Wood Noobie

Hi Guys,
I'm trying to get my skills up with wood, and I've come across a small snag.
I can pretty much get the wood to whatever shape I want, however I seem to be sweating blood to get these results.
I'm using Australian burls, which are very hard, and up to this point have been cutting them by hand (ouch).
I haven't bought a band saw yet, but am wondering what I should be looking for in a band saw to cut extremely hard wood. WOuld a small unit do or should I be looking at a much larger model?
Regards Charles
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On Tue, 07 Nov 2006 09:20:02 +1100, Chilla wrote:

Charles, you really didn't give us a lot of detail to work with but, making the assumption that you are neither making miniatures nor trying to build an ark, I'd respond as follows:
---------------------------------
Just an observation ...
It's difficult to grow into a small unit, easy to grow out of it.
Get at least 1 hp and at least 14" capacity. More is better, but that level of investment will take you a long ways. The re-saw capacity can be expanded for about $50 with a riser kit and longer blade. Most folks seem to eventually install that kit before outright buying a brand new high-capacity bandsaw.
Conventional wisdom says to get the best you can afford, but there are (at least!) two schools of thought on this. The one says to buy quality every step of the way, saving & making-do without until you can afford a dream machine with each purchase. This is actually likely to prove the least expensive road in the long haul because you woun't be replacing equipment quite so often as you would under the second scheme.
The second scheme says to buy only just barely good enough when you are starting out as it is the quickest way to a shop full of machines capable of the basic functions. IE; a $100 drill press you have the cash for right now might make holes 5x sooner than a $500 drill press you have to save up for.
Not only are there grey areas in both schemes, but there is a hybrid school of thought ... the one I'm following. It says to follow the second scheme at first, well aware that virtually ALL of the equipment you buy will have a relatively short lifespan in your custody. This lets you learn (and make your mistakes!) on lesser machines all the while building your interest (or not) in woodworking and developing a core set of skills. But be aware that there WILL be a second round of purchases. My goal, and it's working so far, is that the cheap tools should pay for the better ones. My lathe is 'good enough', my saws are 'good enough, ... and so on down the line.
Until you get to my routers. The original 3/4 hp B&D fixed base router now sits on a shelf. (It was free to me, so will turn a profit when I sell it.) There is a 2.5 hp plunge router from HF sitting in a shop-built horizontal router table and a top-of-the-line Milwaukee 5625 sitting in my vertical router table. I intend to get a smaller trim router (also top-end) and then I should be done with buying routers for a while.
Next after that will be ... well, who knows ... it all depends on which way the wind is blowing on the day I decide I need a new 'something'.
Probably my drill press. It came out of the box with poor bearings and excessive runout. Next time around I hope to have the opportunity to try out a few different drill presses before I make a purchase decision. I can presently make 'good enough' holes ... and that gives me time to shop around. Most likely now I'll limp along and save my pennies until I can afford a heavy duty DP with a lot of quill travel and rock solid construction. I used DP's like that when I was working as a machinist ... I know they exist.
Now to find one for what I have in my pocket.
Bill
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Bill wrote:

Hi Bil,
Sorry for not being specific, I want to cut the timber into knife scales... thin slices. I can do this by hand, but like I said it takes a loooong time and screws my arm.
The suggestion for at least a 1 hp motor, and 14" throat(?) would be more than adequate to do the job. I will try to get a higher powered motor, assuming more HP is better.
Thanks Bill the advise does help a lot.
My work shed comes within the next couple of days. The little shed has no more room for the tools (several propane forges, several furnaces, big and small angle grinders bench grinders... another one on the way etc. etc. etc.) and raw material it holds.
Thanks again regards Charles
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