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post #1 of 22 Old 07-30-2020, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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best saw for razor/knife scales

Have a few hardwood blanks (~6 x 3/4 in) that I need to section into 1/8 in. slabs. After some experimenting I've concluded that my doing this by hand with a coping or Japanese saw won't yield good results. I'm working with some rarer woods (bog oak, kauri) that I don't want to botch in the learning curve.

My question for the experienced: could I get good results with a table saw? Some research has suggested that lower end band saws (my price range) are problematic and don't give good results. I know scroll saws are designed for precision but am wondering if they can cut a straight slab. I won't be working with anything much larger than a pen blank.

Affordability is an issue. I'd appreciate feedback on any portable/mini saws appropriate for scale making. I'm able to craft a 1/8 blank by hand but getting to the 1/8 is my issue.

Thanks all.
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post #2 of 22 Old 07-31-2020, 07:13 AM
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welcome to the forum, Henry.
what tools do you have on hand now ??
"Affordability" is a very wide term.
if you do not have many of these scales to make, I would
try to find a shop that could cut them for you until you
find out what power tool will suit you the best.
looking forward to seeing some of your projects.
I have a small (12") pull saw that is pretty accurate with a narrow kerf.
with a little practice, I think it would work for you.
how much time have you put into learning how to use the Japanese pull saw ?

.

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post #3 of 22 Old 07-31-2020, 09:54 AM
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i think besides getting the blank to 1/8", AND have a flat face where it attaches to the gun side is going to be the issue. of course it can be sanded flat, but sanding to a true flatness is not necessarily easy, but maybe enough. i agreee with john, maybe someone can slice some for you to start out.

if i needed a flat face in my shop, i would run one face over a jointer to flatten it, then slice it off on the table saw.

there are resident scale experts here, they will chime in soon...
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post #4 of 22 Old 07-31-2020, 09:54 AM
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I would use the table saw to build a specialized miter box that can clamp and hold your pen blank (and skinnier "pen blanks" as you cut off slices) as you make the slices with a thin Japanese hand saw.

The special miter box would have a thin slot to guide the thin bladed Japanese hand saw to make the cut. I believe that this is a way to get reasonably clean cuts with minimum kerf waste. The miter box is probably the safest way to do it, too.

My mind is already thinking about how to design such a miter box. It would pinch the "blank" from the sides in a way that lets you line up the next cut with the slot.

Here are some alternatives that I thought about:

* Scroll Saw:
Very clean cuts with almost zero kerf.
A drawback is there is no fence or guide for the cut. Scroll saws are very safe, as power tools go. Perfect straight cuts can be done, and they are not that difficult, but acquiring the skill takes patience and practice.

* Bandsaw:
This is how I made knife scales for the few "kit" knives that I have done. A bandsaw blade is thin kerf for less waste. Use a somewhat high tooth count blade for cleaner cuts in pen blanks, but watch out for clogging or burning. You would have to sand off the blade marks, but that's easy, even in hardwoods. I use push sticks for safety, keeping my palms down on the table so my hands won't slip into the moving blade.
The drawbacks are: (a) You would want a fence and/or curved resaw guide. (b) It requires careful alignment of the blade. (c) It takes practice to make good resaw cuts.

* Not Recommended - Table Saw:
If you must do it with a table saw, build a jig or sled that can safely clamp and guide the pen blank (and thinner pieces) through the blade. See the "Small Parts Sled Discussion" below.
Drawbacks: (a) Difficult to do safely. (b) Even a thin kerf table saw blade (3/32 inch) would waste a lot of your pen blank. Some 200 tooth steel plywood blades may be as thin as 1/16 inch, but others are 3/32 inch.

Small Parts Sled Discussion:
Small parts sleds are designed to clamp and hold small parts for crosscuts. I have a Rockler small parts sled, and was using it to cut scrap SPF (pine) to make shims and wedges for use with a planer sled. Basically, I was using it to make thin rip cuts like the kind you want to do. During one cut, the sliced-off wedge did not fall off onto the "offcut ramp." Instead, the blade grabbed it and literally wedged it into the cutting slot on the sled. The blade jammed and stopped (yeah, on softwood), and the sled was busted up. I cut power immediately and unjammed the blade and sled with difficulty. I tested everything with a dial indicator, and fortunately nothing was bent or damaged. See photos.
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Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 07-31-2020 at 10:03 AM.
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post #5 of 22 Old 07-31-2020, 10:29 AM
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the way I read the original post, the member has a few
hardwood blanks that are 3/4"x3/4"x6" long - basically, pen blanks.
so his methods of slicing 1/8" scales for "knife and razor" handles
is pretty limited with minimal tools and skill sets to match.
examples:

Name:  handles.jpg
Views: 30
Size:  26.7 KB

.

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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 07-31-2020 at 10:35 AM.
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post #6 of 22 Old 07-31-2020, 12:30 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Even a modestly priced bandsaw......

A 10" bandsaw would be just fine for this project. My 10" Craftsman/Rikon is what I have used for smaller, thin slabs, not necessarily for knife scales. You can use two sided sticky tape to attach the smaller pieces to larger stock, runnig it against the fence to make the operation safer and keep your fingers out of the blade path AND the saw kerf will be thinner which would waste less valuable wood!



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 07-31-2020 at 12:32 PM.
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post #7 of 22 Old 07-31-2020, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks John and everyone. Your responses are encouraging.

Straight razors are my focus and unlikely I'd be moving on to larger projects. My experience is with hand tools and I have had pretty good results shaping a scale once I have a 1/8 blank (getting to the 1/8 is the nub). I have a couple of Japanese saws, coping saw and smaller craft saws. My all time favorite for shaping material--especially acrylic--is a jewelers saw though it takes 4-5 blades per scale.

Affordability (up to 250) and space are concerns -- I need a unit that can be put away after I'm through. I don't have a shop area. I'm leaning toward a scroll saw as it could be used for cutting the scales as well, though I'm not going to give up hand crafting. Are there straight cutting guides for scroll saws?

I know a band saw would likely be first choice but I've been counseled that there are no decent band saws in my price range that would handle hardwood blanks. My materials are wood, micarta & acrylic.

Anyone who has had good experience with a sub 250 band or scroll saw please advise.
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post #8 of 22 Old 07-31-2020, 04:27 PM
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This is very close ......

https://www.amazon.com/WEN-3962-Two-...3NTBAMC2S66KVE

It's just a bit over the $250 mark, but worth it. Free shipping with Prime, so that's a good thing. My Craftsman is as close to this as you can get. Others here have the Wen and they may have an opinion. Here's the deal. A bandsaw will get more things done, faster and more accurately than a scroll saw because of the blade width AND it's not just cutting on 1" of the blade like a scroll saw. I hardly ever use my scroll saw any more. It is very project specific, cutting tiny sharp radii ..... and cutting straight lines is it's weakness.


With a bandsaw you can get truning blanks in larger sizes and cut them down into scales much cheaper than any other way. Read up on them and watch the You Tubes for learning experience before you decide either for or against!







The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 07-31-2020 at 04:29 PM.
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post #9 of 22 Old 07-31-2020, 08:20 PM
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If your keen on doing things by hand, you can get good results with hand tools.

You just need a good saw, planer, winding sticks, and patience.

Here is an episode of the Woodrights shop that shows how to make veneer with hand tools. May be of particular interest.


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post #10 of 22 Old 08-01-2020, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Lesil View Post
Thanks John and everyone. Your responses are encouraging.

Straight razors are my focus and unlikely I'd be moving on to larger projects. My experience is with hand tools and I have had pretty good results shaping a scale once I have a 1/8 blank (getting to the 1/8 is the nub). I have a couple of Japanese saws, coping saw and smaller craft saws. My all time favorite for shaping material--especially acrylic--is a jewelers saw though it takes 4-5 blades per scale.

Affordability (up to 250) and space are concerns -- I need a unit that can be put away after I'm through. I don't have a shop area. I'm leaning toward a scroll saw as it could be used for cutting the scales as well, though I'm not going to give up hand crafting. Are there straight cutting guides for scroll saws?

I know a band saw would likely be first choice but I've been counseled that there are no decent band saws in my price range that would handle hardwood blanks. My materials are wood, micarta & acrylic.

Anyone who has had good experience with a sub 250 band or scroll saw please advise.
Unless you are making them in quantity, I still believe that your best approach is to make a simple miter box and use a hand saw. The miter box could use boards to pinch the sides of the blank, clamped to hold the blank in place while you use the miter box slot to guide the hand saw. To me, this approach is simple, fast, easy, small, and inexpensive.

Bandsaw:
Bandsaws are super useful and versatile woodworking tools. Since any bandsaw will do what you want, choose a bandsaw based on what else you might do with it and your size/storage needs.
The issues with bandsaws are:
* Alignment. You don't want "wedges" front-to-back or top-to-bottom.
* Guiding the cut. A fence is very helpful, but even with a fence, bandsaws can drift as you cut. You can adjust some fences to compensate for drift, if the drift is consistent. With patience, you can minimize or zero out drift on most bandsaws. Mine does not drift much, if any at all.
* Cleanup. Bandsaws leave saw marks that must be removed. Sanding out the marks is fairly easy.
* Changing blades - it takes time and patience.

Scroll Saw:
They do not make fences or guides for scroll saws. Scroll saws are best for fine, intricate work, cutting shapes. Scroll saws make very clean cuts, much much better than a bandsaw. You can cut straight lines with them, but you must learn to guide the straight cut manually, which takes skill that comes from practice.

What I do:
In case it matters, I cut knife scales on my bandsaw, but I have made only a few knives, all from kits.

I often do what you want to do - take long slices from pen blanks:
When I have a pen blank that is oversize for the pen that I am going to make, I use the bandsaw to shave off long slices, rather than wasting the wood by turning the full pen blank. I save the slices to glue them into new multi-layer pen blanks, kinda' like home-brew "Spectraply" without the colored dyes.

Sanding off bandsaw marks:
I used a dado blade barely raised above the table with multiple crosscuts to form a very shallow notch in a thin "sanding block" from scrapwood. The notch is the length of a pen blank. The ends of the long notch keep the knife scale or pen blank slice confined while I sand off the bandsaw marks. I sand back and forth on a flat sheet of sandpaper on the workbench.

Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 08-01-2020 at 12:37 PM.
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post #11 of 22 Old 08-01-2020, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tool agnostic. I can visualize securing the blank with boards. Miter boxes I've checked on Amazon don't accomodate the 6 inch length of the blank. They appear for horizontal cuts on a long board, four inches or so. Could you possibly direct me to a visual -- forgive my inexperience.

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post #12 of 22 Old 08-01-2020, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Lesil View Post
Thanks Tool agnostic. I can visualize securing the blank with boards. Miter boxes I've checked on Amazon don't accomodate the 6 inch length of the blank. They appear for horizontal cuts on a long board, four inches or so. Could you possibly direct me to a visual -- forgive my inexperience.
So sorry. I expected that you would make one for yourself.

When I looked for what I had in mind, I found something different that might work - a "magnetic hand saw guide." It is a thick board (like a 3x3 or 4x4) with a straight flat side as the guide, 90 degrees square with the bottom. The flat side has slightly recessed magnets. The magnets keep a saw blade straight against the flat side. You could make one easily.

Here is one example, but I saw many more. I didn't look at the video, because photos below it are self-explanatory:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Mag...and-Saw-Guide/

There are lots of ways to do it, and I don't know if you have a woodworking vise or what, but here is a very fast and crude way to do it:

* Lay a flat sacrificial base down so you don't cut into your workbench.
* Clamp the pen blank between the edges of two flat scrap boards that are the same thickness or slightly thicker than the pen blank, snug enough to keep the pen blank from moving.
* Clamp the hand saw guide down on top of the boards/pen blank so that the guide edge is directly over the marked line on the pen blank where you want the cut.
* You can check alignment by comparing the saw teeth with the marked line.
* Make sure nothing will move while you are cutting.
* Use the magnetic guide edge to guide the saw and make the cut.
* Done.

Something like that would be cheap, easy, small to store, and inexpensive.

If I were doing a lot of them, I would make a specialized miter box. It would have a flat bottom, with front and back fences and a slot to guide the saw. It would have two sliding boards in the bottom for pinching the pen blank and holding it in place. The boards would have slots made with a router, for jig screws that could be tightened to hold them in place, securing the pen blank. To make the guide slot in the fences, I would clamp temporary tall guide blocks for that one cut, after checking them for squareness.
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post #13 of 22 Old 08-02-2020, 12:29 PM
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I don't know..I've cut some nice straight lines with the scroll saw. Even if it's off just a hair sanding isn't too difficult. The quality of the blade and the right tension helps and you can even make a rip fence and a cross cut jig for the scroll saw. Check out some of the scroll saw sites for tips on the subject.

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post #14 of 22 Old 08-02-2020, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Here's my current impasse: A 1 x 6 x 1/4 Aformosia blank I want to section into two 1/8 blanks. I've tried with coping and Japanese saws, using clamps, and just can't keep it straight. I think my method is correct (letting the saw do the work, taking your time, appropriate blades) but an acceptable result is not in sight.

My forseeable work will be limited to 6 inch blanks, 3/4 - 1 in. square. Sectioning is critical, using the saw to shape scales would be an extra. Band or scroll? I've found some affordable candidates for both with decent reviews.

Bandsaw wise it seems a nine inch model is ok for my needs, with a minimum 2.5 amp. Scroll saw particulars I'm less clear on. I don't want to end up with anything that can't cut 1 inch hardwood decently.

All counsel profoundly appreciated.
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post #15 of 22 Old 08-02-2020, 07:25 PM
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best saw for razor/knife scales

If the wood is strait grained, you can split it with a Froe.

Edit, on second thought, the piece is likely to narrow to successfully attempt that.

Band saw is likely the best bet to minimize waste.


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post #16 of 22 Old 08-02-2020, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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I think it pretty much comes down to band or scroll saw. Once I've sectioned the blanks that I have, my use for the saw would essentially be for shaping 1/8 scales. A scroll saw offers superior precision and more cost efficiency for me.

I have been told by some that scrolls in my range (WEN 3921, SHOP FOX W1872) would run through a lot of blades and not give satisfactory results. Highly unlikely that I would be sectioning any hardwood over 1.5 inch.

Observations by forum members?
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post #17 of 22 Old 08-03-2020, 06:46 AM
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Look up scrolling on You Tube

You will find that most projects are done in thin material about 1/4" thick and have many tight radius curves and intricate pattern work. They are not meant for resawing or sectioning hardwood to desired thicknesses. A bandsaw will shine at this operation and give you pretty smooth surfaces. A 3/8" or 1/4" wide blade will be perfect for this. Select a blade that has between 6 and 10 teeth per inch. Olson has a good selection as does Grizzly blades.

Here's what a 1/3 HP 10" Craftsman bandsaw can do:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/...-tested-61133/



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #18 of 22 Old 08-03-2020, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Woodnthings -- that's useful. New Craftsman Band Saws are no longer readily available and I don't have the experience to assess a used one. (Or I'd have one by now.) One I've found that has generally positive reviews is the Xtremepower 9 in. 3 Amp 2340 RPM, but XtremepowerUS has a BBB rating of F.

Ryobi, Wen and Powertec have their detractors. Any forum members have feedback?

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post #19 of 22 Old 08-03-2020, 03:41 PM
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Craftsman never made anything of their own!

Sears/Craftsman always contracted their machines out to other manufacturers or vendors. Rikon is most likely the maker of Craftsman, Wen and of course their own Rikon brand saws. So either a Wen or a Rikon (more expensive) should be a good saw for the money.

Menard's house brand is a 9",

https://www.menards.com/main/tools/p...4443006811.htm


and the 10" Rikon look very similar:
https://www.menards.com/main/tools/p...7277164161.htm


The Wen has two speeds and 3.5 HP so it's a better deal:
https://wenproducts.com/products/10-...ith-stand-3962



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #20 of 22 Old 08-03-2020, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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The more I research I am led toward the conclusion that one unit for both sectioning and shaping 1/8 would be a mid range band saw, with price and space being an issue for me.

Alternately suppose I was to rent a saw for my sectioning work. What to rent? A miter saw comes to mind, or possibly a table saw?

If I wanted to purchase something only for shaping 1/8 hardwood blanks, with the emphasis on fine cut and precision I'm guessing a reputable scroll saw would be the best unit.

Am I right here?
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