3-D Sanding carvings

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Forum topic by bbrown posted 07-25-2019 01:11 AM 280 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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271 posts in 4057 days

07-25-2019 01:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: carving sanding carvings bellamy eagle

I am looking at the Arbortech contour sander ….

and wondered how it might compare to a right angle drill with sanding pads….

I carve Bellamy eagles and other nautical themed pieces and have large amounts of 3-D surface area to sand.

The angle drill seems to accommodate larger pads which would be helpful for my size projects..

Thanks for any advice,


-- Micah 6:8

4 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile


4175 posts in 2493 days

#1 posted 07-25-2019 11:10 AM

I have used an angle grinder with sanding and grinding disks. I used it making a Maloof style rocker which had a lot of grinding and sanding.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2012 posts in 667 days

#2 posted 07-25-2019 02:56 PM

Bill, the Arbortech is brought up every now and then but I don’t remember
where a member from here has actually purchased one.

from what I understand about the tool is that the shaft provides a
random orbit effect and has an assortment of grits for the pad.
my hold back is that it can only be used with the 4” angle grinder
that can have a non-adjustable speed of 12,000 RPMs. it is a bulky
tool when you put it all together.
I have found that the same sanding discs are available in the 3-M Rolok
design that can be used in an assortment of hand tools such as the pneumatic
die grinders, angle drills, Flex-Shaft carvers, etc. (and Harbor Freight carries them).
the angle drill I have is of the 1970s era and still works quite well.
the angle drill that you mentioned “appears” to be cumbersome to handle for
sanding wood carvings. (it is made for drilling holes in tight places, not fine sanding).
the Foredom Flex Shaft carvers are limited to the in-line handpieces and is awkward
to hold, IMO. if the right angle handpiece was available for the flex-shafts, I would be
one happy camper.
the right angle pneumatic die grinder is perfect for the 3-M Rolok discs but you need
a lot of CFMs from the compressor to maintain a steady rhythm.
you mentioned that you are entering the Nautical Realm of carving fish, birds, and
other oceanic creatures. I feel that the Arbortech is designed more for bulky 3-D
carvings vs flat sided surfaces such as fish bodies and bird wings.
here are some of my “woodworking” tools that also pull double duty in metal working.
I have some rounded flap discs but they are pretty much worn out.
to find the tools that that will fit your style of roughing out, is to find what will fit your
hands the most comfortable, easy to maneuver, and gets the job done with minimal effort.
[just my personal opinions and choices: not to be considered endorsements of anything].


-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View bbrown's profile


271 posts in 4057 days

#3 posted 07-26-2019 11:26 AM

Thanks so much for the info John. Very generous of you to share that and the photos.
I’m making a trip to H.Freight and will look over there stuff – at least could be a cheap way to figure out what works for me. Not ready for the $450 for a Festool RO 90 yet (!) but that does look like a mighty nice tool for the sanding that I want to do. The Delta pointed attachment might be handy for my Bellamy eagles as well – the wing feathers are a real pain to sand – can take an entire weekend.

Thank you “RedOak”....confirms what John said. Right angle grinders seem the way to go here.

Thanks again,


-- Micah 6:8

View Phil32's profile


613 posts in 408 days

#4 posted 07-26-2019 05:46 PM

Bill – I usually avoid sanding highly detailed carvings like Bellamy eagles because it invariably destroys some of the detail. On the other hand, I often need to smooth the surfaces around carved details so that I can selectively gel stain the details and wipe off the excess. So, I carefully hand sand. I realize this is time consuming, but I am not concerned with volume production or sales.


-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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