I am making some chair back rails. I made up a sample laminated and one
band sawn. My wife has chosen the band sawn. She thought the laminated
Cutting 3" oak on my little bandsaw is a challenge, and then sanding the
marks out without ruining the shape is even harder. Would ash cut or sand
any easier? I am staining them anyhow, so I can dye the ash first and it
will be a good match for oak.
I would have to buy ash while I have a big pile of 12/4 oak, but that is
trivial compared to the work involved. Thanks.
Sat, Oct 14, 2006, 1:43am (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@Yahoo.com (Toller) doth asketh
I am making some chair back rails. <snip> My wife has chosen the band
sawn. <snip> Would ash cut or sand any easier? I am staining them
anyhow, so I can dye the ash first and it will be a good match for oak.
Do you do "anything" on your own, without asking for help first?
Experiment once in awhile. You might want to try google sometime too.
I dunno if ash will cut and sand better than oak or not. But, I've
got this feeling it ain't gonna match the oak after staining, any where
near as well as you think.
If it was me, I'd get a chunk of ash and try cutting and sanding
it. More likely I'd try routing 'em with a template/pattern, whatever I
made 'em out of. Or, rough cut, then using one of those drillpress
sanding thingies, and a template/pattern.
It's not hard, if you get your mind right.
- Granny Weatherwax
I don't think that you would see enough difference in the cut to warrant
changing wood. As for the marks though, try a spokeshave or rasp to get the
marks out and a scraper to refine the finish. Easier than you might think
and cuts down a lot on sandpaper. I have found that the more you sand, the
more things get out of shape. The use of hand tools to get close to finish
A coupla ideas re. sanding:
1. If you take the inside offcut from your rail, cover it with a thin
piece of neoprene or maybe felt or something, and use that as a sanding
block, it should follow the inside curve of the rail just right. (i.e.
use convex offcut to sand concave rail face)
2. Have you tried a sanding drum in the DP? It'd be a pain to take
multiple passes with a short drum, but Lee Valley has a "large sanding
drum" that's 3" tall. Their support bearing is very nice also, which
reduces lateral load on your DP keeps the drum square to the table. I
own both of these and recommend them. (Stay away from HF sandpaper,
though.) Setting up a fence or dowel or something at a fixed distance
from the drum would give you a guide to keep the rail thickness
Time for a bigger bandsaw! 8-)
Ash would be a bit easier to cut - but whether it would be enough
easier to work than oak so as to make the extra trouble in matching the
colours worth it, now that's a question.
Ash certainly does have a long track record of being fake oak in
furniture. It works fine, so long as you accept that quarter-sawn ash
won't have the ray flake that oak will. There's even '20s and '30s
English furniture around where ray flake figure was painted onto ash to
fake it further! It's not uncommon to have a piece where the front
legs and top were real oak, but the back legs and drawer frames were
I spend less than two minutes gently "rocking" a ROS/60 grit along the
inside curve to do the same thing and have never "ruined" a shape in all the
times I've done it ... the back curve is even easier ... so I'm trying to
figure out why you find it so difficult to sand the marks out?
... unless they're so pronounced as to require that much work. In that
case, you need a better bandsaw?
Use the widest possible blade will follow the curve on your bandsaw and
you'll have fewer marks to remove.
With the ROS, use even strokes, the same length as the work piece, and let
the ROS do the work without pushing down on it.
If you can't make that work, do it by hand using the cut outs with sandpaper
attached, to follow the curve.
... or cut outside the line, make a template, and use a router table/pattern
bit to remove the excess.
IME, this is the easy part compared to getting the mortises for the slats in
the right place on two opposing rails, so if you're having that much trouble
with this, get ready for some real trouble down the road.
Sounds like it's time to do some serious thinking/planning.
Well, actually what seems to happen is that every now and then it binds on
the curve and leaves a mark that is hard to get out. If I had more power I
expect it wouldn't bind like that; but since that's not an option... I was
actually going to try it with a 1/4" blade thinking it would be less likely
Yeah, but my pattern bit is 2" and the rail is 2.5". I thought about
having it way out of the collet for the first pass, but that doesn't seem
particularly safe. I also thought about reducing the rail to 2".
Someone above suggested a drum sander with a template, but the only place
that seems to have 3" drums like that is Woodcraft, and they are out of
stock for weeks.
If you don't try things you don't know how to do, you don't learn anything!
Or so I tell myself.
My experience is just the opposite, but I do have a well tuned, 14" bandsaw,
and use an excellent quality resaw blade for this purpose.
That is exactly why I intially designed my crest rail to be 2", instead of
the 2 1/4" that is on the original chair I was reproducing.
Designing the project around the capability of your tools is a time honored
path to sucess in woodworking, and is something that should paid more
attention to, IMO.
As it turned out, using a ROS to "fair the curve" and sand out the marks was
so easy during the prototype stage on this last chair project, that I went
back to the original dimension.
While I do have a large oscillating drum sander, I didn't use it because the
ROS, with the proper technique, was so much faster.
That's true ... but the more time spend thinking/planning/jigging up insures
me a higher rate of success, and is why I "prototype" these days when I
venture into new territory, whether it be in the realm of joinery, or
Why get a wimpy little 3 incher when you can have 6"?
If you insist on 3"...
but in the latter I prefer 6" which is available here and there (I put
2 different grits on it, each 3")...
Lord, it is just *amazing* what can be found with Google. And I
didn't even include pneumatic drums...
What I want is:
It has a template guide at the bottom.
I have, and have tried to use, a Rigid oscillating drum sander (actually my
shaft is bent (yeah, it hurts...) and I can't get the belt sander off, but
its still about the same thing) but I can't get a smooth surface on it.
Either peaks are left, or valley are sanded in.
I was kinda hoping the template guide would make all well.
You want a uniform thickness, no? Make/use a gizmo like you would on
the bandsaw for maintaining a uniform thickness when cutting curves.
Like a fence but only one point of contact...perpendicular to what a
fence would normally be and with a rounded edge...
Yes, that would help keep a steady feed.
I am going to try two other things though...
I am taking a bowl turning class on Mondays. They have a 20" saw. That
might make all the difference in getting a smooth cut; we'll see.
I also found the roboSand (drum sander w/guide) at Woodworker's Supply.
Between the two, I ought to get it. If I can't, there is always stamp
Anyone with any knowledge of bandsawing and bandsaw blades would not have
wasted the bandwidth running that rabbit trail.
There is no chair back with a radius that a 1/2" blade won't cut unless it
is in a doll house.
A 1/2" blade should be able to cut a radius 1/10 of your 25" chairback
radius ... or about 2 1/2".
For future reference, print out the jpg and tape it to your bandsaw:
Your blade is fine.
Make certain that the blade is tracking properly on the wheel crown,
and that you have your blade lead set properly. If the blade won't
track in its own kerf, your pivot point is either too far forward of
the teeth, or too far behind, depending on which direction it wants to
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