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Pumpkin carving with power tools

Using a jigsaw to carve a Jack-o-lantern is

Using a jigsaw to carve a Jack-o-lantern is a macho way to get the job done. Credit: Handout

Now that you've grown your pumpkin (or, in most cases, picked one up at the garden center), you have a few options. You can set it on your porch and be done with it, draw a scary, funny or happy face on it with a Sharpie or carve out a face.

If you decide to carve, you'll find yourself at another 3-pronged fork in the road: do it up old-school with a marker and steak knife, buy a stencil kit and go fancy, or take it to a whole other level and whip out the power tools.

Certainly no on can argue that using a power drill and a jigsaw to carve a pumpkin is a macho way to get the job done. But if you opt to go that route, you're going to need a pumpkin gutter attachment for your power drill -- and some guidance. That's why our friend Mr. Handyman has put together a step-by-step guide that we're sharing here on the Garden Detective blog.

Be sure to take safety precautions, such as wearing protective goggles, and never let children operate power tools.

1. Cut off the top: Using a jigsaw blade is just like using a kitchen knife but with more power.  Plunge the blade in the top of the pumpkin at a 45 degree angle, move in a circular motion and watch how quick and easy it is to open the pumpkin up.

2. Gutting the pumpkin: Buy a Pumpkin Gutter tool for $10 and save 20 minutes of sticking your hands in the gooey center.  Simply insert the gutter into your drill, tighten and make minced meat of your pumpkin guts.

3. Designing your pumpkin: You can use a spade bit to make interesting shapes and unique designs, and coring bits are a great way to make perfectly circular eyes.

4. Intricate Details: Use a linoleum cutter to work on fine details. Unless you are an artist, the best bet for making an intricate design is to print out a pattern and use a thumbtack or pin to mark the lines.

5. Advanced Carvers: One of the biggest raves in pumpkin carving is to chip the flesh away.  Large wood-working chisels are good for removing the top layer of skin or for larger areas of a design. Smaller chisels work well for carving intricate designs.


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