Woodturners and Band Saws – Good Friends in the Shop

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Woodturners need wood to turn. This obvious statement quickly leads to the question of where to get the wood and then how to get it ready for the wood lathe? For most woodturners it begins with a chainsaw and then the band saw. Band saws are certainly the woodturner’s friend in the woodworking shop.
A chainsaw is used to cut a log to length and then to cut it down the center. Sometimes it is also used to cut slabs off the side or, rarely for the woodturner, to cut the log into rough boards. Then the wood is taken to the band saw.
Most wood introduced to the woodworking shop in this fashion is undried, what the woodworker call green or wet wood. In order to cut it well and safely, the band saw should have a fairly coarse blade such as three teeth to the inch. It should also be freshly sharpened or a fairly new blade. As green wood is cut the blade friction produces heat that may cause the water in the cells to expand and grab the blade. The sharper the blade the less friction produced and the safer the cut. Some turners like to use vegetable or mineral oil on the blade to reduce friction in the cut.
The half log can be cut into boards with the band saw. A rough line down the outside of the log gives a good way to follow. Before starting be sure that there is good balance support for the log section both before and after the cut. Also ensure that there is a flat surface against the table at all times. Curved or very uneven surfaces encourage a roll of the wood which will bind the blade and likely break it. At the best the saw will stall and the blade will be kinked.
A band saw is a great tool for cutting bowl blanks round. Templates made simply of circles of cardboard can be attached with a couple of small nails to the rounded side of the log and the flat placed on the table. All that is needed is to follow the template with the blade as the cut is made.
Once rough boards or blanks are cut be sure to work for good drying. End grain should be sealed with wax emulsion sealer such as the hardwood lumber mills and other high end mills use to slow checking and splits in drying wood. Boards need to be stickered for air flow and bowl blanks should be stacked so as to allow good air flow around the whole blank.
Because most wood for turning is used in fairly short pieces, this is not hard to do. It is considerably cheaper than buying boards and blanks and some wood can be gotten in no other way but cutting your own. Besides, there is the satisfaction in making something in the shop as we go not from lumber yard to shelf, but from log to lathe to finished work.

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Thank you for reading the article above. Many important points you need to know.
Have you ever:
– Wanted to build something, because you cannot find it “retail”?
– Thought of making something custom for a specific need?
– Struggled to find detailed plans to build your dream project?

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects