations to build something. Or, if you would like to resharpen them yourself you can find a sawfile & guide and the saw set at.... Lee Valley Big Grin (no, I don't get a commission each time I mention the place, really)


Well, they actually still cut but probably not as fast or easily as they might if sharpened. Wink

I'll have to check out what " Lee Valley " is ? I assume a tool place like Canadian Tire but maybe more specialized.

I don't know of a local store in Montréal though .... but maybe after a Google shop I might be asking more intelligent questions about the place. Wink Laughing Out Loud Cool ( Well, if A canadian company well known in the West one would probably order on their web site if the tools I'm looking for are not locally available ).

Anyway, thanks for the posts and replies. Big Grin Cool


( EDITED, additional: Just Googled and the closest store is in Ottawa but mail order seems possible if I don't find the tools I want locally at another store chain ).

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Chuck Russell




Location: WV
Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Reading list: 46 books

Posts: 936

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 4:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

we bought my wife's grandfather a set of power tools that were miniature. i think they were craftsman. they clamped onto the table and you moved the wood around them. he's made some amazing stuff with them
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 30 Mar 2008

Posts: 271

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 4:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean,

Japanese tools are really well thought out, for the most part. I have a couple of Japanese Pull-Saws (one with interchangeable blades) and they are fast, precise cutters, although the blades are very flexible compared to a relatively stiff western saw.

As for the Bosch Power carver, you can also get an adapter so you can use the Flexcut system of carving chisels, to make it even more versatile http://www.flexcut.com/products/

Julian
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,130

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julian Reynolds wrote:
Jean,

Japanese tools are really well thought out, for the most part. I have a couple of Japanese Pull-Saws (one with interchangeable blades) and they are fast, precise cutters, although the blades are very flexible compared to a relatively stiff western saw.

As for the Bosch Power carver, you can also get an adapter so you can use the Flexcut system of carving chisels, to make it even more versatile http://www.flexcut.com/products/

Julian


Just went to the speciality lumber yard that sells exotic woods as well as extensive power tools from the small ones to really big shop band saw and big wood lathes as well as most of the tools you and other people suggested.

For the moment I will try to do as much as I can with hand tools and slowly add power tools as needed if I start making stuff more intensely and often.

Bought a big piece of select quality Jatoba and had them cut me a couple of 1 1/2" square pieces to make a walking stick and maybe a longer walking staff. A wider piece I may make into one of those very wide at the top paddle like warclub.

Also bough a couple of those Japanese saws for now and, Julian, I will look into that Bosch Power Carver ( I think I saw one at the store or anther brand very much like it as it did seem to have an attachment to be used as a rotary tool and an adapter for power chisels ..... just have to let my creditcard cool off for now. Wink )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Sculpting power tools, for DIY projects.
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum