Cut small square stock? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 10-15-2019, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Cut small square stock?

I want to make some small square pegs for tenon joints on a small project. I have a bunch of black piano keys which I believe to be ebony, which I would like to use for the pegs. So I want to cut some 1/4" or 5/16" square stock from one or more of the keys, and I'm trying to determine the best way to do this.

My 2 thoughts so far:

1. Glue a key to a larger, easier to handle, piece of wood, then make appropriate cuts down the length of the key to leave the square pieces to fall off. (hope this makes sense)

2. I have a Grr-Ripper with the 1/8" accessory leg that I could use to saw the key lengthwise into the pieces I need. But I'm concerned about the stability of such narrow stock on the table saw, and I'd probably need to make or buy a zero clearance insert, which I currently don't have.

Any other thoughts & suggestions would be welcome!
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post #2 of 39 Old 10-15-2019, 02:35 PM
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If you are cutting small stock unless you are using a sled that is in essence a zero clearance insert, you need to install one no matter what method you are using.

Of the two mentioned No.1 sounds more feasible to me.

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post #3 of 39 Old 10-15-2019, 05:03 PM
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No bandsaw? On a table saw the blade kerf alone, even if a thin kerf blade, will eliminate an awful lot of material.

Yes, as Frank said, #1 is the safest way to make your cuts. You will absolutely need a zero clearance insert or sled or your piece will get gobbled up post- haste.

But you should invest in a zero clearance insert on general principles anyway. You'll never go back to the big gap!
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post #4 of 39 Old 10-15-2019, 07:26 PM
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don't use the fence!

Use a cross cut sled and hot glue the keys to a 4" X 12" piece first. Then make your cuts using the sled which will carry both the work piece and the cut off safely past the blade. You can stop the blade after the cut is completed also. Then, reattach the piece for the second cut. I'd use a spot or two of hot glue. It's aggressive enough to hold on securely, but will separate cleanly when needed.
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post #5 of 39 Old 10-16-2019, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. I'm liking the idea of gluing the key to another block for safe handling. I don't have a sled (it's on my "to-do" list), but I can easily make a zero clearance insert.

I had thought about using my bandsaw, but felt that the table saw would give me smoother cuts. I realize I'll be losing quite a bit of Ebony to the saw kerf, but I have a piano's worth of keys to work with.

Thanks again.
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post #6 of 39 Old 10-16-2019, 09:15 AM
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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned using a Tenon or Back Saw
with fine teeth for this project. it would be safer and provide more
control for the small pieces. a little sanding on a sanding block and it's done.
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post #7 of 39 Old 10-16-2019, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevedore View Post
...................... I had thought about using my bandsaw, but felt that the table saw would give me smoother cuts. I realize I'll be losing quite a bit of Ebony to the saw kerf, but I have a piano's worth of keys to work with..........
In most cases, if you use a bandsaw, by the time you finish sanding out the blade marks, you will have removed about as much material as if you just used the table saw. This of course is assuming you dont have a high dollar band saw and a high dollar blade.

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #8 of 39 Old 10-16-2019, 12:34 PM
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I like the suggestions of the sled and hot melt or maybe hot hyde glue. Be careful with the glue to make the glue joint as thin/uniform as possible.
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post #9 of 39 Old 10-16-2019, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Schweitzer View Post
I like the suggestions of the sled and hot melt or maybe hot hyde glue. Be careful with the glue to make the glue joint as thin/uniform as possible.
Good point, getting a thin layer of hot melt can be a problem in some cases.

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post #10 of 39 Old 10-16-2019, 02:17 PM
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double sided sticky tape ......

Carpet seam tape or other double sided tape can be very aggressive and sticks as well as glue to a clean, dry, smooth surface. Use Acetone to wipe away any oils and the apply a thin strip if tape to the long grain of both pieces. The cutting/sawing forces are not trying to pry it away, just slide it along .... not gonna happen.

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 #11 of 39 Old 10-16-2019, 07:04 PM
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Id just make the zero-clearance insert. I rip small pieces all the time, you need to pay attention but its not difficult. Use push sticks, dont get your hands close to the spinny bit, pay attention to what the woods doing and dont make a big production over it. Just a typical ripping operation on a smaller than typical workpiece. Keeping the workpiece supported near the blade is the only critical part that doesnt come up in other operations, and the insert solves that

Also, for those worried about saw kerf sizes, dont forget about 7 1/4" blades. Generally theyre 1/16" kerf blades, compared to a thin-kerf 10" blade being 3/32"
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post #12 of 39 Old 10-16-2019, 07:22 PM
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Plus 1 on Zero clearance inserts!

Every table saw should have one at all times!
Small parts are especially a safety concern and they should not be able to get trapped between the blade and the throat plate.
The crosscut sled takes the place of the zero clearance insert, but is no substitute for one.
The safest way to cut small part is to attach them to a larger more controllable piece. Using multiple push sticks or a Gripper can also work in experienced hands, but it's always best to error on the side of caution. I use a push shoe that is sacrifial and gets cut each time I run a small piece through, but it will not allow the off cut or the workpiece to drop away. My saw has a zero clearance insert as well.

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 #13 of 39 Old 10-17-2019, 01:35 PM
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one important question is, is there a flat surface to begin with on a piano key?
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post #14 of 39 Old 10-18-2019, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimPa View Post
one important question is, is there a flat surface to begin with on a piano key?
All flat surfaces, but none are square to each other!

In the end, I used my Grr-Ripper with the 1/8" foot & easily cut the pieces I needed. The gap in my standard throat plate was small enough that I didn't expect a problem, and I figured that the worst that could happen would be the loss of a piece of stock or a chunk of my Grr-Ripper. Worked very well.
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post #15 of 39 Old 10-18-2019, 10:46 AM
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The problem of cutting the ebony parts is well solved, but please allow me to share my experience with a small parts sled:

I have a commercial small parts sled. It was one of those things that I said to myself, "Not worth the cost" and "I could build one if I really need it." I got by without one for a long time. I thought of it as a "nice to have, but not a necessity" item.

I won a commercial small parts sled as a giveaway prize from a holiday party. I assembled it and started using it. It has proven so useful for so many things, it is hard to imagine how I could have gotten by without it. When I switched table saws, one of the first things I did was repair it to work with the new saw. (There was a difference in the miter slot to blade distance between the two saws.)

If you have a chance to make or buy a small parts sled, I recommend it. You will find many more uses for it than you expect. My small parts sled costs more than it should, especially considering that it is made from MDF. That makes the build vs. buy question harder to answer. Here is the one I have:
https://www.rockler.com/rockler-tabl...all-parts-sled
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post #16 of 39 Old 10-18-2019, 11:32 PM
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A question:
Are the keys ebony or Bakelite? A bit of work with sand paper should tell you.

One of the first rules of wood working is:
Push sticks are meant to come in contact with the saw blade.

To solve your problem, a zero clearance insert.
Two push sticks.
One to keep the material next to the fence, i.e. horizontal force to the right.
The second push stick to push down and through the cut.

Make the push sticks to meet your needs. I like using KD 2x4 from Lowes as stock material for the push block part.
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post #17 of 39 Old 10-19-2019, 01:25 PM
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My crosscut sled was free and is very accurate. Glad I took the time to finally build one.
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post #18 of 39 Old 10-19-2019, 03:48 PM
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Question Push sticks should be banned!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
A question:
Are the keys ebony or Bakelite? A bit of work with sand paper should tell you.

One of the first rules of wood working is:
Push sticks are meant to come in contact with the saw blade.

To solve your problem, a zero clearance insert.
Two push sticks.
One to keep the material next to the fence, i.e. horizontal force to the right.
The second push stick to push down and through the cut.


Make the push sticks to meet your needs. I like using KD 2x4 from Lowes as stock material for the push block part.

A single push "shoe" is what you need. Too many things can go wrong with 2 separate push sticks AND they do apply the proper force direction .... forward and downward simultaneously.
See the section on Safer Push Sticks:
http://www.waterfront-woods.com/
A Safer Push Stick
By Rick Christopherson
.....General Principle
When using a push stick, your hand is behind the tail-end of the workpiece, and the pressure you are applying is generally forward, with only moderate downward pressure. In the event something were to go wrong, your hand has the tendency to go forward and down, which is heading toward the blade. While the push stick discussed above broke in half, the same could happen with a kick-back, where the stick would flip out from under you, and your hand would still continue forward and downward.......

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; 10-19-2019 at 03:51 PM.
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post #19 of 39 Old 10-19-2019, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Popsnsons View Post
My crosscut sled was free and is very accurate. Glad I took the time to finally build one.
I would only use that to cut the stock in the original post if it was attached to another board as has already been discussed.
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post #20 of 39 Old 10-19-2019, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
A single push "shoe" is what you need. Too many things can go wrong with 2 separate push sticks AND they do apply the proper force direction .... forward and downward simultaneously.
See the section on Safer Push Sticks:
http://www.waterfront-woods.com/
A Safer Push Stick
By Rick Christopherson
.....General Principle
When using a push stick, your hand is behind the tail-end of the workpiece, and the pressure you are applying is generally forward, with only moderate downward pressure. In the event something were to go wrong, your hand has the tendency to go forward and down, which is heading toward the blade. While the push stick discussed above broke in half, the same could happen with a kick-back, where the stick would flip out from under you, and your hand would still continue forward and downward.......
OK


And the only way to sharpen a chisel is:

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