Bandsaw use: cutting thin pieces

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Forum topic by Tom posted 07-22-2016 12:17 AM 957 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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178 posts in 1207 days

07-22-2016 12:17 AM

I have a 14” bandsaw and was trying to cut a 3/4” thick piece of maple. The maple was a circle and I had it braced on the fence and had a piece of 2×4 on the other side. As I was feeding it the saw kicked it back and bent the blade. So..what did I do wrong? Does it need to be braced on some sort of jig or should I just clamp it in my vice and use a handsaw? It’ll take longer but I won’t break things..including me. I thought about using the table saw…clamping it to another piece of wood and making 2-3 passes to cut through but have rejected that as “not super safe.”

13 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2682 posts in 3069 days

#1 posted 07-22-2016 01:12 AM

I would cut it on the band saw freehand just outside your line. Then sand to the line on a stationary belt sander.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2649 days

#2 posted 07-22-2016 01:15 AM

Sorry, I just need to clarify what you mean when you say “the maple was a circle”. If I understand correctly, you started with a circular disc or “cylinder”, greater than 3/4” thick, standing with its round edge on the table and with the face of the disc against the fence. Is that correct? What diameter is the circle?

At the school where I teach, I have safe operating procedures next to each machine for my students to refer to. The SOP for the band saw includes the statement “FORBIDDEN: Cutting cylindrical or irregular stock.” That’s because instead of cutting through the wood, the teeth could catch and cause the wood to rotate in an uncontrolled manner, which could damage either your fingers or the blade.

So, solutions. Hand saw is probably the best option, provided you can achieve the quality of cut that you need. Table saw is scary unless you are really able to secure the wood. In situations like this, I always feel that whatever could go wrong on the band saw could just as easily go wrong on the table saw, except faster and with more power transferred from the saw to the material.

If you wanted to try again on the band saw, you need to find some way to prevent the material from rotating. If it is a disc, could you hot glue a square piece of scrap material to one of the faces of the circle? If it is a cylinder, could you fix a strip of wood along the length to stop it rotating? When making the cut, the strip would need to be on the side of the circle that first comes into contact with the blade and needs to remain in contact with the table at all times.

We probably need more information, and pictures if possible, to properly understand what it is you are trying to do and so to give any other ideas.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Tom's profile


178 posts in 1207 days

#3 posted 07-22-2016 01:47 AM

Tootles: the piece was a disk about 4” across and 3/4” thick. It caught on the blade, popped out, bent the blade (have to get a replacement) and I have a few dinged up fingernails. Lucky it wasn’t worse. I am NOT going to try this on the table saw…I will just use a handsaw and belt sand the cut side smooth. It’ll be not visible so doesn’t have to be perfect.

I am going to replace the 3/8” blade that bent with a 1/2” “good” blade so I can resaw some English Walnut I was given. That I will have mounted to a jig so I can get a flat side so it can be cut into boards.

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2649 days

#4 posted 07-22-2016 02:24 AM

Thanks Tom. I do think the hand saw is the best way to go.

Plus, I have a real story to tell my students when I discuss the SOP, not just the theoretical version!

Glad it only got your finger nails and no more.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View jbay's profile


2678 posts in 1046 days

#5 posted 07-22-2016 02:28 AM

Start with a square, do the re-saw, then cut the discs out.

View muleskinner's profile


897 posts in 2583 days

#6 posted 07-22-2016 02:36 AM

I’ve cut slabs off of round stock but always when it’s clamped into a V jig. Something that thin would preclude that. Maybe glue it onto a piece of square stock and then feed it through.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View Kelly's profile


2092 posts in 3091 days

#7 posted 07-23-2016 08:11 AM

Many of us cut slabs off logs. Without a sled, it would be a repeating disaster.

My sled for this purpose is just a V using a couple pieces of ply resting on a piece of ply at the point and that is braced on both sides, at each end. This gives support on reasonably long pieces and allows you to get past the tendency of the blade wanting to spin the wood [and break hell loose].

Needless to say, short pieces are a challenge. For them, I might go back to the fence, but would cut a piece out to fill the gaps at the bottom front and back. We do that all the time with cut pieces. We just use double back tape to hold them on, where they were cut off, so we have a good working surface. Of course, double back tape isn’t going to work well on a rough surface, so you may have to screw a piece on and keep track of the screws, as you cut.

View Clarkie's profile


455 posts in 1988 days

#8 posted 07-23-2016 11:33 AM

Why would you not see the 3/8” blade is too thick for the curve of the cut? That is why the blade buckled and bent, use a new 3/16” blade and cut with a moderate feed rate.

View Tom's profile


178 posts in 1207 days

#9 posted 07-23-2016 03:17 PM

I wasn’t making a curved cut I was cutting a round piece in half, sort of like slicing the end off of a log. I finally clamped the piece into my vice, got it started with a handsaw and finished with a sawzall. Used a sander to smooth the cut marks and it’s good enough for now.

View NoSpace's profile


129 posts in 1387 days

#10 posted 07-23-2016 03:21 PM

I’m trying to understand what you were doing. you had circular slab you were resawing into thin discs?

I’ve done similar with a 5” x 3/4 ” thick compass rose I made from pieces cut on miter saw then resawed into inlays. I glued it to a rectangular piece of plywood, and then glued a similar-length piece of plywood about three inches wide perpendicular to that—to keep my hands way out of the way—and then because the piece is short, glued some sacraficial wood about the same width before and after the star and flattened the whole thing on a belt sander. Then I held it solid against the fence and resawed it—worked really well.

Sounds like the piece wasn’t secured very well? If the blade was a little dull that would also contribute, but if the piece is secure, the blade would just wander and do a crappy cut. Not blow anything up.

View Tom's profile


178 posts in 1207 days

#11 posted 07-23-2016 03:23 PM

I had a 3/4” piece that I’d cut into a 4” circle so had a disk. I wanted to cut that in half so each piece was 3/8” thick. The bandsaw didn’t like that.

View rwe2156's profile


3092 posts in 1627 days

#12 posted 07-23-2016 03:37 PM

Either one of the following will solve your problem:

1. Screw a straight piece of wood against 1 edge and put against fence.
2. Fasten circle to a square piece of wood with double sided tape.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Kelly's profile


2092 posts in 3091 days

#13 posted 07-23-2016 03:38 PM

If you have a flat side, you can take a trick from turners – use a layer of paper between the stock you’re cutting and the piece you’ll hold it with. When done, you’ll separate the two at the paper.

Again, having a cradle, whether it carries the piece (if it’s long enough) or is part of the piece and fills the gap that would, otherwise, be under the piece will stabilize it.

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