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Kutzall Extreme – Very Coarse Coating Review

A first hand look at the new Kutzall Extreme – Very Coarse, Dish Wheel!


We had Lee LaVanway test out the new and improved Extreme – Very Coarse coating for himself. Read his in-depth review on his process and what he was looking for in our new coating:

 My Process:

‘When Kutzall queried my thoughts after selecting me at random for its new Kutzall Extreme – Very Coarse Dish Wheel,  I was happy because I am constantly on the lookout for more efficient tools to safely shape wood.

For me, safety is the most important thing and controls my processes as a “speed carver”.  I believe speed (RPM’s), is the key, not power (amps). I definitely do not consider myself a power carver. Speed allows the tool to do the work, and it seems to me that’s the safest way to use a spinning tool.

Still, I wear a long leather apron, heavyweight canvas shirt, safety glasses behind a full-face shield, and anti-vibration gloves, if there truly is such a thing…

To keep dust at bay, I do my roughing work outside, in front of a 30” industrial-duty fan on high speed, and with an N-95 particle mask over my mouth and nose. Without the fan, I would have to wear a hot respirator, though when it’s cool outside, I often do just that, nonetheless.

I use a powerful clamp, 37” long, mounted on a heavy steel frame as my work-piece holder. It makes for a rock-solid and easily positioned work-piece. I make it a mandatory practice never to allow a spinning tool to operate near the clamp, so I position the work-piece a lot. (This rule also allows me to take a little breather from the flow state of making art, which can often cause over exertion.)

My Experience: 

Over my lifetime, I have used chain saws, adzes, axes, coarse (and expensive!) rasps, and large mallet gouges, to advantage during roughing, and on occasion, I still use these tools.

Nevertheless, so far, nothing beats the Dish Wheel for rapid, controlled wood removal. The Dish Wheel is simply the best roughing tool I have ever touched to wood. Spinning at 11,000 RPM on the spindle of my 7-AMP  4 & ½” angle grinder, this tool takes as little or as much wood per pass as I desire to take. Granted, I do not desire to remove massive amounts of wood in a hurry. I prefer to make controlled cuts along the curves I designed for the finished piece, either a wall hanging or a freestanding 3-D sculpture.

I have no doubt that a more powerful angle grinder could increase removal dramatically during roughing. Yet for me, I like to take my time and get it right and get it done. Roughing is the dirtiest thing I do, but getting it right is more important than getting it done quickly. My main goal is to escape injury during the process, as roughing is also the most dangerous work I do. Happily, I remain injury free after almost 50 years of sculpting wood.

My Review: 

As a wood artist, I am keenly aware of the adage told to me by a master of stone sculpture who said, “you can take it off, but you can’t put it back.” It seems so obvious, yet the emotional impact of too much removal will drain away inspiration like pulling the plug in a bathtub. I know the feeling too well...

Thus, this tool allows for controlled removal, and that is what I need, and what I want in any tool. Being too aggressive on one-of-kind chunks of highly-figured hardwood isn’t worth the risk. The adage above, after all, is true, “…you can’t put it back.”

Make no mistake however; attached even to a six or seven amp angle grinder weighing in at only four pounds or less, the work this wheel does requires focus and a constantly firm grip. It is not a toy. But man, it sure lifts creativity up to a whole new level of inspiring possibilities.

I also own other Kutzall dish wheels; they represented real innovation when I bought those years ago and I still use them when the task calls for their specific advantage. However, the Dish Wheel takes the innovation beyond anything else I have used.

For example, I really appreciate how Kutzall’s new design further reinforced each individual carbide tooth: With the base of every tooth widened significantly from the new design, tooth wear and breakage should be minimal. Still, as with any high RPM tool, it is always best to let the tool do the work and not be too aggressive.

Finally, I have found from many pounds of chips on the ground that the wheels work best when they lightly touch down on the wood surface, and then lifted off while in motion laterally, like a small airplane landing and taking off, landing and taking off, etc.   It seems to me the ability to use a light touch while simultaneously removing the amount of wood I want to remove is what makes these tools so extraordinary.  

Kudos to Kutzall for continuing to innovate and lead the field among “speed carving” tool makers.

Want to test one out for yourself? Starting December 1st, you can visit the shop and pick up your own Extreme – Very Coarse coating tool!

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