Making Blanks

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Forum topic by moke posted 01-14-2013 07:58 PM 1243 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1175 posts in 2772 days

01-14-2013 07:58 PM

Last week a farmer friend of mine gave me some walnut sections of a tree he took down. The trunk section was and about 6” and 20 to 24” in diameter before I started to cut them up. Never having done this before I watched a couple of videos, and set to making the blanks. I cut them to 10 to 12” lengths, then I split them in half with a chain saw. I have a Jet 14” bandsaw with the high rise and 1/2 skip tooth 4 tpi blade and I took to squaring them up and then to rounding them. Keeping in mind some of these were 12” x 9” thick when rounded, this was quite a chore. When watching the videos the guys just seem to cut there blanks with ease….this was a fight EVERY cut! It fed terrible, sometimes I had to push so hard it was dangerous.
I realize that some of the problems were the bark catching on the miter slot, the edge and the anything within 15 feet of the BS or it seemed like it. The blade got stuck twice. I cut up 6 blanks in 4.5 hours. I ended up with enough scrap and saw dust to make a new tree! (Most did not go into my DC)

Here is my questions, is my BS undersized, am I using the wrong blade, is it because of the sheer size of the blanks…what am I doing wrong? Am I tearing up what I feel is a very good bandsaw? Should I be doing more with the chainsaw…clipping the corners? If so, how so you hold the blank? (I’m inside using an electric chainsaw…it was 15 degrees yesterday) Lastly, I do not want to melt parafin in a huge pot, do I need to coat them with something? For a couple years I have been buying ebay blanks, it is looking like a better idea.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me…

-- Mike

7 replies so far

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2143 days

#1 posted 01-14-2013 08:52 PM

For sealing the end grain while they dry, you can use any ole exterior latex paint that you get for cheap at the store. I haven’t really done much blank preparation, so I can’t help there. I have seen videos of people and they seem to try to get them as close to round with the chainsaw as possible. I also know that many mention knocking off as much bark as possible, unless you’re shooting for a natural edge.

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2131 days

#2 posted 01-14-2013 09:52 PM

Wet wood is hard on bandsaw blades, one reason end seal and wait month or two before taking to bandsaw. Wet wood will turn a new blade old real fast.

I will split big logs and end seal with latex paint, any wax emulsion end sealer like anchor or greenwood end sealer will work as well. All simply brush on proposition. When ready to rough out real thick blanks simply trim up with my chain saw or bandsaw. I made a simple box put plank on top and trim away excess with chain saw..
I do not shoot for a perfectly round blank, simply mount between centers with chain saw. Sometime will use the worm screw in chuck and live center in tail stock.. I start forming a bowl between centers using two spur drive center & live center in tailstock. Can still turn a recess in base of bowl for mounting in chuck using this method.

I do not reseal bowl blanks afrer roughing out, may folks do.

-- Bill

View moke's profile


1175 posts in 2772 days

#3 posted 01-15-2013 05:54 PM

Thank you for the advice…I certainly have enough latex paint to paint a battleship…

-- Mike

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2131 days

#4 posted 01-15-2013 07:47 PM

I really messed up previous posting. Unless ready to rough turn just end seal with latex paint, anchor or greenwood end sealers after splitting. Leave blanks little longer because even with end sealing may get some end checking.

People have had trouble with wax emulsion end sealers like anchor seal and green wood sealer in extremely cold weather. Guess not suppose to let that stuff freeze. Canning wax will do a better job end sealing in cold weather.

If just trim with your chain saw and rough turn, might put blanks in a paper bag or wrap in newspaper for couple weeks then remove to air dry. Or just set aside to dry after rough turning. Some people do re-seal their roughed out blanks, I do not.

Tthink your bandsaw is fine, if going to do a lot cutting of bowl and spindle blanks on your bandsaw might look into getting a 3 TPI hook blade.

-- Bill

View Woodknack's profile (online now)


11611 posts in 2376 days

#5 posted 01-16-2013 04:04 AM

You may want to try a froe. If the wood is straight grained, what can take hours on the bandsaw will take minutes with the froe. I have sealed end grain with glue size (watered down wood glue) and it worked perfectly. Recently I tried shellac, it’s only been a month so too soon to tell but I expect it to work fine also.

-- Rick M,

View moke's profile


1175 posts in 2772 days

#6 posted 01-16-2013 05:57 PM

Thanks Rick…
I looked at Froe’s on the woodcraft site, I am afraid that I would bury that dude in my shin….
the glue size sounds like an awesome idea….I asked my lovely wife to stop and pick up some titebond III about two months ago and she got a gallon, which will last me a very long time and it will spoil before that…so this will help with that situation.

Thanks for all the help guys,

-- Mike

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3644 days

#7 posted 01-16-2013 06:12 PM

green wood will do that…

a few things to make things easier and safer:

1. debark the logs – any which way (I personally don’t do this often enough, so when I do , I simply use an old repurposed butcher knife , but a drawknife or a froe would be a much better choice). debarking not only makes the cut easier, it will also prolong the life of your bandsaw blade.

2. use a sled – secure the log to a resaw sled and use that to make your cuts. logs and anything not square (or heavier/larger) is not as safe to cut and a sled addresses that.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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