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favorite burs


cneber

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Hi all;

 

although i've been a beginning carver for awhile, i'm just now attempting to advance my skills. as for my power carving, i keep asking myself what would be a good bur to for a specific type of carving task. for example, for piercing on thin turnings, using a 1/16" Straight Crosscut bur helps reduce burning; for removing a lot of material, using 3/32" dental lab burs appears works well on the highest speed of the Foredom flexshaft however, i'm getting a lot of damage to my hand. perhaps it's the vibrations or the large handpiece in relation to the size of my hand.

 

therefore, i was wondering what burs others commonly use for the roughing, as well as detail work.

 

thanks for any replies.

 

caroline

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Welcome Caroline

 

I no longer use a flex shaft, having moved on to using the NSK Elector micro-grinder. The motor is in the handle, and that is attached by a coiled electric cord to the base unit that controls the speed settings. This arrangement is much better for hand and arm fatigue when roughing in work for hours. There are discussions on this and other power tool options. Try using the SEARCH function to see if you can connect with some of the information.

 

Janel

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Welcome Caroline

 

I no longer use a flex shaft, having moved on to using the NSK Elector micro-grinder. The motor is in the handle, and that is attached by a coiled electric cord to the base unit that controls the speed settings. This arrangement is much better for hand and arm fatigue when roughing in work for hours. There are discussions on this and other power tool options. Try using the SEARCH function to see if you can connect with some of the information.

 

Janel

 

Hi Janel -

thanks for your reply and suggestion on searching the forum. however, when i use the word 'nsk' in ANY search, the search application gives me an error: nsk grinder, nsk micro, nsk foredom.

 

manually navigating through the last few years, i see you've been using your micro-grinder but don't see much discussion on burs. do you have favorite burs you use for different tasks? also, do you have a choice of collet size and what do you prefer?

 

although i use my little NSK air handpiece for piercing and detail work, it doesn't have the torque needed for roughing. NOW i'm saving my pennies and working toward one of the NSK electric model; wish i could find some dentist selling off used equipment!

 

love your work, and especially enjoyed the video of your manual tool use -- very informative. plus i never thought to use the 3M poster sticky stuff but it works GREAT!!!

thanks for all the info on the forum -- it's very helpful to a beginner.

 

ps - here's a rough out i'm working on -- i'd like to smooth out the petals a bit more and don't know what to use to do so.

 

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Hello Caroline,

 

Welcome to The Carving Path.

 

From your example of filigree work on a thin turning I assume that you are doing small and tight work which requires small burrs. However, a carvers favorite burr is the one that works well on the current project. In other words, a carver becomes a tool collector.

 

I would suggest that in addition to dental burrs you explore burrs on jeweler supply websites or in their catalogs. One supplier that I and other TCP carvers use is Rio Grande ( www.riogrande.com). They have a variety of shapes and sizes of burrs. Two shapes that I have purchased from Rio Grande are the inverted cone and the ball. I like the small inverted cone for under cutting. I have a complete set of graduated diameters of ball burrs that I use from time to time.

 

I use aggressive burrs to rough out a project. I have four Kutzall burrs ( www.kutzalltools.com). These are 1/8 inch burrs and I like the flame and the cylinder. Foredom (www.foredom.com ) has a similar line of burrs called Typhoon. I also have a set of Dura Grit disks ( www.duragrit.com ) that I use like a miniature circular saw.

 

There is a nice summary article in the Fall 2009 issue (issue 48) of Woodcarving Illustrated. It summarizes burrs of different shapes and materials. I doubt that it is still on the news stands; however, you can back order it on their website (www.woodcarvingillustrated.com)

 

Again welcome to The Carving Path. Make it a habit to explore it regularly as it is full of beautiful art and useful knowledge.

 

Have fun carving,

 

E George

 

P.S. Just type in Foredom in Search and you will get postings on micro motor tools. Nice carving. Your second post appeared after I finished my post.

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Hi Caroline,

 

A while back I started a pinned topic in Tools & Technical for links and references to be added, as a way to compile a resource for such questions as yours and powered hand tools. http://www.thecarvingpath.net/forum/index....ost&p=12696

 

Also, here is the info for the fellow I ordered my NSK from. He had a selection of burrs as I recall.

 

NSK Dealer

Jaymes Company Inc

234 Cartland Way

Forest Hill, MD 21050

410-638-5850

 

Toll free in US 888-638-8998

Web: http://www.jaymescompany.com

E-mail: ? I don't have it. I believe he works with the phone only.

 

 

E George is right about the favorite tool of the moment. I do go through a progression of burrs when roughing with the power tool. Finish work is always done with hand tools, so I will not be of help with your desire to work further with the petals. My burrs are not for finish work.

 

FYI: The SEARCH function will not process three letter keywords. There are more options for searches, for the current forum you are in or all forum areas, and optional more defined searches. Follow the options when beginning to use SEARCH.

 

Good luck with finding the burrs that you seek.

 

Janel

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Thanks E George and Janel for our very informative replies -- i gratefully appreciate your time in replying and I'll be further exploring that information.

 

Janel -- from your video I see you using sandpaper on the toothpick for some finishing; what other tools/techiniques do you use?

 

thanks again

c

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Hi Caroline,

 

If you check in the "Useful Links" thread in the "Getting Started and Resources" there is a link to my website where you can download a free eBook about carving netsuke. In the book I have a fairly extensive discussion about burrs and power carving accessories that may answer some of your questions.

 

For all of the new carvers, the "Getting Started and Resources" section has a ton of information and tool/wood/ivory sources. Most of your general questions can be answered by browsing this section of the forum.

 

Lots of carving luck!

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Thanks Tom for pointing out that section of the forum and your PDF. I apologize for not making a reference to both of them earlier.

 

Greg, goodness, I cannot share all of the tools and techniques in my head and hands very easily! The tools/techniques grow as you grow. I am more able to answer specific questions than starting out describing everything that has become second nature when I pick up a carving and have tools at hand. You will begin to feel your way, meanwhile, asking specific questions will result in more focused responses.

 

The toothpick sanders tip came from Cornel Schneider, quite a useful and clever system, though time consuming when it is time to resupply the most used grits. For other sanding methods I have on hand bamboo skewers, other pieces of bamboo (the outer most part) as thin or 1/3 inch wide supports for small pieces of sanding papers cut to small ~ 3/4" to 1" that can be folded, rolled or wrapped around those slender supports. I also have on hand double side tape, double side foam tape, popsicle sticks and tongue depressors for making other shapes of sanding tools. Useful sanding tools can be found in the fingernail file/sanders in various sorts of stores that carry fingernail "beauty aids". The sanding paper, wet/dry sorts in numerous grades from 50 grit to 2000 can be found in hardware stores and autobody repair supplies.

 

Do invest some time looking back in the years of posts on the forum. Members have shared their tips for years with words and photographs. We maintain the whole archive of posts as a reference resource. It is a substantial pool of knowledge.

 

Janel

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The machine part - I have to admit that I use the (very uncool) Dremel. Well, I got used to it, I can't really justify the manyfold expense of a more advanced tool because carving is not a too large part of my work (it's still big, though), and most importantly, it works well. I never use flexishaft, though. Tried it a few years ago, and after about 5 minutes (I'm not exaggerating) my wrist was about to cramp, so I dropped it. Otherwise sometimes I use (two) Dremels continuously for as much as 6-7 hours non-stop. The reason for two of them is simply that I use a whole bunch of burrs, and Dremel burrs come in two shaft diameters, so to save time that would be taken up by changing the collet back and forth I simply have two of them on hand. Since I worked with Dremels for maybe 15 years or so, I find them very comfortable. I have to admit that I do have rather large hands, though.

The sanding part - Here is a tip. Make a bamboo sliver shaped to whatever file shape you want. (I use chopsticks). Then stick onto it a strip of double-sided Scotch tape. Now peel off the other side, and stick the whole thing onto a sandpaper of the correct grade. Cut around the bamboo, using a disposable blade (the sort that comes with pre-pressed breaking lines.) Hey presto! - you have a file shaped to your requirements, size, grade, etc. I use a lot of this kind of files shaping windways of woodwind instruments. If I had files made by an engineering workshop, I'd be spending thousands of dollars (no kidding, I checked), and the files would only lats so long. This way it costs me about 1 cent per file (rough estimate), and I can make them as I need them in about 20 seconds. (once the bamboo sliver is shaped, that is. The shaping might take a minute or so).

If anyone has difficulty understanding the description, I can do a photo essay. (By popular demand)

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As someone very smart here said ¨a carver becomes a tool collector¨, and that´s true. Sometimes the beginner started with luck and many tools and options came into his workshop (I´m not talking here about a wealthy person please), sometimes the beginner follow his master way to use only certain tools, sometimes the beginner can´t obtain the best or propper tools and must invent new ones for the purposes he or she needs, sometimes the beginner started with some tools and it´s very difficult that change that tools even for a better ones (relation carver-tool since the begining), and finally sometimes after many working years a carver can watch t his workshop full of propper tools ¨collected¨ but still only use few ones. Many wood carvers in Cuba only start with very few chisels, the chisels they could find or buy (mostly very bad brands of chisels), and until today a Dremel is a luxury for many of them, so on my own experience as cuban born the tools that became useful to my first workshop were the tool I could buy or receive as a gift, a very hard starting point. So a Dremel became into my hands the best rotary tool and it´s funny because even today with not so much but at least Foredom and other brands in front of my face I preffer my funny Dremel brand. As Yuri I I never use flexishaft!!! and I´m deep involve with the use of Dremel. The years gave strength to my wrist (of course it´s not the same carve a mother of pearl or a precious hard wood than a semiprecious hard stone; obviously the hard stone after five hours of miniature carving will be a painful task). In the case of burs another problem the miniature carvers I guess must have it´s that we felt comfortable with some burs and many times we don´t use the other burs set that can be so comfortable too...I think great masters in miniture maybe could use more burs in the set but I´m thinking that this may not happen...it could be good to ask about this to Tom Sterling, Natasha, Janel Jacobson and others from this Forum. Cameos in miniature on relatively soft and hard seashells are very easy to make with a Dremel without flexible shaft and very few diamond and iron burs, very few believe me, and at the end If you want to give a pro touch you use like two jewqeller chisels to work over few lines into the relief...yes some today´s masters in cameos use the 70% of his timework jeweller chisels, but they use to start rotary tools with diamond burs anyway...and when you polish a non commercial piece of cameo in seashells for example it lcan ooks very likely to the cameos made by chisels in a major percentage, so I think at least in seashell cameos there are many ways to obtain the same results related to the tools and burs used. Traditional tools are still used by miniature carvers of many parts of the planet, but modern tools come to help some old techniques and increase sometimes the accuracy of the carver that in older times must spent years to dominate a technique. I just mean that every tool and bur can be useful in the hands of a carver that knows the use of it, and favourite burs are maybe different to everyone of us. Anyhow Is the same perhaps with materials, but in that case the problem it´s directly related were where do you live, the wealthy you can be or the luck you had. To me for example the harder, dense and straight grained wood is better for work than a softer wood, but other carvers prefered softer wood and create amazing pieces (like the polychrome carved fishes),...so in this diverse world the miniature carvers are also very diverse...to answer anyway the main question of this post I must said that one of my prefered burs are that kind of flat one on the top (heads: squeare, cone inverted, cylindric), because alow me to do everything I need in the miniature (in the case of seashells and certain semiprecious stones). I hope my english could be understandable for you guys...sorry if you misunderstood something on my ideas. Good luck to everyone on this place and let me see If I can download some images (the pieces are made without the use of clasical jewelry chisels on the very hard Cassis madagascariensis seashell)...Sincerely yours,...ADRIÁN...well the images are down to the 72 KB and maybe my conecction is too slow...sorry. :rolleyes:

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The machine part - I have to admit that I use the (very uncool) Dremel. Well, I got used to it, I can't really justify the manyfold expense of a more advanced tool because carving is not a too large part of my work (it's still big, though), and most importantly, it works well. I never use flexishaft, though. Tried it a few years ago, and after about 5 minutes (I'm not exaggerating) my wrist was about to cramp, so I dropped it. Otherwise sometimes I use (two) Dremels continuously for as much as 6-7 hours non-stop. The reason for two of them is simply that I use a whole bunch of burrs, and Dremel burrs come in two shaft diameters, so to save time that would be taken up by changing the collet back and forth I simply have two of them on hand. Since I worked with Dremels for maybe 15 years or so, I find them very comfortable. I have to admit that I do have rather large hands, though.

The sanding part - Here is a tip. Make a bamboo sliver shaped to whatever file shape you want. (I use chopsticks). Then stick onto it a strip of double-sided Scotch tape. Now peel off the other side, and stick the whole thing onto a sandpaper of the correct grade. Cut around the bamboo, using a disposable blade (the sort that comes with pre-pressed breaking lines.) Hey presto! - you have a file shaped to your requirements, size, grade, etc. I use a lot of this kind of files shaping windways of woodwind instruments. If I had files made by an engineering workshop, I'd be spending thousands of dollars (no kidding, I checked), and the files would only lats so long. This way it costs me about 1 cent per file (rough estimate), and I can make them as I need them in about 20 seconds. (once the bamboo sliver is shaped, that is. The shaping might take a minute or so).

If anyone has difficulty understanding the description, I can do a photo essay. (By popular demand)

 

thanks, yuri -- i'm working on my sanding chopsticks right now!

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hi janel!

 

didn't get a hold of your guy, but after selling a couple things I just ordered the NSK -- pain is such a wonderful modivator to finding solutions, and hopefully the swelling in my hands will resolve by the time the carver arrives.

 

thanks for your and everyone's info -- really helps

 

update: yesterday the NSK micro motor arrived and 'WOW' -- what a difference! it's a miracle of good engineering: more powerful then the Foredom flexshaft, no noise, very little handpiece vibration so no fatigue and pain after using the handpiece all day!

 

so worth the money!

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