In Popular Woodworking Tool Tests

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Tool: TurboPlane and Mini-Turbo

Manufacturer: ArborTech Tools

MSRP: $119-129

If you are into sculpting wood or forming sculpted furniture parts, the Arbortech TurboPlane and Mini-Turbo are two tools that could make your work much easier. Although they are sold separately, they work well as a team.

The TurboPlane is an easy-to-handle, relatively safe 4″-diameter power carver that fits on most standard angle grinders. It can be used freehand to create flowing contours or with a rub pattern to make repetitive shapes. Unlike many power carvers, this one works with the carbide teeth safely beneath the tool rather than along the edge. This gives the tool a more natural feel when removing waste, and it allows for extremely fine cuts because you can use the grinder itself as a fulcrum to adjust the depth of cut.

The Mini-Turbo is just a smaller (2″) version of the TurboPlane that gets you into tighter places. The sanding disks that come with it are a tremendous boon to the operator because they quickly smooth out any bumps left by the power carver.

Both tools quickly gobble up wood regardless of species. In testing, I found both tended to grab less than other power carvers, but were still aggressive enough to quickly waste away material. I experienced it grabbing only on startup; the more I practiced with the tool, the less of a problem it became.

The larger carver has permanently affixed teeth that can be resharpened with a few strokes on a diamond hone. On the mini, the teeth are replaceable. A couple of quick turns with an Allen wrench and you’re up and running with fresh teeth.

If you’re looking for an affordable way to get into power carving, these Arbortech tools are worth considering.


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