Draft Quality Minutes

Great Support but it gives the best results (Photo 7). "Normal" and "draft" quality modes produce rougher appearing images, especially in soft woods. A small brass brush and vacuum help to clean the completed carvings. They may also benefit from light sanding or additional hand carving (Photo 8).

The CompuCarve isn't a racehorse. Using raster carving and the "best" mode, creating the American Woodworker sign took 1-3/4 hours; the patterns shown on the virtual board in Photo 4 will take almost 2-1/2 hours to complete. Vector carving is faster. Using the new Centerline software, vectoring the AW sign in "best" mode took only 37 minutes; the pattern shown in Photo 5 will take about half an hour. The CompuCarve is designed to run continuously, because large-scale carvings can take all day. On the bright side, the CompuCarve will work tirelessly on its own while you work on other projects.

One Cool Accessory

The Scanning Probe ($300) can scan almost any object and material, including clay or wax, so you can replicate existing carvings, furniture parts and other objects (Photo 9). Plans for a scanning sled can be found at www.carvewright.com. As with almost any reproduction, there's a slight loss of detail. Slightly rounding the probe tip helps to minimize marks on the original. After the scan has been imported into the software, it can still be manipulated.

9The duplicating probe (available as an accessory at additional cost) allows making copies of existing objects.

Sources

LRH Technologies. (713) 473-6572, www.carvewright.com CarveWright Woodworking System, $1900. Scanning Probe, $300. Complete Bit Set, $300. Centerline Text Software $100.

Sears, (800) 349-4358, www.sears.com/Craftsman Craftsman CompuCarve, $1900.

LRH Technologies provides technical support for both machines. Simply go to the CarveWright website or call (713) 473-6572. I've found the staff to be friendly, knowledgeable and willing to help with any issue. I periodically check the on-line users forum and Customer's Spotlight pages that are on the website, to read about user's issues, ask questions, and view projects. The forum has taught me many details I otherwise would have missed.

7Clean carvings take longer.These samples in oak show the differences in quality and required time between the three carving modes.

8The CompuCarve produces excellent results in a variety of woods, although the details aren't quite as crisp as hand carvings. Gentle brushing removes whiskers left from the carving process.

TOM CASPAR, THE TOOL NUT

Nuts!

TOM CASPAR, THE TOOL NUT

Calling all Tool

I really don't need five cordless drills, seven routers or 24 antique hand planes, but I can't help it. I'm a tool nut. Are you?

Have you ever bought an old woodworking machine just because it looked cool? Tried a new tool and said, "Wow! This just changed my life!" Used a big, industrial machine and wondered how in the world you could sneak it into your shop?

We'd like to hear your stories. So e-mail or send us a letter about a tool or machine that really gets you excited. We'll send you a new Leatherman Charge AL multi-tool if we publish your story. Please include a photograph, too. We'd prefer a digital image, but a slide or print is OK. Visit our Web site, www.americanwoodworker.com/tool-nut for some examples of what we've got in mind.

E-mail your entry to [email protected] or write to us at The Tool Nut, American Woodworker Magazine, 1285 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 180, Eagan, MN 55121.

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