Hello there woodcarvers and those of you who aspire to become one! If you are reading this, then that probably means two things. One, you are into wood carving, and you have some new design ideas on your mind. And two, you have a Dremel rotation tool, and you are thinking about buying and trying out new rotary tool bits. Like for many of us in the beginning, confronting the vast palette of Dremel wood carving bits for the first time can feel overwhelming. If there are so many types and shapes, how to choose the one you need, and at the same time make sure it has a good price-quality ratio?
In case you are here seeking advice regarding power tool bits, I did my best to guide you through what the market has to offer at the moment. I’m about to list some of the bit sets I think are a good choice. But before that, let’s take a closer look at wood carving tools and bits, to understand a bit better what we are dealing with.
- YXGOOD 10 Pieces Tungsten Carbide Double Cut Rotary Burr Set
- This set is everything beginners in woodcarving need. The not-so-famous brand doesn’t guarantee the quality of these bits, although made of tungsten carbide. For a woodcarver with a smaller budget, this is a good buy.
- APEXFORGE 357-piece Burr Set Universal Fitment for Grinding, Sanding, Sharpening, Carving
- This many burrs and tools would most definitely cost much more if bought independently. It’s meant for softer types of wood and holds a good price-quality ratio. However, honestly, this set is meant for beginners, DIY and hobby workshops, rather than professionals.
- WORKPRO 276-piece Burr Kit Universal Fitment
- A good, diverse and cheaper alternative for original Dremel tools, great for beginners who work with softwood. You might have problems with keeping the sanding bands on, but hey, that happens with the best bits as well.
- GOXAWEE 20 Pcs Diamond-Coated Pieces Rotary Bits Set
- A good price for a bit coarser bits set for beginners still training detailed wood work.
- Lukcase 10 Pcs Double Cut Carbide Rotary Burr Set
- This set is great if you have some burrs missing, and you need a couple just to replace the old or broken ones. They are sharp and do the coarse work just fine, but the material might wear off if used for too long.
- Dremel 11-piece Carving and Engraving Burr Kit
- Unlike most of the other kits I have reviewed so far, this one I can warmly recommend to both professionals and beginners. It’s very hard to find a flaw in Dremel!
Dremel Bits For Wood Carving
Wood carving craft is probably as old as humanity. It probably started simply: with a piece of wood, a piece of sharp metal or bone, and someone with a good idea, skillful hands, and some spare time. As someone with many years of experience, I can say not much has changed until this very day! Although, while the basics are still there, some tools did become better and diversified.
So diversified that we often need an advice on what can be done with so many variants of tools, and then, with so many different add-ons for those tools.
The main difference to the caveman from many centuries ago, is that today we have electric devices. These tools have much greater power than our hands, so it’s no wonder wood carving with drills is also called power carving. They use electric power to set the motor in motion, which in turn spins the replaceable bits. Nevertheless, here we will be speaking mostly about bits, so if you want to learn more about wood carving with power tools in general, check some of my previous articles. Also, if you want to keep yourself updated, recently I comprised the list of the best power wood carving tools in 2021, so do check it out.
Every Dremel bit consists of a shank and a head. The shank part is attached to the power tool, while the head is in direct contact with the wood and its purpose is to shape the wood piece. So, depending on the head’s material, shape and size, you get different patterns and surfaces on your design.
In order to make your way through the vastness of bits diversity, first, you have to decide what you need. You will choose your Dremel bit depending on several factors:
- what kind of performance you want – sanding, etching, cutting, routing, grinding, sharpening, etc
- what type of wood you are working with
For each material and performance, there is an appropriate Dremel bit type, which we will briefly discuss in the following section.
Types of Dremel Bits
So, here we are. Buckle up lads (and girls!), as we are about to explore the universe of Dremel bits.
There are several ways we could categorize them, in order to find some order in the variety. Here, we will approach bits based on two criteria: finesse, shape, and function.
When I say finesse, I mean the capacity of wood carving burrs to perform coarse or fine work. For each of these stages, you need the following types of burrs, respectively:
- saburr tooth bits. In every woodwork, you start with coarser work, only outlining the desired shape. For such work, you need saburr tooth bits, which you will recognize by their jagged heads
- fluted bits. Once coarse work is done, you start refining the project, so you change to fluted bits. They will remove wood, leaving a smooth surface, preparing it for the finale. These burrs have a furrowed surface, and usually come in two types: one cut (furrows go in only one direction) or double cut (two sets of furrows, intersecting)
- diamond bits. In the end of working on your project, you do the fine details, and you need diamond rotary bits for that. They are extremely fine on the wood.
Each of the mentioned Dremel burr types can come in different shapes, depending on the desired format of coves in the wood. There are three main shape categories of burrs:
- pointed (a.k.a. coned) bits – they produce thin and deep coves in the wood. For those who want to know more, depending on the bending of side edges, there are flame-shaped or tapered
- sphere/ball-shaped bits – these bits have a blunt, round tip and are great for creating semispherical and concave dents in the wood, which you want for depicting eyes or nostrils for example
- cylinder bits – these burrs create squared dents with flat sides.
Finally, depending on the exact surface design you want to achieve, you will choose burrs with some of the following fuctions:
And many more.
If you are wondering how we sharpen these bits, made of such strong materials, you might be guessing that it is possible only with a material as strong as diamond. We all love diamonds – and your Dremel bits do too! Although bits are generally very durable, if you are working with hardwoods, such as maple, oak, or walnut, the burrs might wear out with time. In case you ever need a recommendation on sharpeners, you can find everything about the best diamond sharpening stones already on my blog.
In any case, do try to adopt some maintenance habits, to prolong the life of your bits. Keep them in a specialized holder so they don’t scratch each other, clean them regularly with a neoprene rubber bar and a brass brush. White whetstick is especially purposed for cleaning diamond bits.
Best Dremel Bits for Wood Carving
Dremel is one of the world’s most popular brands of tools, and the quality of their products is undisputable. However, original Dremel bits are therefore quite expensive. My idea here was to comprise a list of best burr kits for wood carving, that are not necessarily Dremel originals, but will fit your Dremel rotary tools, and are rather affordable. So, my primary criteria was the price, and also the quality of the bits, and the versatility of the set.
YXGOOD 10 Pieces Tungsten Carbide Double Cut Rotary Burr Set – Best set for beginners
You might be thinking that YXGOOD is a typo, but no, this is a company name. Although his set of burrs is made in China, it’s worth a try, and I’m about to explain why.
In this set, you get 10 burrs made of tungsten carbide, the hardest material next to diamond, making them great for working with hardwoods, as these burrs can cut iron and steel as easily. Although watch your fingers, as these can cut you very easily!
Their cutting edge diameter is 6 mm(1/4 inch). That basically means that they are best employed in doing fine, detailed work. Despite not being Dremel, they work for smaller Dremel rotary tools.
- good price
- not branded
To Sum Up
This set is everything beginners in woodcarving need. The not-so-famous brand doesn’t guarantee the quality of these bits, although made of tungsten carbide. But, this is more of a problem for people working with metals, as in wood carving, burrs wear off less quickly, even with hardwoods. For a woodcarver with a smaller budget, this is a good buy.
APEXFORGE 357-piece Burr Set Universal Fitment – A set for any DIY project of yours
If you are up for diversity, here is something for you. Made in US, this Apexforge set has 357 pieces, which is quite impressive, although around 150 pieces out of those are the sanding papers. Again, this set is not meant only for woodcarving, but woodcarvers can particularly benefit from its burrs. As for grinding, there are several types of diamond needles, and several types and sizes of grinding wheels made of aluminum oxide and silicon carbide (quite strong materials, however, cheaper substitutes for diamond). There are some rubber grinders and wheels as well.
As for sanding, you get shanks, slim and wide bands, and sanding papers. For cutting, you can use diamond and fiberglass wheels.
- 2-year warranty and customer care
- extensive versatility
- good price
- poor quality of some pieces (sandpaper and brushes)
To Sum Up
This many burrs and tools would most definitely cost much more if bought independently. It’s meant for softer types of wood and holds a good price-quality ratio. However, honestly, this set is meant for beginners, DIY and hobby workshops, rather than professionals.
WORKPRO 276-piece Burr Kit Universal Fitment – Good Dremel alternative for softwood
Here is another high diversity kit for you to consider. Workpro is a Chinese brand, but it is on the market for a long time and seems to be quite popular on Amazon, with a lot of happy customers.
This set is comprised of:
- sanding discs and bands
- grinding wheels and stones made of silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, white alundum and rubber
- polishing compressed felt wheels, polishing compounds
- 9 bits drilling set
- cleaning brushes
- cutting rotary bits – several wheels, made of fiberglass and emery
- not so durable
To Sum Up
Again, a good, diverse and cheaper alternative for original Dremel tools, great for beginners who work with softwood. You might have problems with keeping the sanding bands on, but hey, that happens with the best bits as well.
GOXAWEE 20 Pcs Diamond-Coated Pieces Rotary Bits Set – Best for detail woodwork projects
This set has 10 different burr shapes (cylinder, sphered and pointed), with two different sizes for each shape. These burrs are fluted bits, they are coarse (60 grit), but the shank dimensions being only 3mm (1/8″), it’s obviously meant for very detailed work.
The burrs have diamond coating, which makes them a bit harder, so despite being of cheaper production, they are worth a try. Of course, they are all suitable for Dremel rotary tools.
- good price
- diamond coating
- not branded
To Sum Up
A good price for a bit coarser bits set for beginners still training detailed wood work.
Lukcase 10 Pcs Double Cut Carbide Rotary Burr Set – Handy pieces to replace damaged bits in your set
This smaller set comes with 10 pieces of tungsten carbide (very strong material) burrs. These are all two-cut fluted, in all three shapes (spheres, cylinder, and ball-shaped). Their size (only 3mm or 1/8″) designates them for detailed work, and them being two cut fluted type, means they are a bit aggressive but still best for softwoods, such as basswood or butternut.
Also, their primary purpose is grinding, carving, engraving, and polishing. All that being said, the 10 piece set for only $12.99 sounds like a good deal.
- strong material
- good price
- not so versatile
- not so durable
To Sum Up
This set is great if you have some burrs missing, and you need a couple just to replace the old or broken ones. They are sharp and do the coarse work just fine, but the material might wear off if used for too long.
Dremel 11-piece Carving and Engraving Burr Kit – The only carving kit you will ever need
This etching, engraving, grinding, and sharpening set made by Dremel is an example of how even originals can come at a fair price. For $11.99, you get four fluted and four diamond-type burrs, for grinding and engraving, each in all three shapes – cylindrical, sphere and pointed. Plus, there is also a diamond wheel point and a carving bit. All these are packed in a convenient accessory case.
Not so versatile, but the quality and durability are guaranteed.
- customer service
- excellent price
- not versatile
To Sum Up
Unlike most of the other kits I have reviewed so far, this one I can warmly recommend to both professionals and beginners. It’s very hard to find a flaw in Dremel!
In power carving, choosing rotary tool bits can be difficult for beginners. These are produced in so many different types and shapes, that it’s hard to figure out what are the very best Dremel bits for wood carving. What you could read so far in this article, is only my personal opinion, based on my experience. On the one hand, the products I listed might not be branded, but will nonetheless do a decent job for much less money.
In any case, it can also be useful to read customer reviews and ask other woodcarvers you might know. Burrs are a crucial tool in power carving, and you should listen to as many voices as possible before purchasing a product. Good luck and happy carving!