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- Ruby carvers. These popular abrasive bits, left (6), take their name from the mineral particles bonded to the steel body. Over the years, these bits practically have become the power carver s staple tool for refining forms and establishing features.
Available in two grits and a variety of shapes and sizes, ruby carvers cut at a medium rate and leave a sanded-looking surface. They usually cost $5-$10 each.
- Diamond points. Here s another chance to carve with precious stones. Many carvers consider diamond points, such as the examples shown at left (7), to be the crown jewels of carving.
Often thought of as finishing tools or detail-carving bits, there s really no reason diamond points couldn t be used at almost any carving stage. As long as the diamond chips remain bonded to the base material, a diamond bit should be able to cut wood practically forever.
Compared to ruby carvers, diamond instruments cut faster, last longer, leave a smoother surface, and, as you might expect, cost more. (But not, surprisingly, a lot more in many cases. We found prices ranging from less than $5 each when purchased in sets to $30 for a large, single bit.) Diamond points are available in a great array of styles and sizes, too.
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