All Replies on Efficient setup for taking stock to thin thicknesses

  • Advertise with us
View Woodworker123's profile

Efficient setup for taking stock to thin thicknesses

by Woodworker123
posted 04-22-2012 04:31 PM

25 replies so far

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2324 days

#1 posted 04-22-2012 06:10 PM

I would talk to someone who makes guitars as they probably have all that worked out. Grizzly sells a lot of equipment targeted to that market, I’d look at their site.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3716 days

#2 posted 04-22-2012 06:19 PM

Have you tried jointing one face , bandsaw slightly thicker than needed and then using a card scraper to get rid of bandsaw marks ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Woodworker123's profile


89 posts in 2881 days

#3 posted 04-22-2012 06:46 PM

Hzelton, what makes you think about guitar manufacturers? I can’t think of what component would be similar to these specs. I’ve looked at Grizzly’s site, but it’s one thing to just look at the equipment and imagine in my head if it could do the job well, versus someone who has actually experienced multiple machines/processes and can point me in the right direction.

Dusty, I haven’t done that. I don’t have access to a wood shop anymore, so whatever solution I come up with will mean purchasing that equipment, including a jointer if needed. Off the top of my head, that seems like a lot of work to scrape the bandsaw marks off. To be honest, I hate using a cabinet scraper because I always end up getting too agressive and my hands hurt so much after. Also, for this application it seems less than ideal because it will be a production deal and I want to minimize the amount of time and effort I have to put into each step.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3716 days

#4 posted 04-22-2012 07:38 PM

My suggestion was in response to the information given in the original post.
You didn’t mention that you were trying to mass produce these thin pieces of wood.
Trying to sand oily woods without clogging the grit , especially the finer grits , is virtually impossible , hence the card scraper thoughts. You don’t mention if you need both sides to be perfectly finished in the end , only that you want to reduce the thickness. My next attempt would be using a Sand-Flee , but that might also be too labor intensive for your needs. Sorry.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 2409 days

#5 posted 04-22-2012 08:57 PM

A good drum sander which I’m sure you already know this. Depending on the width you would be working with you could make one. I say this because I know bowyers (bow builders) work with these specs all the time when building laminated bows but the width is never any wider than about 2”. I myself built a jig I could slide under my belt sander (while it is in the vertical position) so to sand my own laminations. Honestly, I don’t like it, it’s too finicky and I will buying a drum sander soon or building a more stable and accurate drum sander. So I’m saying if the width your going to be working with is not to wide you could put something together with just a spindle/drum sander on a drill press otherwise a drum sander with wider capabilities is needed. I have seen some bowyers happy with the Grizzly Babydrum sander but I’m curious myself what others here on lumberjocks prefer. Good luck with everything.

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2324 days

#6 posted 04-22-2012 09:58 PM

@Jack – you don’t think the face or back of an acoustic guitar is thinner than a dime?

You dismiss the first two comments to your post with a ‘you just don’t get it’ attitude. Why not make it easy on yourself and just buy veneer and let someone else absorb the cost? You can get veneers in multiple thicknesses and you won’t have to absorb the cost of waste from mistakes made by a steep learning curve or cheap equipment.

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3015 days

#7 posted 04-22-2012 10:30 PM

How wide do the .045” thick pieces need to be?
If it is just a few inches you could use this jig on a Ridgid OSS.
I have sanded strips less than 1/16” on my drum sanders with velcro sandpaper. I have never had heat or loading issues with velcro sandpaper on my drum sander.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 2409 days

#8 posted 04-22-2012 11:09 PM

SASsmith nice jig, you went the extra mile and made sure platen was flat on the sander. The type of jig I built works on spindle part of the belt sander, it’s a bit easier correct for flatness but I’m sure yours gets the job done and gets it done faster which is all that matters (that it gets the job done).

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3676 days

#9 posted 04-22-2012 11:24 PM

A Hitachi resaw can make that cut. Runs a 3” wide blade.
Narrower blades on cheaper saws can make the cut too,
but the tolerances are so fine you’ll be constantly fussing
with setups unless you invest in a saw actually designed
for resaw applications.

A custom-made scraping machine perhaps. In the old days
luthiers would scrape purfling to thickness. I don’t remember
what the old tool is called. Your designed width is thin enough
to set it up with an oscillating drum sander and a fence,
hand feeding the work.

You didn’t specify what you are working to make and I
don’t want to pry into your business, but you are asking
for a really fine tolerance in wood, presumably hoping
for reasonable speed, economy of the machinery involved,
and a reject rate that doesn’t drive you crazy.

One solution would be to get the Hitachi or other robust
smaller resaw and farm out the thickness sanding to a
shop with a wide belt.

View Woodworker123's profile


89 posts in 2881 days

#10 posted 04-23-2012 12:29 AM

Hey Hazelton, I realize now my response sounded a little dismissive, but that wasn’t my intent at all. I was being an idiot (seriously, very stupid) and thought you were talking about electric guitars, in which case you can probably understand my confusion.

The reason I haven’t gone with veneers is because I tried but eventually gave up trying to find them in that thickness. .045” is pretty thick for veneers, especially exotics. That was my experience spending several hours/days looking for thicker veneers and speaking with a few companies. I would gladly just buy them at my desired thickness as I am currently doing with a few domestic species. Having said that, your link shows two-ply veneers, which I hadn’t found earlier, and are only 10 mil off of my desired thickness. That’s small enough I can probably just add a substrate to give myself the extra thickness.

Dusty, I didn’t mean to be dismissive of you either, and in retrospect I realize I left out that bit of crucial info that this is for a production application. I will look into the sand-flee, I haven’t heard of that. I realize there will simply be limitations due to the nature of the wood gumming up sand paper, I guess my hope is finding a resaw process that gets it close so I don’t have to remove too much material with a sander, and then using a sander that reduces how often I spend swapping out paper.

The pieces only need to be about 2.5” wide, what I am sourcing now happens to be wider, 4.5” to be exact. This extra width helps me sand the surface with a ROS before laser cutting the parts, although if I am sanding the material to thickness myself I can simply do the same with the finest grit I am using with the ROS.

I’ll look into the OSS (which I had never heard of) and resaws. I knew I would need a bandsaw that can accept a wide blade, but I wasn’t aware of bandsaws that were even more oriented to resawing.

Loren, the application is iPhone back panels. I posted a LJ project a few months ago of them – The business has been doing very well, which is fortunate because I am soon to be laid off of my day job as a research engineer. I thought it would be much easier to offer exotic wood species, but having not found a local shop that can (or will) do this for me, I have had to limit myself to species I can source from a supplier. I will check again with them to verify they are unwilling or able to do special orders for exotics, but I have a vague recollection of a conversation with them months ago where they said they could not do this due to the same issues of loading up the drum sander that I had. (although they are using a wide belt sander I believe)

View Woodworker123's profile


89 posts in 2881 days

#11 posted 04-23-2012 12:59 AM

Oh, I have heard of and used an OSS, I didn’t recognize it from that initialism.

This sand-flee is an interesting piece of equipment, I’m not sure how the work holding part of it works from their website but I’ll try to read up on it more.

Loren, I’m not pulling up many hits for the Hitachi resaws. Are they still sold in the US and if so happen to know of a distributor? Alternatively, who else makes machines in this class? I’m not having much luck finding other band saws that can take a 3” wide blade but maybe I’m looking in the wrong places? I can envision myself doing plenty of resawing in the future for other business projects, so I would rather not skimp on a smaller machine with narrower blades if it will make a substantial difference in performance.

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2324 days

#12 posted 04-23-2012 01:20 AM

Jack – no harm no foul. I seriously think you may be better off laminating a couple thicknesses of veneer together with a vacuum press, or even just some heavy weights as your final pieces are so small. You can use a lesser grade as the backup and you broaden your choice of species to your customers. Plus you eliminate almost all of your sanding. To resaw and sand/plane like that on a production basis will take a serious investment in equipment and time, but is assuredly do-able. The cheapest OSS that I know of that will last (has metal gears) is the JET. Stay away from the plastic Grizzly and Delta as they have nylon gears and won’t hold up for long. If there’s a Harbor Freight near you you can almost always find a coupon for their OSS in some of the woodworking magazines and get it for something crazy like $90, but buy the extended warranty because you will eventually need it. You can probably get exotic wood blanks from a place that sells bowl blanks for woodturners. Good luck.

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3952 days

#13 posted 04-23-2012 01:35 AM

Jet 10/20 16/32 or 22/44 any one will do what you want. The band saw should be able to take a 1” blade I got a used 16” Laguna for $690.00 I see used open end drum sanders used for around 5 to 8 hundred so realistically you can get both for around $1,500.00

View bent's profile


311 posts in 3697 days

#14 posted 04-23-2012 01:52 AM

you can use a bandsaw to resaw boards to get it close. then take the resawn pieces and use double sided tape to stick it to a piece of mdf. you can then run the thin stock/mdf through a planer to get the saw marks out and get it to final thickness.

i’ve made accoustic guitars this way.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3676 days

#15 posted 04-23-2012 02:17 AM

The Hitachi models are the CB75F and CB100F. They are
always available on ebay and Craigslist due to their specialized
applications, but maybe not near you.

I own an older pre-CB Hitachi resaw and while I haven’t used
it much, it resaws better in my opinion than a standard saw
running a 1/2” – 1” blade. There is beam strength at play
with the 3” wide blade. Many Hitachi’s were sold to luthiers
in N. America. In Japan they are a timber framing tool.

A fine modern European bandsaw with a 1” blade can make
the cut as well. The Euro saws have more power than
the Japanese resaw machines. Prices can be pretty high
but used saws are not hard to find considering all the affluent
hobbiests who buy high-end band saws.

View Woodworker123's profile


89 posts in 2881 days

#16 posted 04-27-2012 08:54 PM

Loren, a quick look around didn’t show much available here in central Texas. I’ll keep an eye out and wait for something to come along. For what it’s worth, I read some reviews that said the Hitachi’s were underpowered for resawing. Then again that could have been coming from large shops who’s needs are above and beyond any demand you or I would put on it.

I got a sample kit from It seems very promising, and I think it will end up being a good source even for domestics. Using a multiple ply solution will mean less throwaway of extremely warps boards. I also doubt I’ll have to worry about playing games with the dimensioning for different species to allow for expansion contraction as much, assuming I get more stability out of cross grain plies. I just have to change “solid hardwood” to “hardwood” on my website :)

Now I’m off to go read up on vacuum bags and veneer glue since I’ll need to glue up slightly thicker than available sheets.

Thanks for the help.

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3770 days

#17 posted 04-27-2012 09:55 PM

The planer method works well with double stick tape.

You mention 0.045 thickness, is it critical that it be .045, or does it all just need to be identical?
Just curious – as 1/16th veneer (0.0625) is wideley available in many species.

I like

But it sounds like you already covered this with the vendors on the phones.
Good luck

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Woodworker123's profile


89 posts in 2881 days

#18 posted 04-27-2012 10:00 PM

Posted a followup post with a few veneer-centric questions here –

DrDirt, the .045 is pretty critical. They’re adhered to a plastic bezel frame with a lip. If the wood inlay is too thick or too thin, it quickly becomes obvious in the look and feel as the lip is not flush. The feel is probably most important since they go on the back of a phone that people handle all the time and become in tune with the feel of. So far, I have noticed any deviation over ~ +/- 0.005” becomes apparent. I realize that’s a pretty fine tolerance for wood and also that I may be more particular and OCD than the vast majority of potential customers.

View ambrosia12's profile


2 posts in 2146 days

#19 posted 08-07-2012 06:49 PM

Sanding from 4/4 stock to those tolerances is a total pain! I’ve had a lot of luck with They’ve got around 50 species of domestics and exotics in a wide variety of widths and thicknesses. They’re especially good if you’re searching for thicker than average veneers. Another source I’ve had luck with is They specialize in uke and banjo kits but they also carry a ‘secret’ stash of exotic body kits and blanks. You’ve got to call them to see what’s in stock but they almost always have a wide variety of domestics and exotic blanks and veneers and will cut or thickness to your exact spec’s. (Papa’s shop #: 910-742-0269) Hope this helps!

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2542 days

#20 posted 08-07-2012 07:29 PM

If you have a good spiralhead planer, or even a three bladed planer with really sharp blades, you can simply glue the wood to be thinned to sacrificial stock with a cheap white glue or even spray adhesive, and run it through the planer until it is the proper thickness. Just make sure the two surfaces to be joined for planing are true to each other for grip. Then with water or in the case of spray adhesive use lacquer thinner, it will come off and be perfect. I’ve done it, and achieved paper thin wood this way to use as shim stock. I did it for years on my old Rigid lunchbox planer, just have to make sure the blades are hair cutting sharp.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 2409 days

#21 posted 08-07-2012 08:32 PM

These are exactly the the thicknesses I work with in laminated bows. There are many ways you can make yourself a small drum sander to get this done. I do it by cutting at the bandsaw to 3/16” to 1/16” then grind down to .045-.050 thick, checking with a caliper as I grind down. You could even turn your belt sander into a drum sander with not that much or put something together with a drum sander on a drill press. Here is a link of a guy I got the idea from for the belt sander lamination grinder
Yes the widths in a bow are more around 1 1/2” to 2” about 6ft long but 4 1/2” isn’t that far off. It can be done. Good luck.

View MrRon's profile


4797 posts in 3271 days

#22 posted 08-08-2012 05:27 PM

Ryobi also had a resaw machine that used a 3” wide blade. That was around 30 years ago. You might be able to locate a used one. I hear they were pretty good. I believe they sold for around $500.

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2229 days

#23 posted 08-18-2012 11:33 PM

I have been making some thin strips myself and have a 37” wide SuperMax. I just made a sled and put the strips on it and sent it through. I have been doing many Exotics and domistics as well…. Once you know how to operate a drum sander it will make life much easier, at first I would burn and trash out my belts, Make sure your using the right grit…... I have the best luck with 80 grit, then check your speed, and also make sure you have proper dust collection on it. On a 37” there are 2 ports but on the 25 there are only 1 port. Getting the dust out of there quickly is a big help and also dress up the sanding belts once in a while just take 30 seconds…. Play around with it and you will get it down pat. I did switch the conveyor belt to the rubber one and love it…..

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 2705 days

#24 posted 08-20-2012 02:47 AM

Jack, I have manufactured several thousand square feet of sawn veneer with a final thickness of .050, give or take. Here are the steps that I use.

Skip plane the rough sawn board so that it has a fully surfaced side, and the other side can be either fully surfaced or close.

Horizontal resaw the boards into veneer, usually cutting at either .090 or .130 depending upon the band that I’m using. I use a 30 hp Grizzly dedicated horizontal resaw, and typically the leaves are within a few thousands of an inch from side to side and end to end. The two bands that I use are either Lennox Tri-masters (which usually require about .030 to be sanded from each side in order to remove all keft marks), or Laguna Resaw Kings. After an initial rocky start, I’ve only recently started trying the RK’s again, and am more satisfied with the result. They only require around 015 to be sanded off per side.

After resawing, I sand in an EMC wide belt sander. I had to make a couple of modifications to the sander to allow it to successfully sand thin veneers (added an air line blowing across the IR sensor, and modified the limit switch to allow it to sand below .130

Best of success to you with your project.


-- Scott, North Carolina,

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2826 days

#25 posted 08-20-2012 03:39 AM

Any bandsaw with a Woodslicer should be able to cut the pieces almost right on the first time.
Slicing only 2 1/2” thickness is very easy with them. I have two and cut veneer deeper than that frequently.
I run it through the drum sander on a piece of 3/4” plywood with the leading edges held down by double sided tape. I often have to cut shop veneer to match 1/32” commercial stuff for marquetry.
I had lots of plugging / burning problems with the drum sander until I switched to velcro . It seems to run much cooler.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics