In many cases, people want to carve for a living or to make money on the side. In the time it takes to use a regular wood carving knife, you could have completed five projects with a power tool used for carving. It often takes less time and effort, too.
However, as with hand carving tools, you have to know how to use the equipment and make a choice about the right Dremel for wood carving that fits your situation. There are many options for carving, so it can be helpful to read our guide on Dremel tools. That way, you get the items you need and can take your time when carving your projects.
The choice to carve is yours, but now you need a high-quality tool, and the Dremel is the best choice for power. You can think outside the box when creating and engraving, but you need a Dremel or rotary tool for the big stuff.
Best Dremel Tool Options
When you’re deciding on which Dremel drill you want, make sure that you focus on all aspects. It’s important to start with all the information you require. That way, when you go to carve with wood, you have the best Dremel tool available to help you.
With a variety of wood carving tool options on the market, there are some things to consider. You want to work with a Dremel that has the speed and power you want. If you plan to do engraving, the right accessories are essential.
Below, we talk about the top six Dremel options on the market. Each tool is designed for wood. Check them out below:
Dremel 3000 – Best for Beginners
Working with wood can be therapeutic and enjoyable, but only when you have the right tool. We feel that the Dremel 3000 has the right combination of handling, power, comfort, and cost. This Dremel drill is going to make it easier for you to create your design and carve whatever you want. In fact, it could be the best Dremel out there for wood carving.
You’re going to find that the standard bits that come with this tool are suitable for beginners. Plus, as you progress with wood carving, you can try different bits, which are even more effective on wood. With the rubber grip and ergonomic design, it’s comfortable to hold and lightweight to carve with.
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It’s much different than other Dremel tools in its price range, and the Dremel 300 delivers a smooth range of power and speed for anything. With its smaller size, it’s flexible enough for detail work and doesn’t have disruptive motor vibrations. However, it’s powerful enough to get through any wood type or material.
We like that the Dremel 3000 offers a 1.2-amp motor reaching up to 32,000 RMPs. It tends to reach the middle ground and doesn’t beat around the bush because it maintains precision at its preset speeds. Often, it’s harder to do that when you have higher amps because of the vibrations from the tool. Accuracy and power are what you need here, and you get it with this Dremel.
Ultimately, the Dremel 3000 is thinner, lighter, and smaller than some of the others, but that’s favorable because it’s easier to work with wood for longer periods. Plus, the smallness of the Dremel means that it’s beneficial for creating detail in the wood.
You’re going to find many great attachments are available with this Dremel. Though it doesn’t offer the diamond disc, which is important for wood, you can buy it separately when you get to that point. In fact, it comes with more accessories than other brands, making it ideal for working with wood.
Dremel 4300 5/40 – Best Overall
If you’re big into doing DIY projects, you need the right tool for the job, and the Dremel 4300 delivers right out of the box. Wood carving is an art, and this tool is the big brother of the previous model we talked about. Those who want more power and speed are sure to like this product. It is great to use for bigger wood projects. Speed is essential here, and with this one, you can use it for more than wood. When the material is harder, the speed has to be there to make it run well. In fact, you can use it on harder wood materials without a problem.
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The 4300 model has a top speed of 35,000 RPMs, which is a bit more than the 3000 version. However, that also means it has a larger motor design.
As you start to carve, you’re going to find that it’s less comfortable to work with for long periods. Still, with more power, you might cut through the wood faster. Those who always work with harder wood items should consider spending a bit more and getting this tool.
The performance you receive is tip-top. You can actually feel the force being used, but there’s not much more vibration. Plus, there are many attachments you get right from the gate. On top of that, it still has the control you need for accuracy.
You’re sure to appreciate the many attachments. Consider getting the flex shaft attachment if you want to use it for fine detailing wood. Regardless, though, this is a practical and comfortable tool to use with all types of wood.
WEN 2305 Dremel with Flex Shaft – Best Budget
Here are a few tips to consider when buying a rotary tool: You don’t have to spend a ton, and you can always purchase more attachments.
The WEN 2305 is a great inexpensive Dremel for occasional use. It also works well if you’re not sure what you need or if wood carving is in your future. Though it’s not the best for carving wood on the market, it’s going to start you off right as you learn to carve.
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It has a variable-speed 1-amp motor, so it’s adequate and isn’t going to struggle to cut through wood or metal. Plus, this kit has 100 pieces of accessories, which include sanding discs, bits, diamond polishing pads, and much more. Most pricier models don’t have half of those attachments. Since it isn’t going to be the all-time best out there, be prepared to use it for a while and then upgrade to a better model.
If you’re curious and want to work with wood or are a beginner, this is the tool to get. You can see if you like power tools for carving wood, and the WEN 2305 is a low-priced option and does work well. That way, you’re not investing in something you’re not sure you’re going to use. Remember, some people prefer to carve wood by hand, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
We do feel that you may have to sacrifice a few minor comforts, and precision isn’t going to be the name of the game. However, it’s a steal!
The WEN 2305 isn’t the most accurate on the market, and it does feature disruptive vibrations. Therefore, you may not keep a steady hand while doing detail work. With that, though, it does come with a flex shaft attachment, so we still think it’s worth it. In a sense, the 3.5-foot flex shaft is an extension of the tool and adds more flexibility and precision to the mix. Without it, those things are all but impossible.
Though the flex shaft gets you finished with your wood project and offers precision, it could overheat. Therefore, you may need to take a break more often. Here’s a tip: when working with wood, you should take frequent pauses to give your back a break to stretch, so this shouldn’t be a huge deal.
Other Worthy Dremel Contenders
If you’re looking around for other Dremel tool options, we completely understand. In fact, we went from the cream of the crop to the lowest price for a reason. Those who are more advanced and want a bit more than the WEN but can’t afford a name-brand have other options. The power tools listed below in our guide are still good for carving wood, but we didn’t feel that they were the “best.” Here are some of the other Dremel tools we liked:
Proxxon IBS-E Dremel
The Proxxon brand is easy to work with and can handle many DIY projects. When you open the box, you’re going to get excited to see all the things included. However, this is a specialty tool that’s used when you want to carve smaller projects with a more detailed design, such as engraving and etching.
It only has a 1/8-horsepower motor, so this carving tool isn’t going to have vibration problems. Plus, it offers varying speeds of up to 20,000 RPM. Though the tool works great for what it does, the price is a bit can put you off a bit since it doesn’t handle large carving tasks. Still, if you want to stick with the smaller things, this could be a nice option for you.
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Black+Decker RTX Dremel
The Black+Decker RTX is another low-price option and is a 3-speed design. It offers a 2-amp high-torque motor, so it’s going to be consistent at all speed settings. That means you can carve for extended periods because the rubber grip is easy to hold. Plus, it does offer precision, though the vibration could be excessive if you’re not using the flex shaft attachment.
We feel that the RTX is suitable for carving, and the Dremel uses a universal system to make it compatible with any bits you may have. However, the one caveat here is that no bits are included with your purchase. That means you have to have some lying around or buy them before carving anything. Still, it’s a great buy for those who already have most of what they need and just require a new power tool.
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Foredom 5400 TX Dremel
If you are already familiar with power Dremel carving and using rotary tools, then you may have heard of the Foredom 5400. We feel that it is more complicated to use when carving, but it is highly effective. In fact, you can carve just about any design once you get the hang of using it.
This Dremel tool doesn’t have a speed rotation controlled with a knob. This interesting feature means that you use a foot pedal to operate it when you carve. That’s quite handy because you can hold the wood with both hands and makes like easy.
This tool can reach 15,000 RPM, so it’s a decent option. Plus, there’s a 39-inch flexible shaft, which is attached to the handpiece. That means it does work for precision needs. This carving kit also comes with three collets to get you started.
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Using a Rotary Tool
Before you start to carve, it is important to get the information you require for using the rotary tool. There are various things that you can do, and they are all fun. However, you must make sure that you find a tutorial online or watch a guide video when the need arises. On top of that, carving is a craft, so you have to perfect it with your Dremel.
The cutting phase is the first stage of your project. It’s what you do to narrow the size of your wooden block. You should have an idea for a design before you start to carve. It’s possible to use a power tool with a high speed to get through the wood easily, but some people choose to carve by hand. Regardless, you need the right accessories for your Dremel and should be aware of the dust that comes out.
With a variety of accessories that come with the Dremel, you should be able to find one that fits your needs.
The wooden block or box is now cut into the design that you want. This isn’t the time to focus on polishing. Instead, you are roughing out the overall design in what you carved earlier. While cutting is a huge deal, roughing is where you take out large portions of the wood to ensure that it gets to its general shape.
Cutting primarily refers to you cutting the wood down to size for the craft you plan to make.
It’s a good idea to choose aggressive work carving accessories here because they attach directly to the rotary tool or Dremel. Called a burr bit, it features rougher edges and ridges. You can find them in many shapes (cone, cylinder, and sphere). It makes it so easy to use with any wood.
When you carve, you may want to try different bits to get the shape you want.
As you carve, you are now going to focus on shaping. You must use various bits to add more detail to your wood carving project. However, the bit size is what determines its purpose. A small bit is going to be less aggressive and can offer better precision.
This is especially helpful if you want to carve an intricate design. Typically, the accessories are small. Make sure that you know what design you’re using and choose the right cutting tools. Whether you use the diamond bit or something else, you want it to look good when you’re done.
The first thing to do is focus on the design. From there, you should familiarize yourself with the different rotary tool bits and accessories that came with your Dremel.
Sometimes, sanding is called polishing. This is the last process for your wood carving project. If you choose to add a finish, you’re going to do that after the sanding process.
Some people choose to do the sanding and polishing by hand, but this can get quite tedious. Most rotary tools have many attachments to help you complete your design.
We feel that the best tool to buy is a Dremel because it is designed for wood carving and has a sanding attachment. Since the carving tools come with everything you need, it’s easy to get going with your craft.
The first thing you need to realize is that you’ve already completed your design. Now, you use the rotary tool to fine-tune it. Sanding and polishing are essential to get rid of the rough spots in the wood. You may want to have a way to remove the dust because there is going to be plenty of it. Use a ventilation system or a vacuum while you work.
Regardless of the sanding methods you choose, power wood carving tools are similar to handheld carving tools. However, you don’t have a ton of knives. The rotary tool or Dremel uses burr bits. Typically, the best wood carving bit has different shapes for various purposes. You can watch a tutorial video online to learn about what each bit type is for.
You have already carved out the piece, shaped it the way you want it, and are now sanding or polishing it to make it look finished. This can be fun, and it is part of the process. The wood you carve is going to look beautiful and amazing, but you’ve got to consider the right bit and tools. A Dremel is the clear choice here.
Dremel Wood Carving Bits
The first thing you should do when you start to use rotary tools is to learn about the bits and other accessories. Some are used for engraving, and others are used to create a beautiful design in the wood.
There isn’t a perfect set that can have everything, and you can find so many that you may spend more on the accessories and bit options than the Dremel tool itself.
Ultimately, we feel that the best Dremel bit for wood carving is any that focuses on durability and stability. All rotary tools are capable of shredding wood materials, but they can do more, too. However, we are going to talk primarily about the wood carving bits and which ones you should choose when you carve.
You can find a variety of bit shapes out there and are probably going to use them all at some point. However, we aren’t going to say that there is a standard set around because there are specialty bits for Dremel tools.
It really depends on what you are carving, the speed you need it to go, and what you are doing. Most tools can help with engraving, and these power tools work at a high speed. Here are the top bit shapes you are bound to encounter when carving with a Dremel:
Cylinder and Tapered Shapes
Cylinder and tapered Dremel bits often work best for heavy wood shaping. Each one is a basic bit and works well for wood carving and creating a design. You can usually find 1/2 and 3/4-inch diameters with a 1/4-inch shaft. We feel that a steel or carbide bit is best because they offer a smooth finish on whatever you carve. In fact, they work just as well as if you use a gouge tool, but rotary power tools get the job done quicker.
Pointed and Tapered Shapes
You can also find pointed and tapered bits, and they can be fat or skinny. These are great for detail work on your design. Typically, you are going to see that they’re best with diamond and ruby bits. They often work at a high speed in your Dremel and make fast work of wood carving.
On top of that, you also have a sanding bit accessory. They usually have a 220-grit and are suitable for when you’re going at full power when sanding. However, don’t use a sanding bit if you’re roughing and then finishing with a gouge. Sanding can leave more embedded grit into the wood you carve, which is going to dull the gouge. This isn’t a problem if you sharpen your tools, but most beginners don’t know how. Carving with dull tools is not fun and can be quite dangerous. Browse around at the various accessories that come with your Dremel. Seek out others to use with your current tools as you progress in the craft.
One thing to note here is that the speed of your rotary Dremel tools is going to have a huge impact on how well the bit works. With that said, sanding bits should always be run at the slower speed.
Try to find a video with tips on how to use the different accessories that come with your Dremel. Make sure that a diamond bit is available because they are excellent and are used quite often.
Consider Safety When Dremel Carving
Before working with wood and using your power carving tools, you must focus on safety. Your project shouldn’t hurt you, and many new people carve without wearing protective gear. There is plenty of dust and wood debris flying around when carving, so make sure that you have PPE with you before you start your wood carving project.
Make sure that you wear a mask. There is going to be much dust shaved off, even when using a small Dremel tool for wood carving. It’s small enough that you can breathe it in and cause severe damage to your lungs.
Have all of the accessories nearby but far enough away that you can reach them without knocking them off. A Dremel runs at high speed and has plenty of power. Therefore, you want to hold it firmly in one hand and work the wood with the other. These tips are going to help you do your task well and be safe while you do it. Consider watching a video or two to see how other professional Dremel users hold their rotary tools while working.
Dremel Wood Carving Ideas
Many DIY projects start with having an idea in mind. You can find tons of information online about things that you can carve. The first thing to do is figure out what wood you want to use for your wood carving.
Rotary tools like the Dremel are going to speed up your wood carving process quickly. However, if you don’t know how to take on your project or have no inspiration, it’s much harder.
There are many ways to use your Dremel tool. Check out “CarvingandSuch” or “Carving Fusion” on YouTube to get ideas about how to use your new tool.
We hope that this guide has helped you understand the many wood carving tools out there. You’ve read it now and are probably ready to start your carving project. With this information, you can try various rotary tools and choose the one that is easy for you to use.
As you learn to carve, you may want to start with one of the low-end or budget options. Then, you can upgrade to a more powerful tool as you become better. Wood carving is an excellent way to make handmade gifts for your family or to make a few extra dollars. Those who want the best should consider the Dremel 3000 or 4300. If you’re on a tight budget, the WEN model is also suitable.
- The Complete Guide to Wood Carving
- Best Dremel Wood Carving Bits
- Best Wood Carving Disc