A Whole Lot Cheaper for Almost the Same Quality

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Review by StumpyNubs posted 02-01-2011 04:01 AM 10350 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A Whole Lot Cheaper for Almost the Same Quality No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I am not an expert carver. I did most of my carving with a rotary tool and longed to own one of those big power carvers like I saw at Woodcraft for $400. So when I saw one at Harbor Freight for 50 bucks you can imagine my excitement. Here’s the details…

This is essentially a 1/4hp rotary tool. It is a motor that hangs from a wall bracket with a long flexable shaft with a little adjustable keyed chuck (like an drill) on the end that’ll accept any size carving bit. It’s operated by a foot pedal and is more versitle than you can possibly imagine.

Here’s the down side… It’s supposed to be variable speed but mine seems to be only two speeds- off and high, so I may need a new pedal control. Also the flexable shaft seems to get a bit hot. I may need to figure out how to lube it. Those two issues cost this tool a couple of stars in my rating.

Like most power carvers, this is a rotary tool like sysyem, but I bought a back and forth type flexable carving shaft and with some modifications it also works. So the posibilities are endless…

Bottom line, it’s not nearly as good as the $400 systems. If you do a lot of carving, this may not be for you unless you can get past the hot shaft issue. (It may wear out quickly unless you find a way to lube it better) But it beats a rotary tool because it has lots of power, a foot pedal control and a flexable shaft that fits multiple sized bits. And it can be adapted to accept a higher quality power carving shft (the back and forth type) So for grinding bits, cutoff wheels, whatever you use in a rotary tool, and some occasional carving, I think it’s worth $50- especially if you also use a coupon!

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6 comments so far

View Dez's profile


1172 posts in 4936 days

#1 posted 02-01-2011 04:39 AM

Thanks Jim!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3747 days

#2 posted 02-01-2011 09:41 AM

Hi Jim.

I’d get in touch with HF about that variable speed control. As for the hot shaft, sounds like it needs lubricating. Any decent motorcycle shop will carry a kit to do it properly. They use them on throttle cables and such.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4162 days

#3 posted 02-01-2011 03:41 PM

on this tool i will speak up some, i think it could be a waste of moeny when it comes to this tool…the problems your having could turn into a mess…just possibly…with the shaft getting to hot…if it does, the shaft will break,,,you have to keep it lubed with grease …ive dealt with that problem with my more expensive unit …the foredom…so believe me i know what im talking about here…i lived and learned on that one..and as for the variable speed…you want that option…for the many different modes you will need in carving..its important to have all of your options working…in my opinion…harbor freight is good for some things..and you can take a chance with certain tools…but on this carver you might want to think twice…good luck with yours…ill be interested in know how this tool fairs..grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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7827 posts in 3659 days

#4 posted 02-01-2011 03:46 PM

Good points Grizz. Since I use it only occasionally I’ve not seen the effects you refer to. After considering that a bit more I went back and made some changes in my review above and knocked it down another star (from 4 to 3). Thanks Grizz!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View mpounders's profile


968 posts in 3754 days

#5 posted 02-02-2011 09:38 PM

I have had one of these for a couple of years….it is a little noisy and has needed to be lubed a few times, but it has more than paid for itself. I had no problems with mine and if I replace it, I will get another brand also with footpedal speed control. My reasoning for spending $50 on this was that this would be an inexpensive way to try out this style of tool, without totaling wasting my money. I love the geared chuck and wish it would go all the way up to 1/4”. The shaft is the standard adapter used by Foredom, Wecheer, and MasterCarver, so all the handpieces and the recipricating carvers for those tools will fit this machine. And if it breaks, I can use all those handpieces I now have with a better tool from one of the other brands. Or I can dedicate it just to sanding, if I purchase one of the better models. As long as you got one that works, it’s not too bad!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4455 days

#6 posted 03-21-2011 09:51 PM

Where are the lube points? I just bought one and have the same problem

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

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