Tool and Materials List for Sculptural High Relief Carving
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There are countless tools that can be utilized for power carving.  The costs of acquiring all of these tools can run into the thousands of dollars.  Below is a tiered tool list that breaks down the tool requirements by the level of interest the individual carver has in pursuing power carving.  One can certainly achieve good results with the minimum requirements.  The recommended tools will speed up the carving process and in some cases add to the ease in getting good detail.  I will have a full array of my personal power carving tools on hand so students can see the different tools available and how they function.  Students may want to buy the minimum and see the other tools before making a decision.

Through experimentation and trial and error over the last 42 years, I have learned techniques that make high relief power carving easier and faster. I have been called a tool freak and whenever I see something new, I buy it and try it out.  Sometimes, when I have a need for a tool that I can't buy, I will modify an existing tool to work more efficiently. I use a number of diamond and high-speed burrs, special sanding mandrels as well as a router bits and collet adaptors. These tools have specific shapes and flute configurations that are difficult to find.  Many of them are custom made and come from sources that do not market them as woodworking tools. 

I have assembled a basic burr and bit package that will allow the carver to accomplish a detailed carving quicker than you would imagine.   Most of the burrs and bits sold through the popular woodworking and carving catalogs do not perform as well as the ones I have assembled for this package. The price for the 17-piece package is $200. I recommend that you buy the whole package, but I will have individual bits for sale at the class if you don’t want to buy the whole package. 

Many of the parts in the burr and bit package as well as the angle grinder adaptor described below are special order or custom made and take time to fabricate, so order early.

In addition, I have recommended a custom-made angle grinder adapter. The purpose of the adaptor is to allow you to use 3/4" through 3" sanding discs as well as small flex edge and foam backed discs on your angle grinder.  Not only do they allow you to do shaping in very tight areas and concave surfaces, they don't have the center locknut to get in the way. You can sand flat surfaces and combined with a speed control, you will find that you have an amazing amount of flexibility for shaping, scribing and finish sanding on uneven surfaces.  While this adaptor is not necessary for this class, it will make some operations faster and easier and it will be a valuable addition to your toolbox. It can also be used to speed up shaping processes in other operations such as sculptural chair making.

In addition to the custom angle grinder adapter, you will need to order backing pads in various types and sizes.  I will have various size discs and grits available for sale at the class.  The price for the custom angle grinder adapter is $22.  This is a special order item so please let me know no later than 45 days before the class so I can order them.

Minimum requirements:

Solid slab of Alder carving wood as well as extra wood for the built up area. Cost $60

Flex-shaft power carving tool. We have flex-shaft tools at the Curious Forge for students to use so you don't need to buy one unless you want to get the one recommended below.

Burr and bit package available from Special order - Order these by Aug 15 !

The cost for the package is $200

20mm #7 gouge

10mm #5 gouge

5mm #5 gouge

10mm skew


Safety Glasses

Hearing protectors or earplugs.



Mastercarver, 30,000 RPM flex shaft tool with hand pieces from Woodcarvers Supply. (Foredom is too slow for optimal usage but will work if you already own one.)

Electronic dial router speed control from Woodworkers Supply.

High speed, DC micro grinder, minimum 45,000 RPM

4” angle grinder with 5/8” arbor or with 3/8” to 5/8” adaptor.

Custom angle grinder adapter and Merit SnapLok mandrels, backing pads and discs only available from Special order these early!

Special order Information Custom parts available from Ron are special order and some are custom fabricated. I will have the special order parts for you at the class.

Order by Aug 15 to allow time for fabrication!

Please call or email for more information. 530-477-9456

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