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?
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
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
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
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.
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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