After the details have been ironed out in miniature, carvers
have to consider their tools to ensure they have the right ones
necessary to achieve every detail of the sculpture. A must-have
implement for every serious ice carver is a chain saw. In fact,
many carvers own more than one. Ice carvers do not use traditional
oils for lubrication, as these could stain the ice. Instead,
the friction of the saw melts the ice, and the water provides
lubrication for the chain.
ice sculpting tools include die grinders, Dremel® tools, angle grinders
and chisels. Ice-specific bits for these tools can be pricey;
however, they require less maintenance. "Wood would dull
the bits quite quickly, ice doesn't," Mr. Tuinstra said.
"The bit will stay sharp for a year."
Pearce shows off his nail board, used for sanding the
Michael Tuinstra and his assorted tools, including a clothes
ice sculptors modify tools or make their own for working with
ice. A nail board is easy to make and is great for "sanding"
an ice block. It's created by driving several screws through
a piece of plywood and leaving them to stick out about 1/2"
on the other side. With handles attached to the backside, it's
one monster of a sander. "It looks like a nail bed,"
Mr. Hayes said. "You can shape the block of ice by taking
out the lumps."
A surprise implement in nearly every ice carver's toolbox is
an electric clothes iron. It's one of the best tools for cementing
two flat pieces of ice together. Carvers quickly pass the iron
over the ice blocks a few times, which flattens and melts them
slightly. The residual water fuses the blocks together. Small
torches are useful for melting specific parts of an ice block.