Knowing how we’re all tool junkies of some degree, always on the look out for that magic tool, I figured I’d share my thoughts on the DuraGRIT 1 1/4″ cutting wheel pictured here. I’d picked it up from one of the carving suppliers for about 20 bucks because I’d recently done a small home improvement project where I could have used a cut off wheel. I has glad to have it this weekend though as I’m working on the largest relief scene that I’ve ever done and I needed something to do the rough texturing of the trees and foliage. This bad boy delivered, the carbide grit that is bonded to the wheel cuts very aggressively and just melted it’s way through basswood, think chainsaw carving in terms of how fast it cuts. That being said, it actually leaves a pretty smooth finish considering it’s rated at 60 grit. The holes in the wheel allow you to get a little better look at what you’re doing, which is good because you defiantly want to keep this away from any part of your carving that you want to keep. Considering the aggressiveness of the cutting wheel, I found that it was pretty easy to control, even if it’s a little freaky having it on the end of my flex-shaft machine. Considering it’s size and coarseness, I would NOT use this in a mirco-motor tool. Since the cutting wheel is held on the mandrel with a screw, it did un-screw itself when I used it on reverse. But I was using it hard and as deep as it’d go. Fortunately, after un-screwing itself it flopped on the wood, instead of flying around the room. Maybe with light usage it’d be fine on reverse, but I’d recommend using it on forward.
This is the kind of tools that I like, it does it’s job well and quick. I found that it excels at stop cutting, undercutting and making texturing cuts. It does good at shaping as well, but I can see that DuraGRIT’s Mushroom Shaping Wheel would be better at that. I think that if I can ever wear it out, then I’ll probably have gotten my monies worth out of it a hundred times over or more. If you’re in the habit of using power carving on your projects, that I defiantly recommend that you take a look at DuraGRIT’ Cut Off wheel and Mushroom Shaping Wheel.