Best Dremel For Wood Carving: 3 Great Kits
So here you are, looking forward to your journey as an apprentice in the magical world of wood carving.
Maybe you’re starting out so you can get a job out of it. Or you’ve just picked up a hobby so you can relax and create something beautiful, something yours.
The thing is, you need a good rotary tool for wood carving. Period. For many people this automatically means getting a Dremel.
True – Dremels are a classic. However, I’d advise you to think of the scope of your projects first. Which leads us to several possible tools:
If you go with the Dremel 4000, I advise you to also grab a Flex Shaft attachment.
It’ll give you more control and alleviate some of the pressure you’ll hands will be going through while you’re working on your craft.
The Fortiflex, being targeted at professionals and used for larger, tougher projects comes with both a flex shaft and a speed pedal included. You don’t need to buy any additional accessories to make your life easier.
As a whole, Dremels are a great middle ground. They stand between ultra strong, but slower power tools (think Foredom), and the micro motors with their speed, but lack of power.
Let’s take a closer look at why I picked these 3 rotary tools and segmented them like this, shall we?
1. Best Dremel for entry-level/intermediate wood carving:
Dremel 4000 3/34
Let me clear one thing first: I realize the Dremel 3000 series is pretty good too. However, there are two very important additions to the 4000 series.
The first one is the Electronic Feedback control feature. This neat little tech means the tool auto adjusts its power and speed depending on your usage.
I don’t think I need to explain how much this impacts your flow of work and power consistency throughout your wood sessions.
The second thing is the separate speed control. While not as huge as the EF, it still gives you an easy access to additional control over your carving.
Why the 3/34 and not something with more accessories?
Well, first of all, if you want to get your feet wet in wood carving, you don’t want to spend that much money initially. Also, you don’t really need all the accessories included in the bigger Dremel sets.
What you get in this neat Dremel set for carving is:
1.6 AMP (pretty decent power)
Variable speed controls: 5 to 35 000 RPM
3 attachments + 34 accessories
Two cases: a hard carry case, and a case for the accessories
The most vital parts are the 107 engraving cutter and 191 high speed cutter. These will be the backbone of your woodworking sessions.
As far as ergonomics go, Dremels have always been pretty easy to work with. The soft grip lets you work in peace, and lessens pressure on your hands.
Don’t get this if you want to take a shot at more demanding, higher end wood carving projects. While the 4000 series has power, it won’t be enough for these. It’ll overheat and struggle with longer, more extensive and complicated woodwork.
As I mentioned, get a Flex shaft for even better control and precision. Recommended!
2. Best Dremel for power carving:
This is where Dremel gets dead serious. The Fortiflex is no joke: at 2.5 AMP, its motor blows any lower end Dremels (and rotary tools as a whole) out of the motor.
The torque is crazy – very high, you’ll feel it for sure. Keep in mind that the Forti-Flex operates on slower speeds. If it went any faster, it’ll burn wood and be far from gentle on your hands too.
If you’re working for heavy duty, professional grade projects, the Forti-Flex is your best option. Period. There’s nothing better than it in Dremel’s portfolio of products. When it comes to power carving, it’s quite comparable to the Foredom’s tools.
So how exactly is it better? Three reasons:
2.5 AMP vs 1.6 AMP in smaller Dremels
Heavy duty flex shaft included: cooler operation, more durable, more precise
Variable speed foot pedal included: better control, hands-free speed adjustment
Your typical 3000 series or 4000 series simply lack all of this. Which, of course, makes them a non-viable choice for long wood carving sessions that demand hardcore work.
You’re also getting 21 Dremel accessories and a convenient wall hook as a bonus.
From the accessories, what you care about the most are:
The 117 high speed cutter
The 7103 diamond wheel point (ultra strong!)
The 9910 tungsten carbinde cutter
The 403 brush weel: great for cleaning and polishing
To finish things off with a real professional blast, the Forti-Flex comes with a three-jaw chuck. It’ll accommodate all types of accessories with shank up to 5/32″ in size.
Here’s a quick guide on how to setup this beast of a power carving tool:
3. Best rotary tool for small woodwork projects:
Tacklife 4/80 Tool
OK, so what you’re looking for is a budget pick for your new hobby. Oh, and you’re not really a fan of Dremel for some reason.
Tackife is a cheap, versatile tool that will work well for lighter woodwork projects. It’s one of those rather micro tools I mentioned: operates quite fast, but won’t work well for serious wood carving.
Let’s take a quick look at what it offers:
Variable speed: 10 000 to 32 000 RPM
4 attachments + 80 accessories
Flex shaft included in the package
Hard kit box + case for your accesssories
All in all, a pretty balanced, generous rotary tool set considering the lower price range. 1 AMP means it won’t have enough power to cope with large scale projects for sure.
However, for beginners who want to only tinker around with basic, light wood carving it’s a total no brainer.
What I really like is the fact that they provide so many accessories and even a flex shaft. It’s like a gift box that doesn’t require of you as a beginner to do any further research. Just plug and play.
An important reminder from the brand: There’s a neat spindle lock. Do not use it after you’ve switched on the tool and revving it up to higher speeds. The lock will break and…well, nobody would want that, right?
Do I really need a flex shaft as an accessory?
I’d say yes. I mean, you can live without it, but why make your life harder instead of grabbing something for a few bucks?
The flex shaft will make a huge impact on the easе and overall comfort of your work.
It’s the equivalent of what face clamps are to Kreg pocket hole systems.
That said, some people tend to forget that you have to be careful when you use the shaft for the first time.
Generally, here’s what some experts advise you to do:
Hang the dremel high when you attach the flex shaft.
Now, drop the shaft down. It should be hanging free.
Turn it on at full speed.
Let it run for a bit. 1-2 minutes should be enough.
Enjoy your improved wood carving sessions!
The reason you might have to go through this ritual is pretty simple:
The lubricant in some of the flex shafts might not be spread evenly from the get go. You’re doing this quick initial setup to help it flow so the accessory works smoothly and doesn’t cause any heating up/disruptions.
Are there any must have bits or accessories for carving/engraving wood?
Generally, Dremel kits – especially the higher end ones, include all you’ll need.
If you’re extra curious on the details, there are a few fundamental parts that will matter to you.
High speed cutters (carbide): you’ll use these for fine carving and detailing on soft wood
Tungsten cutters (carbide): great for smoothing, removing dust/leftovers, and shaping hard wood
Diamond wheel points: post-carbide bits fine carving and detailing.
As I mentioned, all of these should be present even in more entry level Dremel rotary tools. Don’t worry about it, you’ll be prepared for your woodwork time.
Any basic wood carving tips when using a Dremel?
Well, first of all, it’s important to note what wood material you’ll actually be working with.
I suggest that beginners start with softer wooden types or fine grain. These include, but are not limited to:
Also, similar to how shaving your facial hair works, it’s better to go with the grain. This will lessen the resistence and will minimize the damage done to the wood material. Less tearing, less chips and rubs result in cleaner work and a more enjoyable outcome.
Last but not least, protect yourself. This is especially important if you get a more powerful tool like the Forti-Flex. You don’t want any eye damage or bruised skin, do you?
A very simple checklist on safety items would be:
Dust mask (full face protection) or safety lenses if you only want to cover your eyes
A pair of durable, comfortable gloves to protect your hands
Making sure you tinker well with the speed settings and keep your tools well-maintained
Wood carving can be – and actually is fun. It’s a great way to pick up a trade, or just have your own time for relaxation and clearing your head a bit. You don’t need to reinvent anything. You don’t need to shoot for ultra ambitious projects.
Grab a tool that will fit your needs and carve some figures away. It’s really as enjoyable as it sounds!
Also, if you’re interested in other DIY projects, check my guide on the proper tools to set up PEX pipes. Alternatively, if you’re interested in lawn care, here’s my Hunter vs Rainbird systems comparison.
Also, I know some people love DeWalt dremels, but I’m not that much of a fan. I do prefer DeWalt for other tools (like saws or impact drivers) as I elaborate in another DIY-related post of mine here.