cutting thin wood

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I want to make some house construction projects with my students. We need to make some 2x4's for the models but they will actually be 1/8" x 1/4". Does anyone have a safe way to make these?. I'm nervous of cutting a finger on the table saw.
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When I need thin strips like this I use the following procedure: I make multiple cuts in the board to the size of one dimension. I then take all the thin strips of wood and tape them together across the ends. Set up saw and make multiple cuts for the other dimension. This usually requires the resetting of the fence for each cut. I find that 4 ft boards work better then 8 ft boards for this. Push sticks, feather boards and masking tape are VERY helpful for this type of operation. (Unless I need more then a few hundred I will normally use a band saw and resaw techniques for the job rather then a table saw) Any one else have a better method or clearer instructions.
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Many ways of doing that but here's one way:
1. Use a "Zero Clearance Insert" 2. Use the TS splitter on a well aligned tablesaw. Insure the fence is aligned to the blade 3. Use push sticks 4. Keep the thin cut to the left side of the blade 5. Use a standard 1/8" thick kerf blade (or make adjustments if using a thin-kerf blade)
2x4 on edge ------------------------ | | | | | | | | | | | _ _ _ _ | | | | | | | | | | | |__| |__| |__| |__| |__| < cut 1/4" plus an RCH deep kerfs - spaced 1/8" apart, 1/8" wide.
After cutting the 1/4" deep kerfs, lay 2x4 on it's side and adjust TS fence so the blade cuts the mini 2x4's off so they are 1/4" wide
6. Repeat starting at step 1. 7. Repeat until the 2x4 is to narrow for you to feel comfortable with. There are jigs you can build or buy that allow cutting thin strips of wood safely without endangering your fingers.
Bob S.
PS - Use at your own risk.....
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i.e. The side away from the fence.
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Maxwell Lol wrote:

Not for me.
I would cut the OP's strips by starting with a 1/4" plank.
- Install a zero clearance insert with a SHORT (low height, shorter than the stock is thick) shop-made splitter - Set the fence for 1/8" - Set the blade height ~ 9-10/32" (1/32-1/16" above the stock. - Use two push BLOCKS (not sticks) to run the stock through. Walk the blocks hand over hand, knowing in advance that the rubber on the bottom of the block will be grooved by the blade. Concentrate the forces down at the splitter and slightly toward the fence. You'll need less force than you'd think. I often stand to the side of the saw, jointer-style for this operation. - Enjoy perfect strips
Go to <http://www.bburke.com/woodworking/shopmadejigsandtools.html and scroll down to the "push blocks with sacrificial pads". The ZCS w/ splitter is easily made like the version shown on the same page.
I've cut miles of thin spruce, maple, poplar, bass, and plywood strips for large scale R/C, as well as oak "slip tongues" for hardwood flooring using this method.
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Thu, Oct 18, 2007, 7:50am snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (BARRY) doth adviseth: <snip> Use two push BLOCKS (not sticks) to run the stock through. Walk the blocks hand over hand, knowing in advance that the rubber on the bottom of the block will be grooved by the blade. Concentrate the forces down at the splitter and slightly toward the fence. You'll need less force than you'd think. I often stand to the side of the saw, jointer-style for this operation. - Enjoy perfect strips Go to <http://www.bburke.com/woodworking/shopmadejigsandtools.html and scroll down to the "push blocks with sacrificial pads". <snip>
That's basically my thoughts. Except I might well use one push block, not two, and one push stick - depending on the mood, chill factor, time of day, etc.. However, I don't buy push sticks or blocks, I make my own. Too pricey, and get chewed up waaaay too fast, to keep buying, and way easy to make anyway. Besides, buy one and it's someone elses idea of what you need.
JOAT "I'm an Igor, thur. We don't athk quethtionth." "Really? Why not?" "I don't know, thur. I didn't athk."
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k wrote:

What wood were you planning to use?
I'd consider getting some 1/8" or 1/4" thick poplar and then do the cutting on the bandsaw. It's been a few years, but Home Depot stocked 1/8" x 4" x 36" poplar at reasonable prices. (it might have been 1/8" x 6" x 24" -- don't recall exactly.)
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k wrote:

We
1/8" > x 1/4". Does anyone have a safe way to make these?. I'm nervous of

Balsa strips from the hobby shop.
An Xacto knife will cut them to length.
Lew

stocked
1/8" x

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Sounds like some good suggestions so far, but you might not even have to make them - Lee Valley has a selection of strips that might work "as is". http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p@840&cat=1,250,43217 They don't list widths, but the 1/8" thick strips might be perfect, or you could somehow trim down the 1/4" strips. Hope this helps, Andy
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I did this some time in the past, and here's what worked for me.
In order to work well for a model, the wood has to be stronger than balsa. I used aspen, but there are other 1/8" thick craft woods available. The pieces also have to be almost exactly uniform to get a good result.
I made a sled out of 3/4" stock and some masonite that would push the wood through the saw with the edge 1/4" away from the blade. I bought 1/8" aspen (about 6 x 24") from Menards. Michaels Hobby has it too.
Using the sled, I didn't have to reset the fence each time, and the results were almost uniform in width. I pressed against the outside edge to keep the wood in place on the sled. When the outside edge got uncomfortably close to the blade, I abandoned the narrow piece and started another.
A few pieces went down the saw slot, I don't know how. A zero clearance plate would have helped, but I didn't make one. With a regular blade, I made almost as much sawdust as product. A band saw would be more efficient.
A light swipe with sandpaper took care of the whiskers, and I got a lot of scale board feet of lumber.
BTW, you and your students will probably discover that you need to make a jig to get anywhere near uniform "stud" spacing.
Old Guy

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On Wed, 17 Oct 2007 19:16:38 -0700, k wrote:

http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action talog&Type=Product&ID568
http://www.mmrca.org/articles/Balsa_Strip_Cutter.pdf
http://www.mmrca.org/articles/Balsa_triangle_cutter.pdf
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On Thu, 18 Oct 2007 05:12:18 -0400, RLM wrote:

http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action talog&Type=Product&ID568
I have one that I made using a piece of plexiglass about the size of a credit card, only the plexiglass is a quarter of an inch thick.
The plexiglass has two holes drilled in it for #4 stove bolts at an angle to allow a single edge razor blade to be mounted so that one corner of the blade extends below the plexiglass. The holes are the distance apart of the notches in the blade to ride on the stove bolts.
I use washers to space the blade the width that I want to cut the wood and secure it all together with #4 nuts. The plexiglass is run along the edge of the wood to cut it in strips.
I use it to cut planks for model boats.
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On Thu, 18 Oct 2007 06:12:05 -0400, RLM wrote:

If your going to cut 1/8" basswood or balsa.
How about a paper cutter. This is on sale now. Set the fence and shear away. I may look into one of these myself. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber05
This may be overkill. It could also be used for pasteboard/drywall and balsa sheathing or clapboard siding although you can buy sheets that look like clapboard. ;-) http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber874
Wet or dry sandpaper makes excellent shingles also. You didn't mention how much detail was going into this project. If you go for lighting, put it in the ceilings. Solar power on the roof with battery backup is getting popular now.
Forget about plumbing.
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wrote:

When cutting small or thin pieces on the table saw, use a much larger piece against the fence to allow a thin slice to fall off away from the saw. It also helps to have a zero-clearance throat plate, featherboard, and your DC running. The larger piece should be squared up and flat on all sides. If you don't have a table saw, a band saw will work reasonably well.
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k wrote:

Craft shop. Balsa wood comes in that size. Cheap.
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On Wed, 17 Oct 2007 19:16:38 -0700, k wrote:

Go to any model railroad hobby shop. Or look at:
http://www.kapplerusa.com /
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I cut some 1/4x1/4 yesterday. It wasn't a big deal. You need something to hold the wood against the fence, and a stick to hold the wood down, but there is no reason to have your fingers near the blade.
If I wanted them in large quantities I would have cut a 1/8" sheet on the bandsaw and then trimmed on the table saw, but I only needed 15'.
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Save yourself the time, cost of set up, dangers of cutting many thin scale boards, cost of a good blade to get decent sticks, and on and on . . . Many reasons why it is just cheaper, more consistent, and better to just buy what you need. I highly recommend Balsa or Basswood.
Several years ago I wanted to build historically accurate scale houses, not doll houses per se', but smaller desk top homes with scale dimensional boards that are not just the today's standard 2 x 4's, 6's, 8's, 10's, and 12's. I had to cut my own to get what I wanted and I have learned considerably since then.
If you need help with your project, I can help you and/or point you in a good direction. If you need the supplies, I can help you there also. Working with educators to build houses, bridges and towers for the Science Olympiad competitions, and in general working with wood in the class is what I do. My prices are cost effective for teachers and students, all the wood is in bundle quantities and well taken care of.
If you only need enough for a few students and are building very simple and limited structures of only a few walls, any hobby or craft store will probably have enough in stock for you? Maybe, they are limited on quantities and condition varies. And most of all, you will need more wood than generally comes to mind when you think about building a little scale house! History has taught me that but I live for physics, engineering, automata's, and math.
You can respond directly if you need any further help and if you need the wood, go to my site located below. Don't worry about the site seal. Trying to renew after changing servers has proven to be a real headache and long process.
Have fun with the process, Patrick
At the risk of self promotion,
www.woodbythebundle.com
P. G. Bray's "WoodByTheBundle.com" Support your local Science Olympiad team and future scientist or engineer.
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http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/etip111700wb.html
is an excellent and safe way to cut the thin stuff..
k wrote:

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Thu, Oct 18, 2007, 7:14pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@worldnet.att.net (PatBarber) doth post: http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/etip111700wb.html is an excellent and safe way to cut the thin stuff..
OK, that's your opinion. Not mine. Apparently the guy is standing behind the wood - not good in case of kickback. Where's his left hand? And, what's the lef hand doing? I'd be leery of my hand slipping on top of that board. I'd be too scared to cut that way. And, no push blocks, or push sticks?
JOAT "I'm an Igor, thur. We don't athk quethtionth." "Really? Why not?" "I don't know, thur. I didn't athk."
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