Power carving bits come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. Some are hard as diamonds, while some are as fragile as ceramic. They also go by names such as burs, carvers, stones, disks, and cutters. Wood carving bits perform one task, and that is wood removal.
Different wood carving bits serve different purposes. There are ones that remove wood faster, there are ones that leave a smooth finish, and the different shapes and sizes are for different jobs. This guide will see the different bits types, profiles, sizes, and shapes. We’ll also talk about how to care for your wood carving burs.
There are different bit shapes available.
- Ball-shaped bits create concave cuts similar to a U-gouge. They are suitable for hollowing out areas. For example, if you are hollowing a contoured area like a spoon, a good option would be the ball-shaped bit.
- Cylindrical-shaped bits are great for cutting flat areas and round edges. Cylinder bits shapes make stop and V cuts. This is similar to what a knife or straight chisel would cut. Smooth or same-end bits are the most useful cylinder bit shapes.
- Flame-shaped bits are good for making concave and V cuts. This is similar to the cut created when using a U-gouge when using its side and V-tool when using the tip.
- Pear-shaped bits are good for round edges, creating lumps and bumps for bird carvers.
- Bull-nose or ball nose-shaped bits combine a ball and a cylinder. A bull-nose is good for making concave cuts and hollowing out areas using the top side. You can also use the side to cut flat areas and round edges. A bull-nose bit creates a similar cut to a U-gouge with the top and a knife cut with the side.
- Large taper-shaped bits are good for making round edges and concave cuts and accessing hard-to-reach areas.
- Small taper-shaped bits are good for accessing hard-reach areas and angled areas. For bird carvers, small taper bits help create feather barbules and hair.
- Oval-shaped bits are good for round edges, creating lumps and bumps and making concave cuts.
- Inverted cone-shaped bits are good for making V-cuts for feather barbules and hair.
- Disc-shaped bits cut off thin pieces of unwanted wood. They are good for undercutting feathers and making channel cuts.
Bit Cleaner and Cleaning Materials
Bits will get clogged after using them for some time. To keep them in good shape, you need to clean them and keep them well maintained.
A propane torch is one of the ways to clear a clogged carbide bur. Stiff wires and bristle brushes can also be used alone for steel burs or after using a propane torch for carbide burs.