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Hello all,

I'm not much of a jig person partially because of laziness and partially because I can usually make do without. However, I'd like to make some cuts that are a bit sketchy and would like to make it more safe. I've made these cuts in the past and it turned out alright, but I want to be safer. What I'm working on are Knights for a chess set.

The first picture below is the finished version of a knight that I've done in the past, the second picture is that same piece from the back, the third picture is the piece that I have ready to cut with some red lines added so that you can see roughly where I'd like to make the cuts, and the final picture is a sketch of the jig idea described below (my bandsaw blade isn't that big haha).

The way that I made these cuts in the past was by laying the piece on its side in the groove of a flat board and then held the piece in place while making the cut on the bandsaw. My idea for a jig would be to screw the piece to a small board (I used a screw chuck to turn the piece) and attach that board perpendicularly to another board (with the ball resting on that board). This seems like a decent enough plan to me but I figured if I'm going to make a jig, I should consult folks that are more accustomed to making jigs.

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· The Nut in the Cellar
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I once watched a guy at a woodworking show make chess pieces in a bandsaw demo. He cut the pieces on the saw and then turned them. He made the cuts such that he always had a flat to rest the workpiece on the table. He didn't use a jig of any sort.
 

· where's my table saw?
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I htink you could do that with just the left end of the "L" extended to either side of the work piece enough to hold onto and keep it level; maybe 3" ech side. You don't need the piece underneath.
I disagree. The piece underneath is the carrier support, like a sled. You don't want to "hang the workpiece" by a screw on the just back because the downward force of the teeth may cause it to vibrate and KABLOOEY, the entire thing will self destruct. The sled will end up with two saw kerfs on either side of the ball as shown by the red lines.
 
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Hello all,

I'm not much of a jig person partially because of laziness and partially because I can usually make do without. However, I'd like to make some cuts that are a bit sketchy and would like to make it more safe. I've made these cuts in the past and it turned out alright, but I want to be safer. What I'm working on are Knights for a chess set.

The first picture below is the finished version of a knight that I've done in the past, the second picture is that same piece from the back, the third picture is the piece that I have ready to cut with some red lines added so that you can see roughly where I'd like to make the cuts, and the final picture is a sketch of the jig idea described below (my bandsaw blade isn't that big haha).

The way that I made these cuts in the past was by laying the piece on its side in the groove of a flat board and then held the piece in place while making the cut on the bandsaw. My idea for a jig would be to screw the piece to a small board (I used a screw chuck to turn the piece) and attach that board perpendicularly to another board (with the ball resting on that board). This seems like a decent enough plan to me but I figured if I'm going to make a jig, I should consult folks that are more accustomed to making jigs.

View attachment 445091

View attachment 445092

View attachment 445094

View attachment 445095
Turn you another one that is about a foot long. That would give you something to hold onto to bandsaw the top. Then when you get it all shaped and sanded cut it to it's finished length.
 

· where's my table saw?
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Turn you another one that is about a foot long. That would give you something to hold onto to bandsaw the top. Then when you get it all shaped and sanded cut it to it's finished length.
That may work, but the workpiece has a "ball end" kinda hard to make a series if them with that end on them.
You CAN make them one at a time, if that's what you mean, but you still have the issue of support of a round object which may want to rotate when the blade isn't centered ?
It's hard to know his process for making them. Maybe chuck up a long round and shape the ball, cut it off and start on the next one.
 

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I disagree. The piece underneath is the carrier support, like a sled. You don't want to "hang the workpiece" by a screw on the just back because the downward force of the teeth may cause it to vibrate and KABLOOEY, the entire thing will self destruct. The sled will end up with two saw kerfs on either side of the ball as shown by the red lines.
I'm not suggesting that it "hang". The work piece could ride on the saw table just as well as it could ride on the "sled".
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Turn you another one that is about a foot long. That would give you something to hold onto to bandsaw the top. Then when you get it all shaped and sanded cut it to it's finished length.
That’s not a bad idea but it would mean wasting the pieces I already made. I think it would also be a little extra tricky to turn the ball properly (for me).
 

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That’s not a bad idea but it would mean wasting the pieces I already made. I think it would also be a little extra tricky to turn the ball properly (for me).
If you didn't mind a hole in the bottom of your pieces you could screw a board to the bottom to hold it so you could bandsaw the top. With the board perpendicular to the part it would help keep the cuts parallel with each other.
 

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Just a thought since this is a turned piece. When you turn them leave a longish section that's still square so it can rest flush on the table and long enough so you can push it thru the blade with your hands away.

Edit: Just read Steve's reply above. That's what I suggested here and certainly the easiest way to go about this.
 

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All good ideas but I a bandsaw?

I would use a handsaw, specifically a Japanese dozuki. If you don’t own one, buy one today 😁.

That said, I might do this with a chisel. You are paring downhill grain, lay the piece with head against a stop.

Another way to do it is a belt sander.

With all 3 of these, I would do what you suggested about screwing to larger piece of wood you can stabilize or clamp.
 

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That’s not a bad idea but it would mean wasting the pieces I already made. I think it would also be a little extra tricky to turn the ball properly (for me).
Rather than use a large piece of “good” stock, I frequently glue a piece of “good” stock to a piece of sacrificial wood; sandwiching a piece of brown paper in-between. I do this when using exotics to reduce waste. The joint separates relatively easily when the job is done and the residual paper can be sanded off. You could still do this to ones you’ve already made and glue a support piece under the ball if necessary. It doesn’t have to be a ton of glue.
 

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Rather than use a large piece of “good” stock, I frequently glue a piece of “good” stock to a piece of sacrificial wood; sandwiching a piece of brown paper in-between. I do this when using exotics to reduce waste. The joint separates relatively easily when the job is done and the residual paper can be sanded off. You could still do this to ones you’ve already made and glue a support piece under the ball if necessary. It doesn’t have to be a ton of glue.
We did this when turning bowls in college and it does work as described!
In this case I would use square stock of the same OD, so the bandsaw will cut 90 degrees on either side of center.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you didn't mind a hole in the bottom of your pieces you could screw a board to the bottom to hold it so you could bandsaw the top. With the board perpendicular to the part it would help keep the cuts parallel with each other.
Can you elaborate on this? I'm not sure how it's different than my sketch.

The nice thing about a bandsaw is all the forces are traveling down and forcing the work piece into the table. Maybe just make a thicker fixture to cradle the head being cut. I guess you can also make a relief for the base as well to keep things stable.

View attachment 445096
I definitely like this idea for added stability. Would you just carve that out with a dremel?

Rather than use a large piece of “good” stock, I frequently glue a piece of “good” stock to a piece of sacrificial wood; sandwiching a piece of brown paper in-between. I do this when using exotics to reduce waste. The joint separates relatively easily when the job is done and the residual paper can be sanded off. You could still do this to ones you’ve already made and glue a support piece under the ball if necessary. It doesn’t have to be a ton of glue.
That's a handy tip. However, I'm leaning toward the screw idea though since it's more easily repeatable (just thread the piece on and go).

All good ideas but I a bandsaw?

I would use a handsaw, specifically a Japanese dozuki. If you don’t own one, buy one today 😁.

That said, I might do this with a chisel. You are paring downhill grain, lay the piece with head against a stop.

Another way to do it is a belt sander.

With all 3 of these, I would do what you suggested about screwing to larger piece of wood you can stabilize or clamp.
I like the bandsaw because it's quick and I'm familiar with it (especially if I'm going to be making the jig anyway). I'm familiar with the belt sander too but anytime I try to use the belt sander for something like this, I manage to screw up the angle or go too far.
 

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Can you elaborate on this? I'm not sure how it's different than my sketch.


I definitely like this idea for added stability. Would you just carve that out with a dremel?


That's a handy tip. However, I'm leaning toward the screw idea though since it's more easily repeatable (just thread the piece on and go).


I like the bandsaw because it's quick and I'm familiar with it (especially if I'm going to be making the jig anyway). I'm familiar with the belt sander too but anytime I try to use the belt sander for something like this, I manage to screw up the angle or go too far.
Use a Forstner bit for the round end (head). This needs to be smaller so the round end (head) is elevated and level with the table. Then make a slot for the base end. A few drill holes connected with a file keyhole saw will make that. Then if needed, carve out some area for the funnel shape. If your bandsaw table doesn't tilt or if you just want to make plumb cuts, you'll need to finish the head with files/rasps/sandpaper/etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Use a Forstner bit for the round end (head). This needs to be smaller so the round end (head) is elevated and level with the table. Then make a slot for the base end. A few drill holes connected with a file keyhole saw will make that. Then if needed, carve out some area for the funnel shape. If your bandsaw table doesn't tilt or if you just want to make plumb cuts, you'll need to finish the head with files/rasps/sandpaper/etc.
I see, I see. Thanks!
 

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My idea for a jig would be to screw the piece to a small board (I used a screw chuck to turn the piece) and attach that board perpendicularly to another board (with the ball resting on that board).
Similar to this? (which may need support block under the "ball" portion depending on the diameter of the base portion of the chess piece).
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As I understand it, this fixture above, is only the 1st half of an entire "jig". This fixture does nothing more than hold the work piece for free hand cutting on the bandsaw.
If you are making multiples and want repetitive results, there needs to be a way to index the fixture angle to angle and maintain a known relationship to the bandsaw blade.
Thus your work holding fixture could be set on top of a sled base, that is guided using the miter slot in the bandsaw table. Dowels or stop blocks in the sled will locate the holding fixture in either position "a" or position "b" for repeatable results.

Red line indicates blade path.
Tan rectangle is guide rail on bottom surface of the sled to engage miter slot in saw table.


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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Similar to this? (which may need support block under the "ball" portion depending on the diameter of the base portion of the chess piece).
View attachment 445111

As I understand it, this fixture above, is only the 1st half of an entire "jig". This fixture does nothing more than hold the work piece for free hand cutting on the bandsaw.
If you are making multiples and want repetitive results, there needs to be a way to index the fixture angle to angle and maintain a known relationship to the bandsaw blade.
Thus your work holding fixture could be set on top of a sled base, that is guided using the miter slot in the bandsaw table. Dowels or stop blocks in the sled will locate the holding fixture in either position "a" or position "b" for repeatable results.

Red line indicates blade path.
Tan rectangle is guide rail on bottom surface of the sled to engage miter slot in saw table.


View attachment 445112
That is smart. I was just thinking I'd use the initial cuts I make that also cut the base as guides for future cuts. I think I might make this sled though. Thank you!
 

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I know we all must be careful and work safely around power tools and machines, but has anyone ever watched how Sam Maloof used to freehand with a bandsaw or router? o_O If you haven't, it's worth watching a video. The man worked into his 90s and still had all his digits.
 
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