Mark Twain wrote a story about King Arthur’s Court, and now you’re reading a review about King Arthur’s tools by two hillbillies. We were asked by Woodcraft Magazine to review King Arthur’s tools of Tallahassee, Fl. and give an honest opinion about them. The tools sent to us were the Lancelot chainsaw rotary cutter, the extra coarse Galahad blue carbide grinding wheel, the Igraine sanding disc, and the Guinevere flex shaft sanding tool.
Let us begin by saying that we’ve been carving since 1987, and have had 19 years to discover which tools we like. If a new tool doesn’t immediately perform better than whatever we are currently using, then we don’t see any reason to switch. We’re just funny in that way!
We carve large chunks of wood into full-sized wildlife creations, and used King Arthur’s tools extensively for several weeks. To make a story quick – two of the tools we liked and two we didn’t.
Lancelot Chainsaw Rotary Cutter
The guard on the Lancelot must be kept on for safety reasons, but it restricts the usefulness of the tool. When moving into the wood in a forward direction the Lancelot has a tendency to suddenly gouge out the wood. You’re left with wood you didn’t want removed and words that shouldn’t be heard in public. The tool can only go backwards without gouging out the wood. You have much better control when you are pulling backward.. We have more experience and can go faster with a chain saw. The Lancelot can only cut as deep as the safety guard will allow (about 2 inches). We could only remove wood in small chips with the Lancelot, where, with a chainsaw, large slabs of wood hit the floor.
If you do not have access to a chainsaw nor any need for one, then this tool becomes a viable option for removing large areas of wood. But for us it just doesn’t perform. We’ll stick with our old electric chainsaw.
X-Course Round Profile Blue Galahad
We have worked with similar carbide bits before. This blue one was the coarsest we have ever used and removed the wood in a hurry. The wood virtually melted away before this blue spinning disk. We would have loved for Galahad to have worked well because it really carves fast, but we took it off the machine and won’t use it again. It’s too extreme!
The teeth are so wide apart that, unlike the finer bits, it grabs the wood suddenly and unexpectedly. The angle grinder is almost uncontrollable when tearing through the wood.
Joe and I are both large men and we had trouble controlling the grinder with this bit on it. The patch of skin missing from my stomach where the grinder violently jumped from the wood and hit me attests to this fact. We removed the disc from the angle grinder, replaced it with a finer cutting disc and continued carving. The finer tooth disc took longer to remove the wood, but without the violent jumping. We didn’t feel comfortable handling the Galahad any further. Shame too. We loved how it tore through the wood. Not so much how it tore through my skin.
Igraine Sanding Disk
If you have a large surface area to sand down, then this is the tool you want. We like using this on large concave or convex surfaces. We had good control. It went smoothly over the wood and left a nice finish. If we were carving another full sized elk, we would use it to take the wood away quickly to a fairly smooth finish. (It wouldn’t be the final sanding, but it would save a lot of time) It isn’t made for small areas but it certainly works well for large ones. This tool will be used a lot in our shop. I’m not crazy about angle grinders, but I can adjust my ways for this surface smoothing device.
Guinevere Flex Shaft Sanding Tool
Now this is one of those tools that in the first minute of usage you know it’ll be used until the tool dies. Over the next few years the Guinevere will help us create mountains of fine sawdust. This is a fine finishing and sanding tool with a flex shaft – a very smooth, quiet-running motor turning sanding tools at the correct rpm. It has a pneumatic head for attaching a sanding sleeve. The cylinder sleeve worked nicely on flat areas as well as concave or convex curves. We used it for sanding muscle areas as well as the edges of boards. It worked on things as small as life-sized foxes, and as large as a full-sized deer. We used it as a specialty tool in tight areas where other tools won’t reach. It’s not the only sanding tool you need, but it is great for special purposes. It is a nice thing to have in the shop arsenal. Any sanding tool that fits into a drill chuck will fit in this tool as well.
When reading the instructions about the Guinevere we had reservations about overworking the motor. The recommended operating time is only fifteen minutes, followed by fifteen minutes resting time. Shoot – we don’t get that kind of working conditions in the shop. Why should our tools? But we found we very seldom worked the tool anywhere close to its fifteen minutes limited operating time. Now if you’re into production work this would become a serious drawback. But we’re picking it up, putting it down, and not running it for fifteen straight minutes. It’s a keeper!
Therefore, folks, Guinevere was quiet, flexible, and got the job done and Igraine was a smooth operator. They will both remain at our round table, but Galahad was too rough and Lancelot just didn’t perform well. We banished both to the unused tool shelf.