Milling on the Bandsaw

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Blog entry by LelandStone posted 11-15-2011 06:53 PM 1502 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For some while now I’ve had some lemon and olive logs simply…growing old in my shop, waiting for me to “get around to it” and make some sort of milling attachment for my ShopFox bandsaw. (No, I wouldn’t buy it again; it’s a machine which cuts corners where it shouldn’t, in my opinion.)

Naturally, I wanted a cradle that would adjust in and out relative to the blade (on the X-axis?), while allowing me to rotate the log 90 degrees AND holding it securely for the trip through the saw. Just as naturally, such a wondrous jig was nearly impossible to conceive in a format that my resources could fabricate, and, consequently, never actually got built. The logs said nothing, slumbering peacefully in the sawdust, quite content to remain unmilled.

Finally, however, the realization that done poorly is better than not done at all overcame my inertia, and I built a dirt-simple cradle on a runner (to fit my bandsaw slot) with a fixed upright plate. A log is rotated against the upright, with waste extending past the line of cut, and run through the saw. This provides a plane, which, depending on the log’s configuration and my eyeballing, is roughly perpendicular to the imagined long axis of the log. This plane is next butted against the upright, with the log rotated to align the long axis with the line of cut. In theory, the log is shimmed and clamped, but in practice, hand pressure is sufficient to hold the log (less than 7” in diameter by 14” long or so) in place for its next trip through the saw. This yields another plane, adjacent and perpendicular to the first. Voila! From there, the log may be processed into something resembling planks, which are now shellacked and drying in my shop. Where there were logs before, I now have lemon and olive turning blanks (surprisingly damp on the inside) awaiting the lathe.

Perfectionism may be an admirable trait in others, but for me it can be an excuse for laziness. The jig I built is not an award winner, and lacks the bells and whistles I’d imagined for it. But it exists, and it functions—better than I’d actually hoped—and even the simplest hut is far better than any castle built in the clouds, however grand it may be.

-- Leland, OC California

3 comments so far

View wildbill001's profile


111 posts in 2638 days

#1 posted 11-17-2011 07:41 PM

I know exactly what you mean about perfectionism. I’m in the process of building an appalachian dulcimer. I’ve milled the wood, sanded and am now ready to glue two pieces of 4” wide, 1/8” thick boards together to form the front and backs. I don’t have long enough bar clamps to do it and my yankee genes keep telling me that spending $50-80 for more clamps that I may only use once is nuts. So, I’ve been trying to dream up this wonderous clamping system for almost two weeks now. You probably know what I’m talking about: something that will not only do the simple task of holding the boards together for edge-to-edge glue but will also roast a turkey, peel the potatoes, and get a cold-one out the fridge…...

Finally, last night it occurred to me, just do it. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to hold two pieces of wood together so the glue can set.

Thanks for reminding me I’m not the only one with this affliction!


-- "You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their back" -- Unknown

View dpop24's profile


115 posts in 2566 days

#2 posted 11-20-2011 04:17 AM

Fantastic job just getting t done. I’m in the process of rehabbing my Jet bandsaw and intallIng a rise to do some resawing of a bunch of white oak that I had to drop on our property. Do you have any pics of your sled? I’m going to do something pretty simple just to other out some slabs from the logs. I can always pretty it up in the jointer and planer.

-- If it ain't broke, take it apart and find out why

View LelandStone's profile


90 posts in 2509 days

#3 posted 11-21-2011 08:18 AM

Hey guys, hope you take a peek at the pics I uploaded!

You know, I’m not a big believer in spending a lot of time tooling up. My bench isn’t pretty, my stands wouldn’t get a second look from Tage Frid, and frankly, I’m not gonna win any awards for my housekeeping. I like building, and I like puttering, and I’d rather spend my time in the shop working on stuff that will shine OUTSIDE the shop.

Anyway, hope you get some of that white oak slabbed and that dulcimer skinned. Onward!


-- Leland, OC California

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