My Power Carving Process

“Power carving” means using electrically powered tools to do the work that your muscles and a carving knife or gauge and mallet would do. Using powered tools to remove wood makes the process quicker and requires less effort than using traditional non-powered tools.

In this video here you can watch me explain my power carving process, as well as see the various power tools I use to create my stylized bird carvings.

Power Carving Tools

Power carving tools are either rotary or reciprocating. The motor that powers rotary tools can be held in the carver’s hand or can hang nearby, with a flexible shaft leading to a “hand-piece” that is held in the carver’s hand. Most flexible shaft carving tools have a foot pedal to tum on and control the speed of the motor.

The rotating part that touches the wood is called a “burr.” Burrs can use either an abrasive or grinding action or can use a cutting action. Many different kinds and sizes of burrs are available.

Reciprocating carving tools are sometimes called “power gauges.” An electric motor imparts an in-and-out motion to a gauge-like or chisel-like blade. When the blade is pressed against the wood, it cuts almost effortlessly. The blade is connected directly to the motor in some reciprocating carving tools. Alternatively, a reciprocating hand piece can be attached to the flexible shaft of a rotary carving tool.

Why I Like Power Carving

For me, the beauty of power carving is that progress is easy to see, because it is quick. I feel I can be more creative when I am making good progress. I prefer carving pieces that I can hold on my lap with one hand. That way, I am able to orient the carving with my left hand while I hold the tool in my right hand. I do not have to stop the tool and put it down to continue work on a different part of the carving. Stopping and starting the tool would reduce the rate of progress.

My Power Carving Gallery

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a photograph of gary carver of carverscarvings standing in his aviary holding his pet cockatoo named punky


Gary P. Carver, Ph.D. is the talented artist and master craftsman behind the unique stylized bird carvings found here at CarversCarvings.

Gary is also a long-time member, and Director Emeritus of The American Chestnut Foundation.

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