These Are the Best Power Tools for Pumpkin Carving

These Are the Best Power Tools for Pumpkin Carving

To me, there’s no better part of spooky season than carving a pumpkin. But what if I told you there was a way to add some power tools into the mix and make this low-key seasonal activity even more exciting? If you love tools as much as I do, you’ll be happy to learn that you can carve pumpkins with a variety of existing power tools, and it’s as fun as it sounds.

Before you grab your power saws, though, you should grab a pair of safety glasses to protect yourself from flying pumpkin guts. Next, put down some newspaper, as usual, to catch drips and globs. I like to separate my pumpkin seeds for roasting, so I use two large bowls—one for seeds and one for the rest of the guts. Ok, let’s get cutting.

How to choose the right saw blade to carve a pumpkin

Photo: Becca Lewis

Saw blades can be pricey and you might not want to spend a ton of money on premium blades for carving a soft squash. The three saws I used were a jigsaw, a sawzall, and an oscillating saw. For a jigsaw, a scroll blade is usually best because it allows you to make tighter turns than a wider blade would. For a sawzall, a demo blade will work fine. The demo blade is designed to cut through multiple materials in one shot, but it’s also cheaper than specialized blades as it will likely only get used once.

Carving a pumpkin with a jigsaw

Photo: Becca Lewis

Using a jigsaw is easily the best option for power-tool pumpkin-carving. Since you can adjust it to cut on a bevel, it’s perfect for cutting out the top of a jack-o-lantern, and since it’s designed to cut smaller, more detailed patterns, it lends itself well to pumpkin carving. Using a jigsaw is a little bit faster than carving by hand, but it can be hard to get into sharp corners.

Carving a pumpkin with a sawzall

Photo: Becca Lewis

Using a sawzall to carve a pumpkin is a wild ride of excess power and speed. You can carve a shape with it, but it’s hard to control and it won’t do tight corners or exacting designs. You have to hold the saw with both hands and it’s tricky to keep the pumpkin still while you’re zipping away. It is, however, really fun to speed through a jack-o-lantern in no time flat.

Carving a pumpkin with an oscillating saw

Photo: Becca Lewis

The oscillating saw is an adequate tool for carving a pumpkin, but it won’t do curves or small cuts easily. The blade can have a hard time making the shapes necessary to connect a design, and it’s difficult to make teeth or other detailed parts of a design. The oscillating tool is speedy, but it’s harder to control the angle, and that can make it difficult to cut out the top of your pumpkin. It works, though, and you can still get a spooky face with it after some trial and error.

Carving a pumpkin with a power drill

Photo: Becca Lewis

Lastly, the power drill is a carving tool you can use to make the iris of a googly eye or to make a pattern with small holes. It’s great for smaller pumpkins that are hard to carve with a saw or a knife, and it’s faster than a skewer would be for poking holes. I would recommend trying a drill bit that is smaller than a quarter inch to make a pattern of dots so the design can blend together. Larger holes will let out too much light and make the design run together.

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