I got 2 1” Timberwolf blades from Suffolk Machinery Corp. – 2TPI and 3TI – several months ago, and have been dying to try them out ever since. In that time I had several more projects, mom’s 10-day long yearly visit, my best friends’ wedding, a project I built for that (that I should post one of these days), and so much else. I didn’t want to use them until I had a resawing jig ready to go, so realizing that time was now, I jumped on it yesterday, later in the day, and immediately failed terribly :)
I have 4 pieces of 2’ square, 11/16” baltic birch ply in my storage shed. The plywood place near me has their saws set up perfectly, so I get really clean edges, and absolutely perfect 90°s. Home Depot is something like 15° off, and tearout can be 1” in width! It’s more like they’re jackhammering it apart for you ;) Anyway, starting with one of those, I super carefully measured out the holes for an Incra adjustable (thickness) miter rail, installed it, and realized the hex-key adjustment holes were aligned with the edge of the rail, not the center. D’oh!
You’ll also note the huge gouge perpendicular to the rail. While routing in the channels for the T-tracks on the other side, 8” on center from the edges (the 1/3rd lines), the bit came loose and climbed right up through the board. My hand had been there about 10 seconds earlier, and I thought “even though it’s impossible for the bit to come up through here, I’m going to play it safe and get my push block.” I also moved over so I wouldn’t be in line with the router bit. Glad I took extra precautions. It popped up pretty quickly, and I’m glad it didn’t come flying free of the chuck.
I also tried to pull the board back toward me at an earlier point, and the bit climbed inside the groove, pulling the board quickly away from the fence, making a nice big gouge on the side of the groove, seen below. A big part of the problem was haste. I was trying to make full-depth grooves in one pass. It’s certainly possible with this setup, but with the 1/4” shaft (didn’t have that bit it in 1/2”), it’s better to take it lightly. This board was toast. Time to start over, tomorrow, as it was too late, and I was fed up with my incompetence for the day.
And the other groove had been perfect, too, exactly the right depth and tight on the T-track. Sigh again…
Today, with renewed purpose, I went out and redid the whole base perfectly in another sheet of the baltic birch. I made the grooves in 3 lighter passes this time. The holes for the miter rail are all perfect now, including the counterbores. I got the T-tracks exactly where I wanted, a few thousandths proud of the surface so tightening the knobs wouldn’t lift the rails out of the tracks at all, and so the fence base would later ride a bit on them, so it didn’t scrape up the base too badly. I positioned the miter rail so the edge of the board would be just over 1/8” past the blade. Then I installed the new blade – first time ever, glad it fit this time (I returned the first set – it was 2” too short – my fault) – and ran the new base past it to trim the edge to zero-clearance dimensions.
Now the base was slightly less than 2’ wide, meaning when I hacksawed the T-track exactly in half, installed them, and used a CNC-milled surface to flush the clean, anodized ends on the outer edge, screwing in the tracks carefully, and filing the screw tips completely flush on the bottom (just a tad too long), the crappy hacksawed ends of the tracks stuck out past the blade by about 1/16”. I reinstalled the old, crappy wood blade that came with the saw, and ran it through again over and over to first saw the tracks flush, then file them over and over until they no longer hit. Then I put in the new, thicker blade, and it hit a little, but soon it wasn’t anymore, and I had flush ends. The T-tracks are now ideal on both ends, and I’m happy.
I was very happy at this point, in fact, because the base was done. There were no more operations to do to it, so I couldn’t screw it up anymore. On to screwing up the fence!
I grabbed another piece of the 2’ square baltic birch and ripped a 10” section, and IIRC, an 8” section. I took another 1/8” off each to get the edges parallel – first cuts weren’t perfect enough for me – and laid in some pocket holes. I have often tried to join pieces by just holding them against square surfaces and such, and even with things clamped, sometimes pocket hole screws can cause pieces to walk. To get these absolutely ideal, I spent a good deal of time with 4” Woodpeckers box clamps on the edges, and Bessey K-Body clamps in the middle, loosening, shifting, and retightening until I had every flushable part flushed to where I couldn’t feel any edges, then tightened the crap out of the clamps, and only then drove in the screws. There’s no glue here. When done, it was really well joined, super sturdy, and perfectly 90°.
Here I’m putting in the buttresses. These are 7-7/8” long sections from the leftover after ripping the other two pieces from that 2’ square. I found the most 90° corner with my Woodpeckers CNC-machined clamping square and the overhead light, looking for light leaks between it and the wood, and put those corners into the corner between the fence and fence base. I marked and drilled pocket holes, then clamped as you see here to join the bottoms to the fence bottom:
Again, lots of little tweaking and heavy clamping to hold things tightly where I wanted them before driving the screws. This should be obvious, but I just always gloss over this, and don’t get the professional results I got on this because of it. It does matter, after all :) Once the bottoms were joined, I unclamped, used the CNC milled clamping square to make sure the buttresses were perfectly perpendicular to the bases – no reason, I just wanted ‘em perfect – clamped with a Bessey Tradesman clamp, checked again for 90°, and screwed them in. The fence as done. I also drilled in some holes in the right locations before adding these for the locking knobs.
Here’s the other side, knobs in place, fence locked down. I will probably want to bevel the corners of the buttresses at some point, but it was the least of my worries at this point. I just wanted to resaw something!
And even though I haven’t put in the mounting slots (for screwing logs to the fence), I just had to grab a wooden hand screw clamp and take a stab at resawing this chunk of European olive.
I had tried a month ago while my mom was here on her yearly visit to resaw this log. She was cooking, and I ran out and set up the short, stubby, included fence. I didn’t put the new blade in, because I wanted to wait until I had the resawing jig first, but with the old blade, the fence, and shaky hands, I pushed the log through manually. The crappy blade basically burned its way through slowly. This blade, however, ate through it easily. When I got halfway, I moved the clamp past the blade, tightened again, and finished the cut.
My first cut! Gotta love that checking.
Note all that sawdust. It’s green, and quite wet. That’s going to be murder on the iron table. I think I’m going to get another piece of baltic birch – from that 4th piece in the shed, and set it up so I can easily clamp it to the other side of the table, like a dropoff table. That will catch most of the sawdust and keep it off the table during the hours and hours I plan to be out here, resawing up my huge stash of logs :)
I purposely raked the lighting over the cut here to show that it’s not an absolutely ideal finish. The blade – heck, the whole table – wobbles a bit. There isn’t really any way around it. I have the blade set right. I even put a piece of red tape on the knob on top, so I can easily count 5 rotations before and after each section, to loosen the blade when not in use. I’m getting into the habit of tightening it before a cut, and loosening after the cut, if I’m not going to be making another for awhile. Better that than to forget and weaken the blade. This is per Suffolk’s recommendations.
The Craftsman 18” combo wood/metal bandsaw just isn’t all that solid. It’s not a cast-iron enclosure, but a bent-metal affair, with fairly thin, stamped metal doors. I can grab the table and move it around in relation to the blade without much effort. Still, the cut is pretty good, and certainly workable for me. My boards will all need jointing and planing after they dry for a year anyway, so it’s no matter.
Ignoring the check (olive checks terribly), it’s a nice, flat face.
As a final note, before I say goodnight, I tested out the fence’s “swing.” Looks like with the slop in the T-tracks, nuts, and bolts, I can get about 8° either direction of parallel with the blade. I have the Rockler jig kit with the sticky rulers and clear gauge sliders, and I’m planning, once I understand things a bit better, to lay those on either side on the top, so I can set the fence to any rough distance – the cuts are rough anyway – on each side, so I’ll have a parallel fence. However, if I need a skewed cut, it’s nice to have about 16° of total swing. Not being sure when or why I’ll need doesn’t mean I won’t!
A resawing jig, at last! Looks like with the 2’ length, and 2’ miter bar, and probably 19” long table, I can do about a 3’ long log. Not bad! That’s a good size for me in my little shop. I think I only have one log – that olive stump – longer than that, and it’s too big to pick up onto this table anyway.
Of note, The ball-bearing flip-up adapters on my Rockler outfeed roller stands are ideal for holding up the outer edge of the resawing jig. I’m using one in several of the pictures here, but with 2, I can slide this thing almost entirely off both ends without having it tip! That sure made things easy. It takes a little bit of setup, but it’s worth it, especially since with resawing, you set up once, and then resaw for a few hours. It’s not a constant hassle, like say, moving everything between the saw table and router table, as I’m always doing, trying to find some room to work :)
I’m sure I’ll have some videos of this thing in action soon enough.
With that, goodnight!
-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator