What tool do I need to get going?

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Forum topic by JustaLilJoinery posted 08-09-2013 06:26 AM 1186 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JustaLilJoinery's profile


31 posts in 1784 days

08-09-2013 06:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tools shop advice bandsaw set up resawing miniatures

So for those who don’t know – I’m new-ish to WWing and new to LJs.

I’m just about done setting up my very small space shop for the 3rd time but now that this 3rd was the actually getting stuff done in there re-arrangement, I’m fairly confident that I won’t have to do anything but tweak and make it cool. lol.

That’s the back story; this is the problem

I am a miniaturist wanting to make true joinery furniture in 12th scale. Since I’m eager to move forward I want to abandon the kits that I had previously practiced on and start converting my plans to miniature ones and start chopping that wood. This is the item that is the last item holding me up. I have a chunk of wood that I was advised is a very good one for scale building. It is a 2” thick X 12” X 12” slab of buttery, lovely Pear. BUT I am not sure what will be the best way to start to hog this into scale lumber that I can use without wrecking or wasting it…

I have the following tools and need to know what I need to move forward in the best way:

Miniature table saw capable blade height of 15/16” cuts
Miniature scrollsaw capable blade of 2 1/2”

10” Mitre saw w laser guide – this is not the sliding mitre though
Porter cable router mounted in table (but have not yet made any jigs to make good use of this yet..)
Drill press (also without jigs yet)
Foredom jewelry set up – can have a max 2” cutting disk on it
Sander 6” disk 1’ vertical strip
I also have 2 dremels and I bought the planer attachment for that BUT it turned out that it actually didn’t work with the models I have. CANT buy a 3Rd dremel if you know what I mean..but I do still have the attachment if it’s ‘kit-bashable’.

That’s mostly it so considering all this do you see a way of using my current machinery to effectively get my stock to useable dimensions?

OR if it’s impossible what is the best choice of equipment that I have to get in order to move forward.
If I would have to buy, it would be entry level machines. So Bandsaw? (i have NO experience with this tool) A makeshift planer? Please share your ideas.


-- Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped. -Hubbard

11 replies so far

View JustaLilJoinery's profile


31 posts in 1784 days

#1 posted 08-09-2013 06:29 AM

Oh, and if it helps, the maximum size any one piece would be for my purposes would be around 4” X 6” and 1/4” thick.

-- Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped. -Hubbard

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3676 days

#2 posted 08-09-2013 06:52 AM

Proxxon makes a planer for miniatures but it is

I recommend you acquire a linotype saw/trimmer. I have
one. They come with (don’t buy if it’s not there) a
crosscutting gauge that has an indexing stop in
pica units and also a clamp which allows precision
ripping of tiny cross-sections up to about 6” long.

Stock can be sanded to thickness with a sanding
drum mounted on a drill press and a fence setup.
Luthiers sometimes use these for dimensioning
purfling strips. It is also possible to scrape to
thickness with a related setup. Thus it was done
before electric motors came along.

A band saw is fine to have. The INCA 10” is
an exquisite machine.

View bondogaposis's profile


4770 posts in 2380 days

#3 posted 08-09-2013 01:33 PM

I think you need a bandsaw to mill these small pieces into miniature lumber.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2390 days

#4 posted 08-09-2013 02:21 PM

I think you need to start making something to figure it out for yourself.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View BBF's profile


143 posts in 1867 days

#5 posted 08-09-2013 02:39 PM

^+1 with Clint

-- I've never been disappointed buying quality but I have been disappointed buying good enough.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2999 days

#6 posted 08-09-2013 08:29 PM

A coping saw and a couple of hand saws (fine teeth), some chisels, a block plane, square, rule and marking tools.
These hand tools would get you going; provided you have a bench to work on.
Maybe you could sell those miniature “tools” to pay for these.

The best power tool for your size work, besides the sander and drill you already have, would be a band saw.

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4126 days

#7 posted 08-10-2013 03:22 AM

I’m thinking along the lines of Crank. Shooting board and a bench hook added to his list.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View MrFid's profile


876 posts in 1933 days

#8 posted 08-10-2013 03:34 AM

Agree with Michael and Wayne. I manage without a bandsaw, but don’t do much in the way of curves in my own work. Shooting board with block plane will be important for you.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View JustaLilJoinery's profile


31 posts in 1784 days

#9 posted 08-10-2013 07:23 AM

Thanks for the response.
Loren – I’ll google luthiers and see how they work – it’s a good idea

Bondogaposis – I was thinking that’s what I need but was still hoping a kitbash would work well enough. I have a few jigs planned that it would chunk stock down for me enough to work on the router table.

Clint/BBF I’m not so proud to not ask for help, I was under the impression that this forum was a good and safe place to do that. Since I know that I already do a lot of ‘figurin’ it out on my own, and am frugal and money-smart enough to not waste money buying tools that I’m not already experienced with then playing and finding out it wasn’t the best way to go, I’m going to just chalk your answers up to well-intentioned assumed-I-do-nothing-for-myself- internet chat and just move on to those who took valuable time to save me from either buying something I don’t need or mucking around with jimmyrigs when I needed a proper tool, with thanks and appreciation. If you really don’t want to offer any answers to my actual questions or find out what I’ve already ‘figured’ out, with respect, you needn’t bother to waste any of your time hitting ‘reply.’

Crank49 – I would NEVER sell my mini tools. The ones I have both as accurate as scary sharp and give me the exact results that can be expected within their specs. I have great respect for my Byrnes saw especially. BUT since I already have coping and small handsaws, do you just mean to measure and mark well and cut by hand? I don’t think I would have enough stamina due to health in order to keep on with this small slab…but in the end you also recommend a band saw so it’s almost like more of a poll than a request for info now right? Thanks for the input

WayneC Mr Fid – thanks, I think you are in the majority here. I know about Shooting boards and have a bang on hand plane – again the weight means that I’d use it more for fine adjustments to thickness much like the drillpress planer attachment that looks good but less quick and to the point. I think all in all I’ll have to read up more on the bandsaw and it’s capabilities…then find out where to squeeze it in if the ‘mean-time’ suggestions dont’ pan out.


-- Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped. -Hubbard

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4153 days

#10 posted 08-13-2013 10:54 PM

I use a drill press with a sanding drum and a fence to build an impromptu drum sander sand thin pieces down to a consistent thickness, so that’s roughly the same operation you’d do with a planer. Only gets me an inch and a half or so thick, but for 1/12 scale that’s a scale foot and a half.

So I think the capability you’re missing is the ability to resaw into small lumber. That, to me, screams “bandsaw”. But if you’re patient and good with hand tools you can resaw that way.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

608 posts in 2927 days

#11 posted 08-13-2013 11:43 PM

+1 with Clint

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