It is an exciting experience developing the craft of carving wood through the many different methods. Power carving, to some, is a preferable method because it utilizes rotary tools to efficiently sculpt your creation. Rotary tools are merely the machine behind the madness, but it is the best dremel bits for wood carving that truly have the most influence on how your project will look.
The shape variety of rotary tool bits can get extensive, but if we take a closer look at the main bit shapes then this will help lay down the foundation of familiarity (this shaped bit does that, so-and-so type is best for this, etc.). Eventually, you’ll become knowledgeable enough to cater to the needs of the project, and to know which bit you need for any given time just by its shape.
Types of bits and what they’re used for
Wood carving utilizes a lot of different electric tools to carve fast or bigger pieces. If we think about other forms of art, like painting for example, one would say that bits to wood are like the paint brushes to a canvas. Their variation in size and shape weigh greatly on its effect, and there are a lot of different types available from super aggressive to very fine.
I would suggest not focusing on the best dremel bits for wood carving because there is a practical use for every type of bit out there. Instead, I’ll go over the most commonly used bits you’ll want to use once you get started, and as time goes on you might start picking up different ones depending on the project.
In a nutshell, there are 3 different types of bits:
Saburr Tooth bits, or coarse bits, with a decent pair of teeth will rip, chew, and tear material away very quickly. They won’t be any good at cutting smoothly because that isn’t what they are designed to do; they are made to take off wood the fastest. This will be the type of bit to use first in order to rough out large amounts of material and get it down to a shape before putting in more detail.
Once of the most consistent and rigid Saburr Tooth type burrs is 1/8″ Shank coarse grit kit. This will be the first bit you’ll use when starting a project that’s of medium size. While it can’t be used on metal or ceramics, it can be applied (at operating speeds between 4,000 to 25,000 RPM) to wood, foam, epoxy, acrylics, soap stone, silicone, plastic, polyurethane, graphite, ice, and plenty more.
Fluted bits are significantly less aggressive and are used second when you have about a 1/4 inch or less material to remove. The flutes come through and slice away the material so the wood comes off clean, similar to using a gouge.
The fluted bits carry a heavy emphasis to be smooth because they are responsible for handling details with less room for mistakes. K Kwokker carbide 1/8 inch burrs are durable enough to work on the toughest material (metal, stone, etc.) and precise enough to comfortably handle the delicates of any project.
Diamond bits are used as sand paper to do the remainder fine tuning or cleaning. They’re essential in the final stages of detailing your work in order to stay consistent and accurate.
These kind of bits are going to finish the final smoothing out faze of your work and its important to get something that is fragile with maintaining evenness. I recommend getting GOXAWEE 1/8 inch 60 grit bit set since it does have a higher grit and has a diverse enough collection that you can perfect those finishing touches.
Now the mystery behind bits and burrs is starting to unravel into something not as complex as it appeared at first. As you start and progress through your own projects, you can use the discretion of some common sense, and knowledge of bit types to really dig deep into your craft.
Along with the varying types, shape gives bits an extra depth to consider before jumping in. On top of knowing that bits have varying degrees at which they remove wood material, the shape of the bit plays an important role in how it forms the wood.
Cylinder shapes provide a nice flat side with a square top that allows you to rough out a lot of material without concaving your cut. Additionally, you can tip the bit on its corner which will produce a v style cut meant for texture work on things like feathers or outlining.
Sphere or ball shape type bits are to make concave shaped cuts into the wood. This would typically be seen for things like a bowl, spoon, or face carving (for eyes and nose area). They work really well to dig into the wood and create that perfect concave shape for any circumstances.
Pointed bits, flamed or tapered, provide a fine point to work with, similar to working with a knife. It compliments spherical bits nicely because, once concaved, this bit can then go in and either hog out more wood or do some detailing work if needed.
All of these basic shapes vary in size for each type of bit, and depending on the project and how much wood is required to remove, or how fine and detail you need it to be will help you determine which one to pick up.
Top coarse bits
This will be the first set of equipment you’ll use to give your work a general shape, and will require a lot of bulk material removal. Roughing out the general shape should not be a long process, and having the best dremel bits for wood carving will help you achieve that.
Best overall: Shank Coarse Grit Kit
- Can be used on: wood, foam, epoxy, acrylics, soap stone, silicone, plastic, polyurethane, graphite, ice, etc.
- Operating speeds: 4,000 – 25,000 RPM
- For roughing out large amount of material
- Extreme coarse grit
Roughing out is not an easy job that any style of bit can stand up against. If you end up using the wrong type, you could be grinding away at your material for hours before you remove enough material. Of course all you really need to do to know if you are using a coarse enough bit or not is by paying attention to the “teeth”, so to speak.
The lengths for each don’t exceed 1/8 inch and its coarse durability is undoubtedly ruthless. Their rapid handling between 4,000 and 25,000 RPM’s is controlled, however it starts getting harder to work with if you go faster.
Best medium coarse grit bits
Fluted type bits are the name of the game for detailing and shaping your work. They have a medium coarse grit and should be used when you have about a 1/2 inch of material left. This will start bringing out defining features that bring you work closer to the ideal result.
K Kwokker uses 1/8 inch burrs with a 10 piece collection of perfectly diverse shapes. The bits themselves are made of heat-treated carbide for long lasting durability. The set also comes with a nicely packed plastic case to keep everything safely organized.
The medium coarse rotary bits are your bread butter for desigining most of the features in your project. A combination of 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch parts are pretty standard dimensions, and are reliable for projects of many sizes. On top of being perfect for woodcarving, K Kwokker burrs can be used on aluminum, plastic, metal, stone, glass, fiber, etc. A good RPM to stay between is 6000-50,0000 as this will improve its life expectancy, and redue turnover.
The set comes with 10 individual bits, all in varying sizes to compliment your rotary tool for woodcarving. Its dual chamber is crossover lines making it almost completely resilient to blocking lines. It helps significantly if the material of the object being carved is of relatively low density.
Rocaris titanium carbide burr set which specializes in low density objects, wood being a prime example. Its double cut design can be seen in the grove lines of the head where it’s crossed. Similar to the previous set, these are tungsten carbide burrs with a total length between 45-50mm. Tungsten steel has a service life which is 10 times longer than high-speed steel, and approximately 200 times longer than a grinding wheel.
Something which makes this particular kit great for DIY carving, enraving, and polishing is the 1/8″ straight shank that is utilizes its accurate centering with any rotary tool with three jaw chuck. The 10 shapes include several types of tapered, flame, and cylinder shapes. All provide diverse purpose for detailing your project in order to bring it to life.
As you progress through your own familiarity with using rotary tools to carve wood, an appreciation for bit shapes will develop. Experimenting with different sizes, widths, and grits will develop and eventually you will form your own personal arsenol of tools that serve their own specific purpose.
Tonsiki 20 piece rotary set has a greater range of mixed shapes all made of wear-resistent high speed steel. The carbide files are compatible with most rotary tools (dremel), and should run between 6000-50000 RPM. They process all kinds of material (plastic, foam, etc.), but work best of wood.
Round shape options are harder to come by, and are a little underdeveloped in some of the other kits, but this one provides several options that improve its ability to contour the material. Not only that, but cylinder options are improved as well, which help tremendously with roughing out chunks of wood. Detailing with this set is more developed because of the smaller designs have an extension of non-traditional bodies that serve specfiic purpose.
As you use the best dremel bits for woodcarving, the temperature of the material will get pretty. You can easily cool it down by adding water or coolant when in use.
High grit sanding bits
The higher the grit count is, the less material it will take off, and you’ll certainly want a decently high grit in order to properly sand the project when all the detail work has been finished.
GOXAWEE 20 piece 60 grit diamond-coated burr kit is precisely the type of set you’ll want to apply finishing touches with. The universal 1/8 inch shank diameter is suitable with most rotary tools and mini grinders to be used on wood, stone, glass, metal, hardwood, tile, marble, etc. Diamond coated tools have the highest grit and are exclusively for sanding and defining intricate spots.
SE 30 piece set comes with titanium-coated diamond burrs that range from 120-150 grit. I wouldn’t recommend a grit count higher than this, and I generally like to stay a little lower, but the amount of variety in this kit is too good to pass up. The most significant difference with these shapes have to do with its increasing width. This helps determine accuracy in the amount of material you wish to remove.
Bits in action
I could explain all day how exactly the shapes of bits determine their effect on wood, however many people, myself included, are visual learners. So here is a visual representation to help draw a correlation between shape purposes.
You can start to tell how choosing the right type of bit has a significant impact on shaping your project. Getting deep into the material and detailing requires a more tapered end, while concaving with a sphereical bit is able to create eyes. Exploring your own tools helps you get better at using them.
All types of power carving share similar habits, the worse being when small fibers are kicked up. Wood is pretty harmful to breathe in, and should be avoided at all costs. The best way to prevent all resipiratory issues related to breathing in wood fibers is to wear a respirator.