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Cutting Metal in the Woodshop

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 03-19-2012 01:17 AM 2807 reads 3 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As woodworkers we also need to cut metal once in a while. Also, having the ability to cut metal will allow us to create custom handles as I have on past projects.

The question is how do we get a clean cut? Hacksaw? Reciprocating saw?

Nope – portaband is the answer.

The portaband is a powerful, smooth cutting portable bandsaw and a tool that I recommend for any custom woodworkding shop.

Hope you enjoy!

Your friend in the shop-

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love~Share the Knowledge

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com



20 comments so far

View WoodLe's profile

WoodLe

154 posts in 1549 days


#1 posted 03-19-2012 01:42 AM

Great tool! Todd. I use one of these Milwakees all the time at my workplace. Way nicer than a recip any day! Recips still have their place in hard to reach places, but if there is anyway to use a hand bandsaw, that is what I reach for.

-- www.largewoodslabs.com Wooster, Ohio

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2852 days


#2 posted 03-19-2012 01:44 AM

It is definitely a smooth cutting machine due to the blade traveling only one direction. It is great for cutting metal stock and does not take up much space on the shelf.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Dave's profile

Dave

11205 posts in 1593 days


#3 posted 03-19-2012 01:48 AM

Thanks Todd, I have had one at my job for the last 12 years. It does get heavy use and its great. We use a Milwaukee.
Nice video.
And yes it is the only one we have had.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

34916 posts in 3153 days


#4 posted 03-19-2012 01:50 AM

Todd I often have wanted to buy one of those saws. (For the portability) Maybe 40 years ago I bought a Sears metal bandsaw. I have gone through many blades over the years and I’ve made a lot of things out of metal and also fixed lots of kids playground equipment that haven’t stood up to four or more rambunctious kids.

Great review.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2852 days


#5 posted 03-19-2012 01:55 AM

superdav – that just proves my point on spending the money a pro-grade tool.

Karson – I need the portability for my remodel work so this was really my only choice. It was a good choice too.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6902 posts in 1904 days


#6 posted 03-19-2012 02:31 AM

Great tip. I had to cut metal on my last project it was a pain. I was thinking about a reciprocating saw but I may have to look into one of these.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Hogger270's profile

Hogger270

11 posts in 1013 days


#7 posted 03-19-2012 04:13 AM

Woodworking band saws and lathes can somtimes be used to cut metals but tooth pitch and rake angles almost allways need to be changed. try for three teeth in contact with each layer of metal being cut and lower rake angles from +5 to -5 degrees. Two or less teeth will result in ripping the teeth off of the band. The lowest speeds available on woodworking machines is almost allways too high for metals (Aluminum can be cut at higher than the normal lows of woodworking machines if continuosly lubricated). Brass,copper, zinc,(non ferrous) and cast iron (mild not chilled) are possible. The addition of a jack shaft in the drive system is highly desirable. Lubrication and cooling are needed for all except cast iron which should be cut without either. Coolants (broad definition ) Primarily cool the cutting teeth and the material being cut with some lubricating properties. Lubricants Primarily reduce friction between the chips ,stock and tooth gullet with some coolant properties. As woodworking machines are not equiped with coolant sumps and guards flood coolant systems are seldom used . A gravity drip or spray mist system, manual brush application,or application from a solid form are more suitable.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2852 days


#8 posted 03-19-2012 04:38 AM

Hogger270 – I think you have a good topic now for a blog;)

I don’t do a lot of metal work, I hire most of it out. I don’t have the room in my shop and I don’t have the money to spend on it. I know guys that have the tools & experience to see my ideas through.

The portaband provides a relatively inexpensive way to do basic work with metal in a woodworking shop.

I have done some custom work myself. It was a fun challenge to create solid copper handles on a modern design closet.

Click for details

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Roger's profile

Roger

15362 posts in 1557 days


#9 posted 03-19-2012 05:56 AM

gr8 sell on the portaband saw. I do like incorporating metal/iron in some wood projects. I’ll definitely keep one o these in mind if I ever decide to buy one. Thnx for the review

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1797 posts in 1944 days


#10 posted 03-19-2012 06:15 AM

Great little saw, the trades men use them a lot in remodeling and demo. I work in a machine shop so I can do the government work in my spare time if I have to. I haven’t tried yet but I was buying jig saw blades today and there was a pack of carbide tooth blades made by Bosch, it would probably do real nice for flat plate metals. Good presentation Todd, well cut and clean!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6704 posts in 2732 days


#11 posted 03-19-2012 11:38 AM

Hi Todd,

Your right, they are very handy to have in the remodeling business. I have the Porter Cable, and it has worked well for me for a good number of years.

I also have a Revolution metal cutting chop saw, which uses blades that look like wood cutting blades, but will handle some serious steel. It can also be used on stainless and aluminum with a different blade.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQz9xV4sr8o&list=UUm5PImXabDD_bL9AezDCiPg&index=5&feature=plcp

Much less sparks and burrs the with the abrasive blade chop saws. ANd much faster cutting. They also make a hand held circular saw for cutting steel.

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2954 posts in 1838 days


#12 posted 03-19-2012 01:39 PM

The Portaband is a great tool, and the parts are readily available if you are going to be using it a lot. The new
enclosed blade metal cutting skil type saws also work great, I have had one for several years now, and also use
the abrasive cutting discs on my grinder, which involves gloves and a face shield. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 76 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2426 days


#13 posted 03-19-2012 08:29 PM

Nice tool, Todd!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Stephenw's profile

Stephenw

273 posts in 1138 days


#14 posted 03-19-2012 09:59 PM

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6902 posts in 1904 days


#15 posted 03-19-2012 10:05 PM

The metal cutting bandsaw table is awesome!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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