Custom Fish Carving Burrs
Return to Carving Burrs

Below is a complete list of the burrs I use for fish carving.  Many of the SABURR TOOTH burrs shown are my custom designs I had produced for fish carving applications.  These are the shapes I have used for years, either homemade versions or in a different friction material altogether.  Combining my favorite shapes with their high speed friction surface produced a line of carving burrs I know other carvers will benefit from as well.  If you would like to try a couple for yourself, order them here or call, use them on your next carving and they dont outperform every other burr you have ever used send them back for a full refund. 

Below are some of these burrs with a few others still in production that will be posted here as they become available.  

I grouped them in sets below for those looking to save a few dollars and purchase the collection all at once, or in sub-sets.  And I also listed the burrs individually for those adding to a current burr collection or building as they go.  Each burr has an explanation as to its use. 

I am not a big advocate of purchasing multiple burrs that perform the same task.  So my "sets" below contain many crossover burrs that cover different applications and only in the grits I prefer.  I have personally used every shape they offer and these are the shapes I found most useful for fish carving.  I only sell the shapes I use most often. 

 


Click to Enlarge
15 Piece SABURR TOOTH Fish Carving Set
Order Below

Burr Shape Descriptions

A- 3/4" x 1 1/4" Extra Coarse Ball Nose 1/4" Shaft
The ball nose burrs are two burrs in one - the rounded tip shapes like a sphere and the flat sides shape like a cylinder.  A good all around rough shaping burr I use to bulk out habitat components quickly (driftwood, coral, rocks and bases).  The aggressive nature of this large burr removes excess stock quickly and will not clog up on green wood or tree bark like other grits will.  If you enjoy free form carving - allowing your imagination to shape the wood block as you go this burr is for you.  I also like it as the primary shaping burr in my CopyCarver when used with a matching stylus (available on CopyCarver.com).  The round tip shapes the fish while the flat sides cut out the profile to the pattern used.  Again a 2-in-1 cutter.  This burr is also available in Course (green colored) but since I don't see a significant difference in the final wood surface afterwards to warrant its slower carving speed I prefer the extra course version instead.  When I am bulking out a carving my favorite burrs are always the ones I don't have to wait on while they work.  The real fun for me comes when I am carving with a burr that performs out there on the edge just ahead of me the entire time.  And that's where this burr loves to go when you run up the rpms and let it carve.  And as with any carving burr - the more aggressive the cutting surface the more difficult it is to control at low speed.  At low speed the cutting edges are more likely to snag the wood fibers on the surface and pull the burr in the direction of the motor rotation.  Forcing you to fight for control the entire time your using it.  At high speed the same burr is spinning too quickly to snag and the aggressive burr just slides on the wood surface vaporizing everything in its path never really getting any traction to pull in one direction or another, allowing you effortless control in any direction.  A good analogy would be to compare it to a car sitting on a jack stand with the transmission in gear running at part throttle on a dirt road.  If you were to knock that car off the stands the tires would grip the road surface instantly and launch the car forward dragging you behind it.  Same scenario, only now the cars engine is racing at full throttle before you knock it off the stand.  The tires hit the ground spinning so fast they cant get a grip to launch the car forward and it just sits there as if hovering over the road surface as the tires spin at full speed spraying a steady stream of gravel as the tires tear into the road surface..  The PSI (pounds per square inch) of downward force in both examples are the same - yet only the second example tore into the road surface while eliminating the forward thrust.  So back to wood - the high rpms keep you above the grip threshold of an aggressive burr, allowing it to just sit there and spin while the friction surface of the burr tears into the wood surface with ease.  With power carving speed always dictates the level of control and cutting performance.  The more aggressive the burr the faster it needs to spin for you to retain directional control.  Also the larger or more aggressive the burr the more horsepower you need to maintain that speed.  That never changes no matter what brand or type of carving burr you are using.   So if your running a low HP 15,000 - 18,000 rpm power carving system you may want to consider the Course or Fine version of this burr instead of the extra course.  If you run a high HP 26,000 rpm Mastercarver or similar system go for the extra course version of this burr and let it fly!  You will love the results.

  

B- 3/4" x 1 1/4" Fine Ball Nose 1/4" Shaft
This is a great clean up burr to follow up the rough shaping done with burr "A".  The fine grit surface can be run at low speeds with excellent control.  Held at a 45 degree angle the round tip can carve the same features as a 3/4" Sphere shaped burr.  Making it also two burrs in one.  I also like this burr for outlining the caudal peduncle where it flows into the caudal fin.  I can use the side of the burr to shape the caudal fin then use the tip to create the soft outline of the caudal peduncle without having to change burrs - again a true two in one burr.  I just started using the ball nose shape for carving fins and like it allot.  The rounded edge eliminates any surface damage the sharp edged cylinders can cause if your not careful while carving fins.  The rounded edges make it impossible to knick the flat surface of fins while carving.  Because it works so well I have them producing a new line of burrs just like this one, only both ends of the burr are rounded giving it a pill shape.  I increased the barrel size to 1" for the 1/4" shaft version and created a 3/4", 1/2" and 3/8" version in 1/8" drive.  Those will be available here in a few weeks as a fin carving set.  Only available in Fine. 

 

C- 1" x 1" Extra Coarse Solid Cylinder Safety Tip 1/4" Shaft
I had this burr designed to replace the 1"x1" sanding drum sleeves I have used for years.  At first they produced me a carbide sleeve to slide onto the rubber mandrel used with the sanding sleeves I was using.  The results were improved cutting speed but the vibration of the heavier sleeve held in place by a distorted rubber mandrel was a problem.  So to eliminate the run-out condition that caused the vibration they CNC machined a solid one piece blank and then applied their carbide friction surface.  The result is a smooth running high speed cylinder that puts my old sanding drums to shame.  When it comes to roughing out fish bodies I have yet to find a better burr shape than a safety tip cylinder.  The large flat cutting surface of a large cylinder can carve a level surface better than any other burr shape.  And the control and even cutting speed are second to none.  The advantage of a cylinder shape over any other shape is the uniform cutting speed across the entire face of the burr.  With each revolution the same number of cutting teeth rotate across the surface.  Unlike a sphere, flame or taper where the number of cutting teeth are reduced as the diameter of the burr tapers.  Reducing the number of teeth tearing at the wood surface across the face of the burr with each revolution slows the cutting speeds of the burr across the face.  In essence creating dead areas within the burr cutting surface.  With a cylinder, its not an issue because the shape is the same diameter from tip to base. I cover this in detail on the Tools and Equipment DVD Course.  This burr and the 3/4" version in 1/8" shaft are the two burrs I use most for rough shaping fish blanks in the 6" to 24" range.  Both are must have burrs for fish carving in my opinion.  The smooth top allows me to cut in fin bases for anal and dorsal fins when those fins are carved as part of the blank.   

 

D- 1" x 1" Fine Solid Cylinder Safety Tip 1/4" Shaft   
Same burr as above and a perfect choice for all the same reasons.  However this burr in the Fine grit version is more of a clean-up burr for me after doing the rough shaping with the extra course version.  And until I warmed up to the ball nose shape for carving fins this was my main fin carving burr for carving fins on larger carvings and habitat vegetation.  This cutting surface cuts wood quickly and leaves behind a clean finish ready for final sanding.  The uniform height of each carbide hair reduces the amount of bruising and tear out to the wood surface common with other brands and types of burrs, making final sanding quick and easy.

 

E - 1/4" x 1 3/4" Fine Taper 1/4" Shaft
Good all around habitat burr for drilling and boring holes for base construction and saltwater coral carvings.  I can drill various cavity shapes at different depths with this one burr while carving saltwater base rock.  Instead of using a handful of different sized drill bits.  And the results are not as man made looking.  The Fine grit bores holes quickly and the results can be detailed without pre-sanding since the amount of tearing is minimal.  I prefer the Fine grit for this burr only because the extra course and course versions have too few of teeth working for me per revolution.  This type of burr is a perfect example of how a finer grit with more teeth can out perform a more aggressive burr with fewer cutting teeth.  When it comes to small diameter burrs you will always see me favor the fine grit over the extra course versions because of that.  Extra Course and Course cutting surfaces loose their effectiveness when the tooth count drops to just a few teeth per revolution.

 

F- 1/2" Fine Sphere 1/4" Shaft
This burr is primarily a habitat burr, great for texturing rock and coral.  Also works well to final shape driftwood carvings spaces where the larger ball nose burrs above cant get into.  Since this set has a the 3/4" sphere shape covered in burr "B" this burr bridges the gap between the 3/8" and 1/4" versions included in 1/8" shafts giving you full coverage in a round burr from 3/4" on down to 1/4".

 

G- 3/4" x 3/4" Extra Course Safety Tip Cylinder 1/8" Shaft (DISCONTINUED)
This burr is just a smaller version of burr "C" above.  It too replaced the 3/4" x 3/4" sanding drum sleeves I have used for years.  The one piece design runs smooth and the 3/4" cylinder diameter is the largest of it's kind on the market in 1/8" drive.  No other manufacturer offers one this large in 1/8" shaft.  I prefer this burr in an 1/8" shaft over a 1/4" shaft because I use it in my Detail Pro handpiece where the cylinder diameter is larger than the handpiece collar.  Allowing me to get in close to the carving surface without the handpiece hitting the surface and affecting the carving angle.  This same burr in a 1/4" shaft version is slightly smaller than the larger handpiece handle diameter.  Which prevents you from laying the side of the burr on the carving surface while carving.  The handpiece hits the surface first forcing you to carve at an angle where only the upper half of the cylinder can reach the wood surface.  When at all possible I always purchase rough out burr shapes larger than the diameter of the handpiece I plan to use it in.  Allowing me to use the entire surface of the burr without the handpiece getting in the way.  As I mentioned above, this is one of the most used burrs in my studio.  Only because it can run in my smaller Detail Pro handpiece.  I also have this same burr in Course version (green) for those using smaller handheld rotary motors.  The smaller HP units you see sold in home centers and hardware stores cant drive the extra course version of this burr, the drag is too much for those little motors.  You will find that course version on the full line page. 

 

H - 3/4" x 3/4" Fine Safety Tip Cylinder 1/8" Shaft (DISCONTINUED)
Same as burr "D" above, just in a finer surface.  Used as a clean up burr following the extra course version after initial rough out.  And makes an excellent fin carving burr.  Burrs "C - D - G - H" are without question the most used burrs in the shop.  

 

I - 1/2" x 1/2" Fine Safety Tip Cylinder 1/8" Shaft
Same as the above cylinders - used the same as above, just for smaller fish carvings.  I use this burr in place of the 3/4" version for doing smaller fish under 6" for shaping the body and for carving smaller fins.  Since the bulk of my work is larger fish this burr isn't used as much as the larger versions.  But I wouldn't be without it, because when you need it nothing else will do.  A great burr for doing smaller saltwater reef fish.  I don't use the course or extra course versions because at this smaller size the tooth count drops bellow being an efficient cutter by my standards.  The Fine grit will out carve the Course and Extra Course in speed and finish at this size.

 

J- 3/8" x 1/2" Fine Safety Tip Cylinder 1/8" Shaft
Same as "I" above only slightly smaller for smaller fish carvings.  Small fish body shaping and fins.  Another great burr for doing smaller saltwater reef fish and baitfish.

 

K - 1/4" x 3/4" Fine Safety Tip Cylinder 1/8" Shaft
Again, same as above - just for even smaller fish yet.  This is the rough out burr I use for baitfish and lapel pins.  It also comes into play in blocking out head features after the initial rough out.  Since it removes wood so effortlessly I can quickly sketch in the head features and frame in key areas for detail carving later.  I also like this burr for shaping in detail features in rocks and driftwood before switching over to the Micro Carver and detail burrs. 

 

L - 3/8" Flame Fine 1/8" Shaft
Strictly a habitat workhorse.  I use it allot to shape out habitat components. 

 

 


M- 1/4" Taper Fine 1/8" Shaft
Another habitat workhorse and fin slot cutter / tuner.

 

N- (DISCONTINUED)


O- 3/4" Rotary Saw Fine 1/8" Shaft
This is a great burr for cutting in fin slots and blocking out features in rocks.  The cutting path of the Fine grit is in most cases an exact match to the thickness of the fins I insert often.  It tracks straight making it easy to cut clean straight fin slots. 

 

P- 1/2" Rotary Saw Fine 1/8" Shaft
Same as above- just a smaller version for smaller fish.

 

Q- 3/8" Course Sphere 1/8" Shaft
I use this burr often with the smaller version below to clear excess wood from the mouth interior prior to using the extended shaft burr above.  The Course surface runs cooler than the Fine version making it ideal for boring and hollowing areas that often burn up ruby burrs.  This burr is also an excellent habitat burr as well for blocking in detail features prior to final detail carving.  Both smaller sizes are great for carving corals and fine tuning driftwood features.

R- 1/4" Course Sphere 1/8" Shaft
Same uses as above - just a smaller version.

 

 

 


Click to Enlarge
15 Piece SABURR TOOTH Fish Carving Set

$199.00
Order Below

 

  
9 Piece Basic SABURR TOOTH Shaping Burr Set $139.50
See above descriptions
Order Below


4 Piece SABURR TOOTH 1/4" Drive Starter Set $72.00
See above descriptions
Order Below

 

Fish Carving Burr Sets

Price Order

15 Piece SABURR TOOTH Fish Carving Set
(Shown Above)

$199.00  

9 Piece Basic SABURR TOOTH Shaping Burr Set
(Shown Above)

$139.50  

 

4 Piece SABURR TOOTH 1/4" Drive Starter Set
(Shown Above)

$72.00  

 

Individual Carving Burrs shown above

 

3/4" x 1 1/4" Extra Course Ball Nose 1/4" Shaft $21.50  

3/4" x 1 1/4" Fine Ball Nose 1/4" Shaft $21.50  

1" x 1" Extra Course Solid Cylinder Safety Tip 1/4" Shaft $18.50  

1" x 1" Fine Solid Cylinder Safety Tip 1/4" Shaft    $18.50  

1/4" x 1 3/4" Fine Taper 1/4" Shaft 17.50  

1/2" Fine Sphere 1/4" Shaft 18.50  

3/4" x 3/4" Extra Course Safety Tip Cylinder 1/8" Shaft 14.95 Discontinued
3/4" x 3/4" Fine Safety Tip Cylinder 1/8" Shaft 14.95 Discontinued
1/2" x 1/2" Fine Safety Tip Cylinder 1/8" Shaft 14.95  

3/8" x 1/2" Fine Safety Tip Cylinder 1/8" Shaft 14.95  

1/4" x 3/4" Fine Safety Tip Cylinder 1/8" Shaft 14.95  

3/8" Flame Fine 1/8" Shaft 14.95  

1/4" x 3/4" Taper Fine 1/8" Shaft 14.95  

1/4" x 1/2" Extended Shaft Fine Flame 1/8" Shaft 21.95  
Discontinued
3/4" Rotary Saw Fine 1/8" Shaft 14.95

 

 

1/2" Rotary Saw Fine 1/8" Shaft 14.95

 

3/8" Course Sphere 1/8" Shaft 14.95  

1/4" Course Sphere 1/8" Shaft 14.95  

 


Sanding Drum Mandrels and Sleeves

3/4" x 3" Sleeveless Padded Sanding Drum 1/4" Shaft $16.25

1/2" x 2 1/2" Sleeveless Padded Sanding Drum 1/4" Shaft $13.25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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