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Power tools for roughing out small sculptures? In an apartment...

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  • Power tools for roughing out small sculptures? In an apartment...

    Hi all! First post hopefully of many

    I took up work carving a few weekends ago and I absolutely love it. I'm especially enjoying carving small models (5-6" or so in height, same sort of width if they are doing anything interesting!) for which I've found I need to do a lot of general roughing out of outlines. I've tried using a coping saw but due to hand problems (from typing as a day job) I've found it takes a very long time and is quite uncomfortable for me. Using a knife or any other manual saw presents similar problems.

    Given that, I'm wondering if I should rough out with power tools? But here's the catch; I live in an apartment so something big like a workshop-style vertical band saw isn't an option due to space. What do you recommend? I'm currently looking at
    • Chisels (with mallet)
    • Power chisel
    • Jigsaw
    • Reciprocating saw
    • One of those minuscule Bosch "nano chainsaws"
    • Flex shaft with big ol' burr

    Chips are manageable but I'd prefer not to create too much fine dust (I have a mask and vacuum cleaner but I suspect it won't be happy running all day!). So something like a Foredom might not be right at this stage.

    Many thanks!
    Jof
    Last edited by Jof; 03-17-2019, 07:18 AM.

  • #2
    Welcome. Where are you?

    I've been running a table-top bandsaw for many years to rough out small carvings ( less than 24" )
    You could store it in a closet on the floor
    Mine is only clamped to the work bench, ShopVac for dust control.
    It doesn't run all day. 15-20 minutes.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      Welcome Jof, RV is right band saw or scroll saw isn’t very large depending on the size and model. To use chisels and mallet you’ll need a stable work area(kitchen table with plywood on top to take the abuse). I have a fordom but never use it, it’s very nosy with the power chisel bit. I don’t like to make a lot of dust either because I do painting in the other side of work shop. If you live near New Hampshire there’s an old bird carver selling his entire setup. Books, power carver, grinder, bits, wood. I’d love to have it just for the old books, but he built a cool dust collection work box. You can make your own. If you choose to there are plenty of members here that could give you some great advice. A74BA6D6-1A5D-47B2-A2DB-6CBC3930C44E.jpeg

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Vice View Post
        Welcome Jof, RV is right band saw or scroll saw isn’t very large depending on the size and model. To use chisels and mallet you’ll need a stable work area(kitchen table with plywood on top to take the abuse). I have a fordom but never use it, it’s very nosy with the power chisel bit. I don’t like to make a lot of dust either because I do painting in the other side of work shop. If you live near New Hampshire there’s an old bird carver selling his entire setup. Books, power carver, grinder, bits, wood. I’d love to have it just for the old books, but he built a cool dust collection work box that has fans in the back with a few filters and a dust bag. You can make your own. If you choose to there are plenty of members here that could give you some great advice. A74BA6D6-1A5D-47B2-A2DB-6CBC3930C44E.jpeg
        B19A2BC2-0274-4AC9-8285-4AA54102C9BF.jpeg

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
          Welcome. Where are you?
          I've been running a table-top bandsaw for many years to rough out small carvings ( less than 24" )
          Thanks for your reply, Robson. Much appreciated. I had a look at tabletop bandsaws but all the ones I found are quite tall (my space is currently very limited). What model is yours? Do you have a picture you can share?

          I'm in London, UK.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Vice View Post
            Welcome Jof, RV is right band saw or scroll saw isn’t very large depending on the size and model..... A74BA6D6-1A5D-47B2-A2DB-6CBC3930C44E.jpeg
            Thanks Vice. Sadly whilst I'm from *a* Hampshire it's the non-new kind; Hampshire, England. Although I live in London these days. Shame though as I love the sound of all that kit.

            The tables we have here are pretty study. In any case I've mostly been using palm tools so I suspect I'll not have to whack anything with a mallet especially hard.

            Interesting you mention the noise; that is something I'd definitely be concerned about. The sound isolation isn't bad between apartments here but I can definitely imagine some grumpy bands on the wall if I use it too late. I hadn't appreciated they were loud but that makes sense.

            What tools do you carve wood with if not the Foredom?

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            • #7
              The modern version of my Ryobi has a 17.75" x 11.5" footprint and stands 30" tall. Will cut about 8.5" away from an edge and (theory) 3.5" thick.
              It isn't a powerful saw and meant for light and hobby work. The blade has a strong tendency to wander. Very sensitive to blade dullness , I think.
              Brian T

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jof View Post

                Thanks Vice. Sadly whilst I'm from *a* Hampshire it's the non-new kind; Hampshire, England. Although I live in London these days. Shame though as I love the sound of all that kit.

                The tables we have here are pretty study. In any case I've mostly been using palm tools so I suspect I'll not have to whack anything with a mallet especially hard.

                Interesting you mention the noise; that is something I'd definitely be concerned about. The sound isolation isn't bad between apartments here but I can definitely imagine some grumpy bands on the wall if I use it too late. I hadn't appreciated they were loud but that makes sense.
                sclupshure
                What tools do you carve wood with if not the Foredom?
                You lived in Hampshire or an other town/city? My dad was born in Leeds I had lots of family over there in the UK, most have moved or passed away. I haven’t been over that side of the Atlantic in a while. My wife’s been trying to get me up to the isle of sky.

                Your in the land of carving tools, there was a open market in London that had lots of carving old tools. I know it’s far from you but if you ever get up there I think there were 3-4 open markets in around Leeds which as you know is just north where most of the good old tools were made in Sheffield. id like to go again just to get old chisels that I really don’t need

                i mostly use full size chisels, I have some palm carving tools but I don’t use them much, I also don’t use a mallet as much as I should. I have a very shallow concave bevel that is very sharp on most of my edges. I did a meter high sculpture that I removed a lot of material a month ago and I used a raw hide hammer. I think I’ll get a polycarbonate mallet for my next big mallet carving. Funny I got the fordom so I wouldn’t have to hit my tools but I didn’t like the vibration and nosies. I work around a large 4 cyclender Diesil generator all day so I didn’t want to have to hear more racket at home. I’ve been using PNW tools lately and I’m seeing some benefits over conventional European chisels and gouges, I’m trying to use them more but I have far more time and experience with my full size gouges


                Heres a picture of one of one of my extremely messy work areas, I travel a lot with some chisels, I keep them in boxes with a chunk of closed cell foam board in the bottom to keep them from bouncing around.
                Attached Files

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
                  The modern version of my Ryobi has a 17.75" x 11.5" footprint and stands 30" tall. Will cut about 8.5" away from an edge and (theory) 3.5" thick.
                  It isn't a powerful saw and meant for light and hobby work. The blade has a strong tendency to wander. Very sensitive to blade dullness , I think.
                  A spent bandsaw blad makes great knife steal

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've been running 1/4" blades right from the start. Odd size and not always easy to find. Too skinny for just about any knife blade.

                    Cariboo Blades in BC is using band saw blade material but that stuff is off a sawmill gang saw.
                    A gang saw calculates the yield and then saws up the whole log in one single pass. Buzzzzzzzz and you're done!

                    http://www.caribooblades.com/


                    Brian T

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Vice View Post

                      i mostly use full size chisels, I have some palm carving tools but I don’t use them much.
                      I lived in Hampshire when I was young. Since then all over world. Settled in London.

                      I have to say, I'm getting more and more tempted by the Pfeil-type chisels/gouges. There's something hugely satisfying about cutting with chisels; it's something I've loved since I was a little kid when learning carpentry with my dad. I think chisels is the way I'll go. When I was a pre-teen I made a little box out of ash that I still use today. As a bonus I just did a few hours using mostly Flexcut gouges and definitely found that a lot easier on my hands than knives.

                      You have quite a collection there! That must have cost a fortune over the years!

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                      • #12
                        I live in an apartment
                        Honestly I lived in an apartment when I was younger, which meant neighbors wall next door. Which means noise regulations.....unless your walls are cement....neighbor complaints may be a top issue. I remember taking the broom and hitting the ceiling because of the loud music above me. I do not see how any power tools are ok.....but maybe dremel? A bandsaw makes noise...flex shaft major dust, jig saw noise and dust and sawdust..... Honestly, you need someone with a workshop could help you out on occasion?? If I were you I buy rough outs and learn to carve details....with knives and chisels.....could save you from getting kicked out of your apartment..... until you find a place where you can do power work.
                        I live in a house have an outdoor workshop and I still worry about neighbor complaints ...as we do have a few woman that give people major issues......and I live in the country. I have every kind of power tool...but I use them with wind direction in mind and power tool toleration means bankers hours.
                        Last edited by Dileon; 03-17-2019, 05:28 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Since you live in Hampshire, look around for local carving or wood-turning clubs. Many of the clubs have tools to use at club meetings, or one of the members might help you out if you visit his shop. Just about any power tool is going to be too noisy for an apartment. Dileon's suggestion of rough outs is a good one, but I'm not sure of rough out availability in the UK. Dremel is probably the least noisy, but extremely dusty. Depending on the size of your intended carvings, you may not need any tools other than knives and a few gouges.

                          Here's a source of wood in the UK: https://www.greatart.co.uk/limewood-for-carving.html (lime is a relative of American basswood, but slightly harder...) Also, check your private messages (upper right corner of the screen)

                          Claude
                          My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/

                          My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

                          My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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                          • #14
                            When temporarily I lived in an apartment I found a storage unit that had electrical outlets, I moved all of my tools into it and had my shop there.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jof View Post

                              I lived in Hampshire when I was young. Since then all over world. Settled in London.

                              I have to say, I'm getting more and more tempted by the Pfeil-type chisels/gouges. There's something hugely satisfying about cutting with chisels; it's something I've loved since I was a little kid when learning carpentry with my dad. I think chisels is the way I'll go. When I was a pre-teen I made a little box out of ash that I still use today. As a bonus I just did a few hours using mostly Flexcut gouges and definitely found that a lot easier on my hands than knives.

                              You have quite a collection there! That must have cost a fortune over the years!
                              Pfeil chisels are great! They are hard to beat, that’s probably the brand I have the most besides my vintage Addis chisels, which if I was you and you can sharpen/restore old tools I’d search flee markets, yard sales, and local CL. If I was going to start again and buy new if I had no tools I would buy Auriou fishtails. They are a little harder to find and have limited selection on this side of the pond but are more responsiblely price that pfeil and are beautifully made. I’ve gotten some that needed a little honing to get them signing like my other gouges but others were good to go. I like there handle shapes better, but they do come with a thick finish that I’m not crazy about. Both are personal but finish on my chisels handles make my hands sweet. I’m not sure what the hardness of Aurious steal but it seems softer then swiss or some of the German makers which I like. I would just buy what ever you can get a good deal on some just need a little more work to get carving well. It’s nice to have mostly the same brand to know they have similar sweeps but I have a big mismatch of who knows how many brands some have no makers mark and work great. I need to start simplifying and thinning out my chisels, I’ve started collectioning over 30 years ago so I’ve accumulated tools I really don’t use very much. Let us know what you find

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