This is the sculpture I was working on in the video (in the post below). Using the Arbotech Mini-carver, I roughed out the shape in old oak that had been eaten by boring worms creating holes, tunnels and trenches. I think the worm-wood adds an interesting texture to the sculpture but because the wood was so bad this was really a practice ‘sketch in wood’. Meaning I just made it up as I went. As a result, I decided to keep the texture created by the mini-grinder on the top of the whale to contrast with the smooth belly.
The photos below track the progress beginning with how the sculpture looked after being roughed out by the mini-carver. After that I used the Dremel, files and sand-paper to refine the shape. I used a dark stainer and semi-gloss polyurethane to give it the shiny finish. I still plan to make a stand and add bone eyes for this piece so I will post those pictures later on.
Made by Australian company Arbotech, this mini wood carver cuts through oak like butter. It is essentially a grinder with an extending arm and rotating plane on the end. Using the bottom edge of the blade, you cut from right to left in broad strokes, removing the surface of the wood as you go. The circular shape makes it easy to create curved shapes and with a soft touch you can get a lot of detail out of this. This was my first attempt at using the grinder and it took some getting used to but by the end it felt very natural and I really enjoyed it. The chips fly all over the place and mostly right back at you so get some good thick gloves, a face-shield and wear overalls or an apron.
I’ve always used power tools for carving so as I move into wood sculpture this mini-carver is the perfect tool for the roughing out stage. Accompanied by the Dremel for detail, this mini-carver is really all you need to get the general shape out of the wood. I highly recommend it to any power based wood carver.
Below is a video of unedited footage I took while practicing with the mini-carver.
Video: Arbotech Mini-carver practice