Suggestion for best Vbit

I am still coming to grips with myS3 and have the 301& 302 vbits but no others vbits yet.

I plan to engrave a Chinese dragon in to the top of a small jewellery box. The box is made of pine and has been painted white.The box lid is only 2 mm thick but I will add a 5 mm insert inside to give me more meat for the Vcarve. My initial setup actually cut thru the lid in the simulation.

I have set up a trial cut using both of these to look at the simulations and gauge the level of detail each provide but think I probably need a 30 degree bit to see what gives the best result. The image I will be converting and cutting is attached.

I would like some suggestions on what bits would be recommended by some of those more experienced in this type of project.

As this is my first try at this sort of project I fully expect to break at least one bit and will buy 2 or 3 so I really don’t want to shell out for an Amana or Whiteside yet…I’ll probably get something from Drillman or similar.

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Hi @Gerryattrick,

The first thing I’ll say, which is not going to be helpful I’m afraid, is that pine is unfortunately not the best for intricate v-carving (YMMV…), it doesn’t hold detail as well as other tighter-grain woods.

That said, since this is what you are dealing with, and your dragon is probably going to be small (jewellry box sized…) with lots of details I would do two things:

  • use a 30deg vbit or even a lower angle, as you said. I used a 25° single flute vbit for this samuraï and absolutely fell in love with that tool. It was not even particularly expensive (but I sourced it locally in France so it won’t help you). It looks sharp because it is (very much so)



  • use Advanced V-carve to set a depth limit of your choosing, probably 1.5mm to 2mm in your case? since that dragon has a mix of very narrow features and wider areas (e.g. the legs), depth-limited v-carving is a must I think.

And then…flatness and levelness of the stock with respect to the machine axes will be absolutely critical to get a good result, any minute difference in surface height and you will get either uncut areas or features that are cut too deep/are too wide and detail is lost. And there…I’m afraid the only sure way to get this is to surface the stock just before v-carving, and without removing it from the machine in between. Since you already painted the box white…not ideal, but maybe consider re-surfacing the top, then re-painting, then v-carving. You may get away with not doing it, but all bets are off, and since you only have one shot at this…

Precise Z-zeroing will also be a must, as for all v-carving jobs. If you are going to zero manually using the paper method, using really small increments at the end and stop as soon as you feel the bit barely catching. Those low angle vbits are so pointy, that it is quite easy to jog them down a little too much and have a zero that ends up being a hair below where it should be…but at that level of detail, it matters.

I would not worry about breaking vbits in pine, it’s so soft that unless you have your feeds and speeds very wrong, you are more likely to get a messy cut than breaking anything.

Finally: an epoxy inlay after applying a coat of shellac would make the v-carve pop-up really nicely, but that’s a discussion for another day!


Hi Julien,
Au contraire…your response is very helpful. Normally I would not have chosen pine…I do wood turning and know it’s not the best but I hope the paint might make it better than unpainted. I may yet resurface the box as the insert will give more “meat” to allow that. I plan on making a couple of attempts on spare pine stock first to see how things hold up.
I selected a couple of 30 deg bits thru Drillman and left them in the cart to see what any recommendations might be. I’ll go ahead with the order and give things a try. If all else fails I can start again using one of the files from CutRocket…maybe from John Clarke. I have some lovely Silky Oak but it’s probably too good to vcarve. It certainly won’t get painted! I also have some 40,000 year old Swamp Kauri I could use but only after I know I have the technique right.
I love the work on the Samurai…was it a file from Etsy or similar?
Thanks for taking time to reply.


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Wow. I had to look that up, quite interesting.

Yes. It does not seem to be available anymore (it was from “ExpertOutit” seller) but there are similar ones there.

The file in question, as can be seen from the watermark is from istock and is currently available:

Pine is cheap — I’d go ahead and try it, just spray it w/ a hardening fixative first, cheating the depth a bit high, then re-spray (w/ it still in place on the machine) and then jog down and make a finishing pass — it may surprised you (and the practice would be good before committing w/ something precious).

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Hi Will,
I spotted the issue with the dragon after I posted. I got it from a site that promoted free images. I’ll try it for practise now I have it and, provided it works ok I’ll look to purchase although price seems high and I might look at Etsy…have not really looked at them before.
I’m hoping the paint might give stability to the pine for the carve. I prefer to use a decent wood…NZ pine is very fast growing and hence softer than overseas varieties. Unfortunately our BIG BOX stores like Lowes and HF don’t stock anything much other than pine. Anything else takes a fair struggle to locate or requires purchase on large/expensive quantities.
I have plenty of time to complete the project…unusual for me😉

I’ve been there…then I happened to fall in love with bamboo, and ever since I have become very familiar with the kitchen aisle at Ikea.


Oh man - Yes!

Then you want more, and they don’t have pieces big enough. So you start to main-line the big stuff from Plyboo and other sellers who will sell you 1.5" x 26" x 97" bamboo countertops or 4’ x 8’ x 3/4" sheets without knowing you are an addict, just looking for the next big piece of bamboo. :grin:

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LOL…I think a chain here called Briscoes has Bamboo cutting boards so maybe I’ll loiter there next time I am close to an outlet. No Ikea in NZ yet but rumour has it they are coming.


I was lucky enough to visit NZ a few years back, what a fantastic country!
The beaches on the west side of the South Island were absolutely covered in all sorts of lovely looking hardwood logs/trunks. People seemed to have been helping themselves to it. I thought that if I lived there I would be down there every day!
I take it that you are nowhere near this free “shop” Alan?

No…I am almost diagonally opposite…up North and on the East coast…a place called Whangamata at the bottom of the Coromandel Peninsular. We were recently voted “Best Beach”.

Next month Jan and I are off to do a 2 week tour of the South Island with my son and his partner… Picton, Hanmer, Christchurch, Akaroa, Hokitika, Westport, Mt Cook, Queenstown and Milford Sound. Mrs Google will give you an idea of the joys on that trip😉.
Not too much decent wood on our beach…mainly offcuts from local commercial pine forests😩

Hi Alan,
I am from NZ originally from Auckland but down in Oamaru.One of the best woods so far I have used is Silver beech,wow it machines very nice and that pale pink colour comes up well.I got it from Mt Roskill in Auckland.Another good one is the macracarpa,we bought some down with us from trees on the property and the cnc has done it proud.

@Julien where did you get that 25 degree bit from?

My favorite local (French) dealer:


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Oh dear…Jan will not be pleased! I am about to hunt out some Cherry Beech thanks to your post🤪
My fave for turning is Silky Oak…it has a lovely silver fleck. I have a nice piece I plan to use for a CNC box build.l

Pity my school french,which used to be fluent when I lived in England, is now almost non existant or they might have a potential customer

Julien, Is there a state side option for the bit.

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I coudn’t say, and a quick google search did not come up with anything interesting, but I’m sure other folks here who use 30° or lower vbits will be able to share links

Just clicked Amazon and they have the 25 degree bits for under $10,
Not sure of the quality, however, if you don’t push hard on in/mm per minute you should be fine with one of those.

Your vender does not ship to the U.S. Would you consider ordering 4 of the bits and sending them to me. Happy to compensate you for your time. I can sending the money for the cost of the bits etc. via paypal