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Making Sawdust ... Really

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  • Making Sawdust ... Really

    Just tried my first few simple cuts (rounded-end slots in a tray ) ... yecchhh! Fumbling around on my own, I've made a couple of observations. Please tell me if there's any truth to them:

    1) I've read around here somewhere that straight cuts are hard to achieve -- usually bend off to the right? I believe I proved that theorum While quite willing to blame the tool, I would imagine that practice & experience will improve my ability to cut straight lines but on my $30 pawn shop find, the blade holder assembly seems a bit off kilter. Also, I think it is missing some sort of spacer in the tensioning rig. How 'true' should the blade setup be?

    2) Related to the above; I noted that the blade wanders more when slack & although I haven't as yet broken the blade, I am wondering what the proper tension should be. Should it be as taut as possible before breaking?

  • #2
    Hi Editor, blade tension is more of a learned thing but it should be taut enough to have a little twang to it when plucked if that makes any sense. Too tight and you start breaking blades. Also square your blade to the table by putting a small square or something you know to be square on your table and up against the blade. Adjust your table accordingly. Hope this helps. Steve
    If This HillBilly Can't Fix it Then it Ain't Broke!!!
    My Gallery
    [email protected]


    • #3
      as for the cut heading right, next time try moving your stool a little off center. to me i sit a little to the right of center , so i dont really notice the angle the cut heads. its all learned things, simple things you will quickly pick up on. just get some scraps and scroll away. Dale
      Dale w/ yella saws


      • #4
        I've also heard that putting a file to the back edge of the blade to round it off can help reduce, not eliminate, the cutting to the right phenomenom.

        Inadequate tension will allow the user to unintentionally 'push' the blade left or right. This becomes more noticable, I believe, when stack cutting though I've never stack cut anything yet. So I've read.

        Craftsman 16" VS, Puros Indios and Sam Adams!
        Scrollin' since Jun/2006

        My Gallery (reciprocal links welcomed)


        • #5
          Straight lines get much easier if you practise them on scrap wood for a while. The amount of deviation varies from blade to blade and person to person so you just need to get used to your own setup. Then it becomes almost second nature to guide the wood at a slight angle to compensate for the bias and get the straight cut you are looking for.

          On the tension, probably better to be too tight than too slack. You could also test the blade by pushing it sideways. Some writers suggest it should not easily push more than about 1/8" out of line.

          If you feed the wood into the blade too aggressively then it is much more likely to wander offline because you'll almost certainly push the blade a little out of line too. If you experiment to see how gently you can move the wood and still have the saw cut it is suprising how little pressure you really need.

          "If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin's egg."

          Saws: AWSF18, Meccano Mk II


          • #6
            Editor, too much tension is better than too little, I have yet to break a blade because of too much tension. The blade tends to cut to the right because of the slight burr on the right side of the blade. Following a straight line will come with practice, if you do start to wander to one side or the other don't try to come back to the line too fast. Just gradually come back to the line otherwise you will most likely overshoot and go off the other side. Try to saw like you drive a car, look ahead of the blade somewhat not right at the blade.
            Practice, practice, practice. Good luck.
            Mick, - Delta P-20

            A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.


            • #7
              Whenever I wander off the line or mess something up, I just remember the words of one of my mentors when I was just starting out: Remember, These are intricate, complex patterns with lots of cuts. Most people won't ever know that you made a mistake.


              • #8
                We Danes are very even tempered. We're always mad about something!


                • #9
                  Blade tension is definitely a learned thing. I broke about six blades on the first piece of my first intarsia project. Then I got the hang of things - what the blade should sound like when plucked, what saw speed is best, and how fast to feed the wood into the blade. It will all come with practice - like riding a bike.
                  Inside every piece of lumber, there is a pile of sawdust waiting to be uncovered



                  • #10
                    Andy now that you have that all figured out just remember most of that will change with the thickness and type of
                    Creator of fine designer sawdust.


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