There are many benefits of power carving. One of my favorite reasons for choosing power over knives and gouges is because I can let the tool do the work for me. Over the years of using knives and gouges I have found that it takes a great deal of muscle endurance and strength to get through the wood. The wood can be a very difficult medium to work in especially carving on the end grain.
Wood selection is paramount to any good wood carving know matter what tools are used to complete the carving. For me, using power has helped me to overcome some of the challenges associated with the wood, and allowed me to focus on the artistic side of carving. Power carving has also opened many doors to me that were shut in years past. Due to a degenerative nerve disease called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) I had to stop carving.
This disease caused me to lose a great deal of function in my right hand especially strength and endurance. This made it very difficult for me to hold knives and gouges, or even the wood itself in order to carve. With the use of power I have been able to overcome my physical limitations,and they are no longer an issue.
Like me, overcoming a physical limitation may be reason enough to try power carving. Other methods of wood carving like knives and gouges may not be physically possible.
Other reasons might be an increase in speed. Finishing a wood carving project faster makes it possible to start another carving sooner. The ability to produce finished work may be your reason. Another reason might be the types of projects that you desire to carve.
Many fish carvers and bird carvers use power to do their carvings because it just works.
Bird carving or fish carving is enjoyable no matter what methods are used to complete the carving. But power carving lends itself very well to completing these types of projects.
Relief carving, although not traditionally thought of as a type of carving that lends itself well to using power, is a good style of carving for power carvers. There are a great number of power tools available to do relief carving work.
All types of relief carving from low relief, medium relief, or deep relief carving can be done with power carving.
Like all methods of wood carving there are only so many different tools needed. The tools for carving birds, fish, caricatures, relief carving, habitat carving, animal carving, or any carving project whatsoever can be accomplished with power.
That, for me, is the greatest reason for using power to do to accomplish my wood carving projects. The tools may be different depending on which method of carving you choose to do, but the underlying foundation of artistry remains the same.
I carved my first neckerchief slide at the age of 15 during a Boy Scout campout. I have it to this day. I have loved wood carving since that day. Since that day I have carved off and on. Throughout serving a mission for my church, going to college, getting married, having kids, and fighting a terrible nerve disease I have always found joy in wood carving.
Power carving has allowed me to overcome my personal limitations, and given me the opportunity to do what I love: Wood Carve.
What are your reasons for using power to wood carve?