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  • Speed Questions

    I find my self exploring power carving more and more as my hands don't seem to be able to sustain any kind of prolonged hand carving tools anymore. I've been experimenting with basswood and having less than desirable results. Well today as I'm working on a cherry cane I had a need to use a carbide point bit to shape a part of the cane. WOW, what a difference over basswood. Thst little bit of carving has reignited my desire for power carving.
    anyhow, my question about speed, is there any general ideas concerning speed as related to size and style of bit? Perhaps a starting point or is trial and error the best indicator for what works for you?

    Chris

  • #2
    One of the recurring complaints about power carving basswood is the "fuzzies." You may have better results with cherry, but you may have to arrive at the optimum speeds by trial & error,

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    • #3
      I have a variable foot unit, I use it when I need control. And Basswood with that is easier to make a carve. I also found that hand pressure makes a lot of difference with power and basswood. And yes cherry is fun to work with too!!
      Good luck
      Chuck
      Chuck
      Always hoping for a nice slice that won't need sanding!

      https://woodensmallthings.blogspot.com/2021/01/

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      • #4
        Maple and cherry are my recommendations. If you ever decide to try purpleheart, it must be slow speed - high speed instantly burns black from the sap in the wood.

        Claude
        My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/
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        • #5
          In the metal machining industry, the concept of "surface feet per minute" applies. With metal, the parameters of the speed and amount of material removed are well established. Maybe there is a place on the internet that covers that for wood, but I seriously doubt it, so you'll have to determine your own feed and speed rate. I'd opt for "easy does it" until I had a handle on it. I don't power carve, as I don't like the noise.

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          • #6
            Thanks guys, like I said getting away from basswood has given me new energy to pursue carving again. I do so enjoy it so going with cherry and maple going forward.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CHawk View Post
              Thanks guys, like I said getting away from basswood has given me new energy to pursue carving again. I do so enjoy it so going with cherry and maple going forward.
              Still being able to carve is a big plus! Be sure and show your results.

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              • #8
                Hi, Chris, The Speed you use has a lot to do with the Diameter of your Bit. The Larger the Bit the Slower the Speed . Start out with a Slower Speed and Increase Speed to your Feel. Experience will Dictate your needed Speed . I Enjoy Power Carving , the only thing bad about it is ,it's Messy . You might look into getting a Dust Collector. Enjoy your new found Hobby. Merle

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                • #9
                  One thing I will note speed and cutting will be determined by the wood and what level it carves best. That means some experimental wood to find the best speed and burr combination. I will note some woods will burn the wood at high speeds rather than cut, some burrs cut some wood and some burrs do not cut at all. Koa is the worst speed too low it won't cut the wood, speed too high and you get burn marks.
                  . Explore! Dream! Discover!” aloha Di

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                  • #10
                    The foot speed control fir me was a killer trying to keep the perfect speed. I switched to a table top speed controller, a thousand percent better. After a few days I knew exactly where to turn the knob to the speed I wanted. I now use a router speed controller on mine.

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                    • #11
                      Hi , Di, so by your Definition , Slow won't cut. High will Burn , then Medium Speed is the Answer , or Wrong Bit . Maybe a Course Bit. Merle

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                      • #12
                        The density of the wood will also affect the speeds you use. High speeds on harder woods will give you a fair amount of bit bounce. That is why I prefer a veritable speed power carver. You can adjust your speed to maximize the efficiency of you bits cut as you go. I always start slow and slowly increasing speed as the project permits. I have scared nice pieces of wood by to fast and having the bit jump I directions I did not want it to go. Also watch for the changes in density in the grain of your project. Your bit can dig in deeper than you plan if the density softens or jump if the density changes to hardens. I try focus on controlling the hand piece but letting the bit do the work using minimal pressure on the bit. Each piece of wood is an education. I try to practice on scraps from the piece I will work on when starting,if I can. Changing over to power carving was a big change for me but it just took time and less than a cord of wood to get the hang of it.
                        Last edited by Randy; 01-17-2023, 10:00 PM.
                        We live in the land of the free because of the brave! Semper Fi
                        https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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