cutting an ice carving with a chainsaw

ice sculpting tools

Ice is hard and cold, but at the same time, it's a wonderful sculpting medium...with the right tools. This page is an attempt to collect and organize much of the tool info on the site. Aside from rebuilding the links to the various pages, however, I haven’t had much time to update it, so I’d imagine it’s not exactly up to date.

ice carving tools & equipment

Impossible as it is to separate tools from technique, this page is an attempt to focus more on the tools themselves. Look at the techniques page for more about how to use ice sculpting tools and equipment.

emphasis on SAFETY!

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to hear that ice sculpting tools are dangerous. A cold, sharp, and delicate medium combined with often extreme work conditions and speedy material removal? And maybe electricity + water too? Yes, that sounds dangerous. So we’ll start with the safety-related entries first.

chainsaw kickback hazards
dealing with electricity and water
power tool safety
wire mesh safety glasses

tools: various

Experienced ice sculptors often employ a wide variety of tools to get the job done. Some are garden variety tools that you can get just about anywhere while others are specialized and hard to get.

my toolbox
basic tools
chainsaw: splitting a block of ice (video)
chainsaw: hazards of kickback
chisels: restoration, before
chisels: restoration, after
die grinders: Makita GD0800C & GE0600
electric blower
ice pick
Junichi saw
power tool safety
score stick

tools: bit by bit (die grinder bits)

Some of the most specialized ice sculpting tools are the bits that ice sculptors use in die grinders. These bits enable ice carvers to texture, shape, and cut the ice in many different ways. Artists will change out the bits on their die grinders depending on their needs at the time.

bullet burr bit, Makita GD0800C & GE0600 die grinders
conical endmill comparison (video)
Brice bubble bit
power tool safety

tools: CNC machines

As ice sculptors try various methods to efficiently create ice art and produce ice wares, new technologies are sometimes adopted. One of the most successful technologies available to modern ice sculptors is the CNC machine. Adapted to work in cold temperatures, the CNC offers remarkable precision that’s especially useful for ice logos and specialized designs in ice.

Saab ice car
man vs. machine
CNC: an ice carving robot
rise of the machines
ice portraits

display equipment

Ice art isn’t good for much if nobody ever sees it. Displaying ice sculptures presents a couple of unusual challenges. First, they melt, so you have to keep the meltwater under control. Second, they’re usually heavy, so trays and tables need to be able to handle the weight. And finally, a poorly lit ice sculpture is an invisible ice sculpture. So proper lighting is crucial!

emergency ice tray
tubing tips
basic LED lighting
pumps for ice bars
trays for larger carvings (bars, etc.)
meltwater drainage container
disposable display trays
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