New Power Carving Burs 2021

Meta Description: Carl discovers and reviews Manpa Concave Eye Cutters, Manpa Mini Triangle & Round Cutters, Rotary Chisels, and Maillefer Concave Cutter Burrs.

In the last year I have been playing around with some new power carving burs. Well, maybe the big 3 wing ones are not really burs. I saw and learned about most of them on Instagram.

Friends and students who have visited my studio really like them. They asked me to write about them.

I like all of them. But, I don’t like the price! They are definitely not cheap!

Manpa Concave Eye Cutters

Photo: Flex 1
Photo: Flex 2

Note: “Manpa” is the name of the company that manufactures the cutters.

I really like the new Manpa Eye Cutters. They are like a bigger and more rugged version of the “Maillefer Concave Cutter Burs” below.

The “Manpa MP21-25 Concave Eye Cutter 6 piece set …” is $58 on Amazon on 11/18/21. You may be able to find them for less.

It is really hard to not to burn the edges of the pattern created by these burs. You need to make the burned line part of your design.

At first I thought, I did not need the entire set. Only the 2 smallest ones would be the right scale to work on the 10″ plates and 10″ wide rim bowls I make.

Recently I decided to get the entire set after watching good “From A Seed” videos and patterns on YouTube. I also really like the stuff on MartinPaveyWoodDesigns instagram page. See above photo. See “Videos & Examples” section below.

You can run the smaller burs with 1/8″ shanks in a Dremel type tool. You need a drill or die grinder for the bigger burs with 1/4″ shanks. See “Die Grinder & Dremel” section below.

Manpa Mini Triangle & Round Cutters

Photo: Flex 1
Photo: Flex 2

Manpa Mini Triangle Cutter

I like this cutter. I like it better than the round one below. You can make nice patterns with it and cut long lines. For examples see “Videos & Examples” section below.

It is faster than cutting long lines with a V gouge in my Automach or Roybi reciprocating Power Carvers. However, it is harder to control and cutting shallow lines is not easy. It likes to cut deep.

The “Manpa MP21-24-DCT Mini Power Carving Bit Triangle cutter 1/8 in shaft” is $68 on Amazon on 11/18/21. You may be able to find it for less.

The Manpa Mini Triangle and Round cutters cut really clean lines. You don’t need to clean up (remove) a lot of tear out splinters afterwards.

When I first saw the new Manpa cutters, I was excited. I though, I will be able to replace the carbide cutters and save money. Then reality sunk in. Replacing the carbide cutters is possible. But, they are not cheap and getting the tiny little screws out after they have filled up with gunk may not be easy.

You can get the tool with a 1/8″ or 1/4″ shank. I have the 1/8″ shank tool and run it in a real Dremel 200. Yea, it is a little scary. But, ok. I would avoid the low quality Chinese Dremel knock offs. They do not run true enough. See “Die Grinder & Dremel” section below.

Photo: Flex 1
Photo: Flex 2

Manpa Mini Round Cutter

I purchased this round one before I got the triangle one. If, I had it to do again, I might skip it. It cuts real nice. But the width (scale of) the grooves it cuts is to big. It does not look good on the 10″ plates and 10″ wide rim bowls I make.

I like the 1/8″ width of the round Rotary Chisel CT-101 bit a lot better. The Rotary Chisel is less money. See “Rotary Chisel” section below.

The “Manpa MP21-24-DCR Mini Power Carving Bit 5mm Round cutter 1/8 in shaft” is $63 on Amazon on 11/18/21. You may be able to find it for less.

Rotary Chisel

Photo: Flex 1
Photo: Flex 2

These are NOT new. They have been around for a long time.

I like the Rotary Chisel CT-101A 1/8″ round cutter better than the Manpa Round Cutter above. It is smaller and cheaper. Better size (scale) for the 10″ plates and 10″ wide rim bowls I make.

Al Stirt has been using and demonstrating Rotary Chisels for a long time. For pattern examples, check out Al’s work on the web and the “From A Seed” videos on YouTube. See “Videos & Examples” section below.

The “101A Small Round Cut (1/8″ – 3mm Shaft) {Profile A}” cutter from www.rotarychisel.com is $44 on 11/18/21. All of the 101 size cutters are $44.

I have all of the 101 size cutters (round, V cut, W cut, and square). I like and use all of them. However, I don’t use the square one often.

The 101 cutters are 1/8″ shank. I run them in a real Dremel 200. Yea, it is a little scary. But, not really. See “Die Grinder & Dremel” section below.

Maillefer Concave Cutter Burs

Photo: Flex 1
Photo: Flex 2

Note: Maillefer is the name of the company who manufactures the burs in Switzerland.

I had to track down the burs they were using when I started seeing fabulous photos on the web by Tom Gall. See above photo. Also check out the work of Michael Kehs.

I discovered they were using “Concave Cutter” burs by Maillefer. Are they made by other manufactures? I don’t know. But, I could not find any cheaper options. I purchased a set and I like them.

These burs are a lot smaller than the above burs. They are used in a Dremel style tool with a 3/32″ collet. I run these burs in my Dremel 200 with a 3/32″ collet or a cheap Chinese knock off. They are small and they are not scary. See “Die Grinder & Dremel” section below.

They are normally used by jewelers to round over the end of things like wires. They are not designed to be used in wood. When used in wood they almost always burn the wood. Thus you have to like the burned black color of any texture created with these burs or cover it up with paint.

I got my burs from “Jets” jewelry supply. See above photo. You may be able to find cheaper ones on Amazon or from MDI Woodcarvers Supply.

I DID NOT purchase the set in the photo. It has some larger and intermediate sizes that I was not interested in. I made my own set. I ordered individual 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 mm “Cup Bur XXX Maillefer YYmm 77B Concave Cutters Burs Swiss Made” from www.jetsinc.com. They vary in price. My own custom set cost me $67 on 10/2020. See above photo.

Die Grinder & Dremel

Photo: Flex 1
Photo: Flex 2

The above cutters and burs with 1/4″ shanks will not fit in a Dremel style tool. The shank is to big.

I used a hand drill for a while. But the drill did not go fast enough. I saw a video by Nick Agar where he recommended using a die grinder. Die grinders are used for metal working, auto body, etc. They are often air powered. I wanted to get a 110 volt electric one. I decided, I really needed to get one with variable speed.

Die Grinder

When I looked for a good die grinder. I was not happy. Single speed ones are around $150. Variable speed ones by known manufactures (Dewalt, Makita, Bosch, etc) are around $230. Way to much! And they are way to big! I wanted something small like the size of a Dremel so it would be easy to maneuver. I was only going to do a little carving. No heavy duty metal work.

I decided to go with a “VOTOER 260W Rotary Tool Power Die Electric Multi-function Grinder Carver Set, Stepless Variable Speed Adjustment, 31000RPM, Lightweight”. $46 from Amazon on 11/18/21. See photo above.

It is basically a Chinese knock off of a Dremel with a little drill chuck, rather than a 1/8″ collet chuck. I like it. Works good. But, I have only had it for a couple of weeks. It may die any time. Like any cheap tool.

It works ok on small Manpa Eye Cutters. The bigger Manpa Eye cutters are so-so or lousy. There really is not enough power. I have to use my hand drill.

The “VOTOER” manufacturer name will probably be replace by some other Chinese knock off name in the near future. Look for the same picture on Amazon.

Dremel

I use a Dremel style tool for burs with a 3/32″ or “1/8” shank. I recommend the 200 model of the Dremel. See photo above. I have one of these and use it when I need good bearings that run true. It is variable speed and gets the job done.

I also have some cheaper “WEN” brand Chinese knock offs. They are ok for small burs. There is no way I would mount the big Manpa 3 wing cutters in one of these. Cheap bearings. They do not run true. I recommend you go with a real Dremel for big 3 wing cutters.

I also have an old variable speed Dremel 380 tool. It is real nice. I save it for special things. I don’t want to kill it, while hogging out, repetitive patterns. I rather kill my $30 Dremel 200.

Videos & Examples

Photo: Flex 1
Photo: Flex 2

From A Seed

Andrew Daniels has lots of great videos out on YouTube. He demonstrates all of the Manpa cutters and Rotary Chisel 100A. Check them out at www.youtube.com/c/FromASeed/videos. You should also check out his work on Instagram at www.instagram.com/fromaseed/

His Rotary Chisel video is youtu.be/TjGNwGyf-Uc

Martin Pavey Wood Designs

Check out MartinPaveyWoodDesigns on Instagram at www.instagram.com/martinpaveywooddesigns/ for great photos of his work created with the Manpa Concave Eye Cutters.

3M Bristle Discs & Sanding Wheel Brushes

Photo: Flex 1
Photo: Flex 2

I use 3M Bristle Discs and/or Sanding Wheel Brushes to clean up (remove) any tear out splinters created by burs or cutters.

For more info see my “3M Roloc Bristle Disc” and “Sanding Wheel Brush” blog entries.

Power Carving Textures

You should also check out my “Power Carving Textures” blog entry for more info.

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