Arbortech have recently released their newest accessory for the Mini Carver and Mini Grinder and asked me to have a squiz. Let me introduce this spunky little cutter, the Mini Pro.
In the interests of full disclosure, Arbortech have sent this to me for free but are not paying me for the review. They don’t get to see it before I publish, so I’m free to give it a gobful if I need to.
Lets be honest, Australians – and this includes Arbortech – are not good at naming things. We have Tasmanian Oak, which for a start is not an oak and also goes by the name Victorian Ash, Messmate and a host of other names. A galah is both a native bird and a native idiot. If we can, we’ll throw an O on the end to every possible word and preferably abbreviate it to two syllables.
Arbortech aren’t drongo’s, they’re just regular Australians. This review would have been much much shorter if Arbortech had of just called a spade a spade and named this the Mini Smoother, while the Mini Industrial could be renamed the Mini Rougher, as that’s where the two products sit.
On initial inspection I thought one might replace the other – the Pro costs more than the Industrial after all. However, after using it briefly it was pretty self-evident where each product falls.
The Mini-Industrial, which is the standard cutter available
for the newer Mini Carver or an upgrade option for the Mini Grinder, is a
roughing tool. Like nearly all Arbortech products it removes material fast with
a reasonable level of control. I’d be telling porkies if I said that the Mini
Industrial gave a surface you could finish from – it requires aggressive
sanding to remove the tool marks.
You get “big picture” control, but at a macro level the difference between early and late wood can be enough to cause undulating cuts. This is the downside of any tool that removes material quickly.
In the past I’ve used carbide burr discs to smooth out the surface, followed by heavy sanding. And in this space is where the Mini-Pro fits and is interesting.
The Mini Pro is a smoothing tool and does a bonza job. It can still remove a great deal of material, and it still cuts wood by removing shavings rather than dust… it’s just at a slower rate than typical Arbortech tools. Now you can stay in the Arbortech system, and not be spewing that you need another brand to get a clean finish.
For the dags out there, the mini pro includes two round carbide cutters that can be rotated or replaced using the included torx screwdriver. Rotate to get a fresh edge, or you can even sharpen it no wuckas using a diamond file. The mini industrial can be sharpened, but not rotated.
The Mini Pro is available for 79 dollary doos in Australia, Europe and America. It includes the blade, allen key and torx key, and comes in some spiffy non-plastic packaging. If you feel like having a stickybeak, head on over to https://www.arbortechtools.com/au/
It isn’t a must have item, but it is a nice to have. It will save you a huge amount of money on abrasives, and a fair bit of time too. It’s priced within cooee of comparable 2 inch carbide burrs, but if the price was $10 less it’d be a no brainer instead of a non-resharpenable burrs.
It’s still a good product, but it should be looked at as part of a system of tools to be more efficient. It’ll benefit hobbyists, but even be more beneficial for professionals where time is money. Oh dang, maybe that’s why it’s called the mini-pro.