Which saw to use on a book ?

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I need to saw the spines off some books at work in order to feed the individual pages into a very fast scanner (with auto document feeder). These books are internal company documents bound together like a modern softcover book (ie. some kind of flexible glue holds the pages together, not thread or staples or fabric). For thinner books, I normally just use a utility knife and a ruler. But because of thickness and volume, I'm thinking about using my bandsaw. Has anyone ever tried? How about a table saw?
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Table saw, rake tooth blade. Stay out of the adhesive on the binding as it melts easily and will stick to your blade, almost impossible to get off.
Robert
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Seems like the toughest part will be getting very smooth edges that won't clog the auto feeder. My father tried the exact same thing - TS to cut off the end of a book. He ended up with basically a mess. Badly frayed edges; looked like someone had just riped off the edge of the book (and not ripped in the woodworking sense of the word...) I'm sure a sharper blade with more teeth and a zero-clearance insert would have helped a great deal, but my point is to do a test run - scrap paper or maybe a junk book. If I had a lot of books to cut up on a TS, I think I'd try to make some sort of sled and a thick sacrificial push-block to hold the pages tightly together immediately over the blade. Good luck, and let us know what works. Andy
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AL wrote:

use at Kindy. She's the teacher ;). I typically use my scroll saw. Sandwich about 100 sheets of coloured paper between two pieces of 3mm ply, Nail were the blade ain't gonna go and cut away. Works fine, the shapes look like they have been stamped. I have done the same thing on the band saw when she needed a lot, a bloody lot, of thin strips of paper. Works ok. If some of the ends do get a bit tatty I just hit em on the belt sander while they where all still clamped together. Regards John
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paper cutter. (It's designed to cleanly cut a stack of paper up to 2-3 inches high.)
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PEP wrote:

No fair! He wants to do it in his shop!
Best suggestion yet, though!
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That's what I was going to suggest.
djb
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Me too!
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Damn.. I KNEW the cutter had a grisly name, but couldn't remember that it was "guillotine"...
Kinko's has them..
mac
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I'd like to make a suggestion that hasn't been posted yet. Sandwich the book between thin plywood sheets the same size as the book to cut down on tear out and use your bandsaw. The TS blade runs in a circular motion that will cut faster, but cause likely more rough edgdes than a fine tooth bandsaw blade.

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off in seconds.
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I've done just this on my bandsaw, and have cut the spines off of dozens of thick and thin crossword puzzle books for my father. He loves the crosswords, but hates the books, preferring to do them on flat clipboards. I've also de-spined books for teachers in my kid's school for them to shuffle content to suit their taste instead of book publisher's. The edges are perfect, certainly better than necessary to feed into a copier.
I use a 1/4" 6 tpi blade, but probably wouldn't change the blade just to do a couple of books. I set a fence about 1/4" from the blade to stay well away from the glue. Works just fine and is very fast.
Michael Latcha - at home in Redford, MI

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AL wrote:

Never tried what you're contemplating but suspect the edges might be too "frayed" to feed properly through the scanner's ADF. I have enough problems with the ADF on my scanner using good quality 20lb repro paper. The problem will be getting the pages to feed singly - any rough edges will cause them to feed multiples.
If you have a jointer, what about making a jig consisting of two pieces of 1x pine to clamp the spine area (say 1/2 to 1/3 of the left half of the book as you face the cover.) To clamp it, a couple of bolts (fence side countersunk, of course)safely above the area to be trimmed. Run it through as many times as needed to give you clean edges.
I suppose the same trick could be used on the table or band saw.
Time to go into the "lab" and experiment, Dr. Pulpmonster!<g>
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I did this with a technical manual at work a few years ago. I used by jointer with sharp knifes and clamped the spine between scrap pine boards and then jointed the whole thing. Work good. I never feed the books pages through a ADF however, I rebound the book with plastic coils so the book would lay flat. Looking at the book now I don't see why it would not have gone through the ADF we have in the office.
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When this is done at university libraries (MIT no less) it's done with a bandsaw.
You should make up some "phase boxes" (simple mounting card and paper tape boxes) to put the sawn books in before scanning. Otherwise you _will_ drop at least one of them.
You should also check that the scan software works, not that it's a crappy piece of Perl written by some undergrad that will fall apart when recording a thick book and will randomly mix pages from one book to another. Not that I've ever seen this happen, oh no 8-(
The rightness of the idea of university libraries sawing up their books at all is a topic for another thread.
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I'd clamp the papes first. Heck, I'd go to a print shop and borrow the guillotine cutter for a few seconds. Or pay them to do it.
Any roughness on the edge of the paper may jam the auto-feeder.
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Back when I worked as a tool & die guy I was charged with doing the same thing. I took the books and clamped a piece of 3/8 MDF on the each side (front and back) and then off to the bandsaw. Cranked up the speed to nearly as fast as it would go. Little if any tear out happened. After completion, I left the books between the MDF and ran a file down the edge a few times.

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"AL", Read all the 'answers', so far.
Agree - the easiest, and 'cleanest' for through-put is the print shop guillotine.
Agree - for sake of 'BUT, I want to do it MYSELF !! . . .' - the bandsaw and wood 'sandwich' technique . . .
However, I seem to remember - from either the Iturra catalog or the 'Timberwolf' info - there is a 'knife' blade for exactly this type of project. If you don't mind the under $30 cost.
Regards & Good Luck, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop

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This might be radical, but I'll throw it out there for consideration - a jig saw. I've seen knife style blades at my local tool store that are for soft materials i.e. leather, paper, cardboard. I have no idea how well they work, have never tried them, but it seems like they might do a decent job.
hth, Jeffo
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I have done this exact thing on both a TS and an RAS. The critical thing is to keep the pages clamped tightly together. If you don't you will get fraying. If you do, it will be a cut as smooth as hardwood. I suggest clamping between sheet of mdf or the like.
-- ******** Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com
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