Rotary Chisels cut cleaner and faster than other burs. The unique triangular shape allows for fast heat dissipation and the solid carbide construction means the tool will stay sharp far longer than conventional carving burs. $23 each
Profile B ("V")
Profile C (Square channel) 60 Grit 1 1/4" Shaping Wheel $16.50 80 Grit 1" Cutting Wheel $16.50
These are some of the burs I use most often in carving, cutting and inlaying materials into gourds.
I only sell burs I use myself!
(Bur boxes, Flexshafts and more!)
1/8 inch shank
Use this one for relief carving, to inlay heishi and for stippling techniques. $6 each
Fine Engraving Burs
A handy set of 5 burs - the set includes three different sized ball cutters and two sizes of inverted cones. The set is packaged in a nice little plastic storage box. (The tiniest ball is great for carving your name on the bottom of your gourd!)
Set of all 5 burs in a handy plastic storage box
1/8 inch shank
Great for cutting fine lines.
(The smaller wheel can cut tighter curves.) $5 each
1/8 inch shank
I use this shape to cut sand ripples and faux basketry.
LG - $6
SM - $5
Structured tooth carbide burs are a good choice for fast roughing out and general carving. Because these have non-directional cutting teeth, they are the best choice for left handed carvers.
About Carving Burs: Which type is right for you and your project?
Most burs that are included in a typical rotary tool kit are intended for general household use, and many are unsuitable for gourd carving. The descriptions below will help you to choose the appropriate burs, you can also find more in depth descriptions on pages 29-31 of my "Gourds" book.
Note: I have been carving wood and gourds for over 25 years. All of the burs shown below are pieces I have used and tested myself.
High Speed Steel Burs
These burs are the mainstays of most gourd carvers. They are inexpensive and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This type of bur cuts with sharpened cutting flutes or "teeth". They will cut aggressively and are perfect for most people that want to do general gourd carving, and their price makes them the best choice for beginners. For most carvers, three basic shapes are adequate (although you may want to add a variety of sizes within those shapes.) I recommend a wheel, a ball, and a either a cylinder or an inverted cone. You can use other shapes as well, but if you are starting from scratch this is a good place to start. These burs will dull after years of use or if misused, but usually a thorough cleaning will extend their life. (More on cleaning burs at the bottom of the page.)
Carbide burs are more expensive than steel burs, but with ordinary care they will outlast a steel bur and should never need to be replaced.
Some carbide burs look exactly like steel burs, but will stay sharper much longer. Personally, I don't buy this type as they are much more expensive and the high speed steel cutters last quite a long time when they are kept clean and used only on gourds.
Some burs have bits of tungsten carbide grit fused onto a steel based cutting surface. This type of bur comes in various shapes and cutting grits, but is less aggressive and smoother cutting than a structured tooth bur.
Structured tooth cabide burs have sharp hair-like projections protruding from all sides of the bur. They are great for left handed carvers as they are not directional and are not used with a mandrel. They come in a variety of shapes and grits and are the most aggressive burs for fast carving.
Diamond burs are not intended for carving through the gourd skin. They are better suited for detail carving or sanding operations. These burs are the least aggressive of all but are perfect for sanding or texturizing after the rough carving is finished. Inexpensive kits with several burs will give you plenty of shapes to choose from.
High Speed Steel and Carbide Burs
1/8" Pointed Bur $10.50
Mini Cutting Wheel$16.50
Tungsten carbide burs are nice additions to round out a set of carving burs. These are a few specialty shapes that I have personally selected. They are less aggresive than the structured tooth carbides and work well for shaping and smoothing when a smoother texture is desired. The larger wheels work well for removing large amounts of material.
The small pointed bur can be drug to create lines, to undercut relief carving, and works great for cutting channels for heishi inlay, or for drilling and shaping decorative holes. The finest grit works well for filigree type hole piercing.
The 1 1/4" wide shaping wheel is used for "skinning" the gourd, shaping, and removing large areas.
Use the 1" cutting wheel for cutting through the gourd. Also, when drug sideways across the gourd surface it is very effective in rapidly removing large areas of material in gourd carving.
The mini cutting wheel is perfect for left handed carvers! It operates equally as well in forward and reverse. Head is 5mm wide.
Specialty Tungsten Carbide Burs
Structured Tooth Carbide Burs
Bur Cleaning Info and Tips
There are different reasons why burs leave burn marks or don't cut well. If you know your bur is relatively new and not likely to be dull, then the cause is often a dirty or clogged bur.
The easiest way to clean all types of burs is to get a small jar (baby food size is fine) and fill it with enough acetone to cover the bur cutting heads. Let the burs soak for a while, the acetone won't hurt them. This will loosen the resins that are clogging the cutting surfaces. After the burs are removed from the acetone, simply scrub them off with a toothbrush shaped brass brush. This should eliminate the majority of the debris. You can resubmerge and repeat if necessary.
Carbide burs are much tougher and in a pinch they can even be flamed with a small propane torch to burn off the residue. Use caution when using this method; flame the bur while it is chucked into your tool, don't attempt to hold it with pliers (or your fingers!!!). Do NOT try this on steel burs. They will lose their temper and will not hold a sharp edge. If you are cleaning a mandrel mounted carbide bur, you must remove the small fiber washer before using the torch cleaning method.
Diamond Bur Sets
These economical sets have 1/8" shanks, and the 20 and 30 piece sets come in a handy storage box.
Set of 20 assorted smaller shapes $6.50 SALE $5
Set of 30 assorted smaller shapes $8.50 SALE $6.50
Set of 6 assorted larger shapes
*Looking for Rifflers, Hole Saws and other tools?
To make each page load faster, they are now found on the "Tools" page.
Arizona Gourds is an authorized Foredom Tool Distributor. Please use the Foredom link button to view available tool sets including bench and hanging models and the new Gourd Carvers Kit.
Please email me if you have questions about your order, or prefer to not use the shopping cart feature. The shopping cart is designed for optimal operation when used with Windows Explorer.
Note: When used in a Dremel, large or heavy headed carbide burs will work better at lower speeds. They can be run at full speed in a Foredom tool and in some micromotor tools. Practice with them to deterimine the ideal speed for your own tool. Always insert these burs completely up to the shoulder depth (the thick area of the mandrel) when mounting into the collet or chuck. Do not run the mandrel mounted burs in reverse.
*Looking for Bur Holders, Flexshafts, Keyless Chucks, Sanders and other Rotary Tool Accessories?
To make each page load faster, these items are now on their own page:
Carbide Filigree Burs
1/8 inch shank
(Carving drill has a 3/32" shank)
Burs that will both drill holes and cut sideways for piercing/filigree.
Single Fine Filigree bur (left) $4
Carbide Pointed Bur (right) $10.50
6 Piece Set - $4
Larger sized burs than those in the other set. Loose packaging, no box. Exact sizes and shapes vary from set to set, but are similar to photo.
Diamond burs are best suited for sanding and texturing the softer inner gourd. These are not suitable for cutting through the tough outer gourd skin, but they cut smoothly when doing fine carving or detail work on the inner pulp, and are great for smoothing cut edges.
Assorted larger head Diamond Wheel Burs mounted on a 1/8" shaft. Most are approximately 1/2" - 5/8" wide. Some have squared edges, others are rounded. Thickness varies. Great for smoothing backgrounds and inlaying larger cabochons. $4
Best Value SET of 3 different sizes of diamond wheels - $8
Includes 3 different wheel sizes. Assorted profiles - some have flat sides, some have rounded edges, some are knife edged or are shallow inverted cone shaped.
*Faster cutting - structured tooth inverted cone burs shown below
20 Piece Set in Plastic Storage Box - $6.50
30 Piece Set in Plastic Storage Box - $8.50
Saburr Tooth Dovetail
Small 5mm size inverted cone for getting into tight areas.
Included in the 5 pc engraving set (Below)
8 or 10mm thin wheel mounted on a 3/32" shaft. These hard to find burs are great for smoothing backgrounds, inlaying small cabochons and undercutting relief carvings.
8mm - $4
10mm - $4.50
Top view and side view of wheel bur
5mm wide x 1/32" thick
High Quality Swiss made Burs
Saburr Tooth Large (1/2") Cylinder
Saburr Tooth Taper (cone)
Saburr Tooth 3/8" Ball
Below: Saburr Tooth brand structured tooth burs are my favorite carving burs because they have fast cutting teeth to remove a lot of material quickly.
The dovetail shape is good for cutting basketry and ripples, the taper shape works well in tight areas, and also gives you the proper angle for flattening backgrounds, and the large head cylinder is perfect for smooth, even inlay channels. The flame shape is excellent for getting into small areas, or use the bud for small areas or lay on its side for wider cutting areas. The ball is good for general fast removal. New:Ball tipped cylinder, and safety end cylinder shapes! Use the end of the ball tipped bur when sharp edges are undesireable, then use the side of the bur for cutting flat areas. The safety head cylinder is perfect for cutting along borders - because there are no teeth on the end, you get a really clean cut.
Click on photo to the right or link below to read how-to instructions on stone cutting in the Oct 2012 newsletter.
A: Depth of cut - 3/32"
B: Head width - 3/8"
C- Width of cut - 1/8"
D -Shank diameter - 1/8"
Arizona Gourds is an authorized Mastercarver Micro-Pro Tool Distributor. Please use the Mastercarver link button to view the Micropro micromotor carving tool.
Saburr Tooth Ball Head Cylinder (1/4")
Saburr Tooth Safety Head Cylinder (1/4")
These are GENUINE DREMEL burs.
Saburr Tooth 1/4" Ball