Tools for Removing Wood Quickly

News / Videos

Tools for Removing Wood Quickly

We test-drive the hardiest “toys” on the market
By Bob Duncan


While some carvers resort to a chainsaw to remove excess wood quickly, other options exist for carvers who are hesitant to handle one.

Automach CH-80

This large reciprocating carver is not just for fans of edged tools. With the ability to use huge gouges that are hit up to 12,000 times per minute, this tool tears through wood at an astonishing rate.

While it comes with the enormous deep gouge (2-5/32″ or 55mm wide), you can also purchase a bent flat chisel (2″ or 50mm wide), straight flat chisel (2″ or 50mm wide), a V-tool (1-9/16″ or 40mm wide), or a shallow gouge (1 3/4″ or 45mm wide).

A starter kit containing the CH-80 and the large deep gouge is available for $499.99 from Woodcraft ( The other edged add-ons are available for $54.99 each.

Angle Grinder Attachments

The high torque and power of a handheld angle grinder are perfect for a large rotary disc. While these discs can range from intimidating chainsaw-tooth studded discs to small contour sanders, there’s no denying that they are useful.

For beginners, I suggest carbide-point discs. They are easy to control and don’t require as much safety equipment as I’d suggest for their chainsaw-based siblings.

Like standard carbide-point bits, these tools come in different grits and point configurations. I’m partial to the “Holy Galahad” by King Arthur Tools or the similar discs by SaburrTooth. Strategic holes placed in these discs allow you to see through the spinning disc and remove wood quickly. If those discs don’t remove the wood fast enough, look for Kutzall Extreme discs. These tools really move wood. Prices vary, but are available from King Arthur (, SaburrTooth (, and Kutzall (



Foredom Mini-Angle Grinder Attachment

If a full-size angle grinder doesn’t fit into the area you’re carving, look for Foredom’s mini-angle grinder attachment. This tool connects to a flexible-shaft handpiece and uses smaller diameter discs to carve, sand, and grind. I’ve used this with Foredom’s Typhoon discs, and those made by SaburrTooth; they remove wood quickly for their size. Prices for the attachment start at $120 from Foredom (



Carbide Sleeves and Cups with a Flexible Shaft

If you’re limited to a flexible shaft tool, carbide-point sleeves and cups will remove wood much faster than standard carbide-point bits. The sleeves work well on relatively flat surfaces, but the cups work better for hollows and recesses. Typhoon and SaburrTooth sell the sleeves (which fit on a standard rubber sanding drum mandrel) in a variety of grits, but SaburrTooth makes the only carbide cups on the market (which also come in a variety of grits). Prices vary, but the tools are available from Foredom ( and SaburrTooth (

Plano OrbiCut

All you need to use Plano’s OrbiCut is an electric drill or a drill press. These clever ball-shaped cutters are designed for use on a slower-speed drill, but they still remove wood quickly. I suggest these tools more for carvers who use edged tools but occasionally need to hollow something out. They can be hard to control if used for regular carving. For a complete review of the Orbicut, see The Orbicut is available for $70 for the 3/4″ (or 20mm)-diameter size and $90 for the 1 9/16″ (40mm) diameter size from Advanced Machinery (


Want more power carving?

Check out the Power Carving Manual, Updated and Expanded Second Edition

Step-by-step projects and expert advice from today’s top power carvers will take your carving to the next level with the speed and control of power tools.

Available for $19.99 plus S&H from Fox Chapel Publishing, 1970 Broad St., East Petersburg, PA 17520, 800-457-9112,



• For more articles like this, subscribe to Woodcarving Illustrated magazine. Click here for more information.
• Plus! Get digital mini magazines in your e-mail between printed issues. Click here to subscribe to StropTalk, our e-mail newsletter.

Comments are closed.