Making Very Thin Boards - Bandsaw Technique? Planer?
I need very thin boards to make 4 x 4 inch drink coasters from three layers of wood. I do not want the coasters to be "caveman" thick, so I need very thin boards - 1/16 and 1/8 inch thick, and very uniform. A coaster would be a sandwich of 1/16, 1/8, and 1/16 boards to make a 1/4 inch thick coaster. I plan to cut grooves in the middle layer to hold condensation, and use a hole saw on the top layer so the glass can rest on the middle layer. (I will use a beeswax finish for waterproofness.)
I have a new-to-me DeWalt DW735 planer. The planer seems straightforward to use, and I get the issues with flatness, grain direction, snipe, tearout, etc.
I also have a new-to-me 1953 Delta 890 bandsaw that I just got ready for use. It has been carefully aligned, and it came with several HSS blades of different widths, pitches, and tooth types, including a re-saw blade. I don't know how sharp or dull they are, but they still cut. I installed a Kreg fence and I have their rounded resaw guides. The bandsaw clearly requires practice and experience. I tried a few test cuts with and without the resaw guides attached to the fence. It seems clear to me that the thinner the board, the harder it is to get a uniform thickness.
I have a random orbital sander and an old finish sander, and I can do hand sanding, of course. Unfortunately, I do not own a jointer or a drum sander.
I have some nice hardwood boards 4/4 and 3/4. I want to resaw them on the bandsaw first, so I don't waste a lot of expensive wood by planing them down.
Here is my general question:
1. Given the available tools, how would you make those 1/16 inch thin boards? My goal is clean, flat, uniform, glue-ready, thin 4 x 4 boards (or maybe 4.25 x 4.25 for later trimming). Please be detailed enough that a novice like me can follow.
Here are my bandsaw questions:
2. How do you push the boards through and keep them straight without getting your thumb or fingers on the cut line? It is hard enough to control the board, and a push stick makes it much harder.
3. Which side of the blade do you use for the board? The fence side of the blade (left side) or the "outside" of the blade (right side)?
4. Do you recommend that I resaw the boards with the flat fence or with the rounded resaw guides to get the 1/16 inch thickness I need?
5. How do you process the re-sawn boards to make them flat and uniform and eliminate bandsaw cut marks? (Remember, there is no jointer available.) Quick sanding on a flat sheet of sandpaper? Run them through the planer after the re-saw? ... and would a planer work to make 1/16 inch thin boards?
6. How do you deal with re-sawing the next inner board where there would be cut lines on the board, and the two flat surfaces may not be perfectly parallel? Would you run the "waste" through the planer first before cutting the next slice?
7. How can a novice bandsaw user tell which blades are still good and sharp and which ones should be replaced?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can share!