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Cutting Your Own Strip Wood
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 Posted: Tue Nov 15th, 2011 10:36 am
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titus
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Does anyone here cut their own strip wood? I've seen guys do this before and I'm wondering about what all is involved in it. There's a few reasons I'm interested: 1.) economics and 2.) convenience/flexibility.

One challenge, it seems, to scratchbuilding is always having that size of strip wood that you need on hand. Part of what makes that challenging is that strip wood companies price wood based less on the size and more on a standard size per piece. For example, a block of basswood is much cheaper per cubed unit than a single piece of strip wood. Buying and keeping stripwood in stock on your hobby desk gets expensive.

The other challenge is availability. Some local hobby stores only carry sizes down to 1/16 (which means if you need 3/32 or 5/32 sizes you're out-scout). Even still, those who keep a full range of sizes don't always have every size in stock, or you end up with that situation where you need 3 sticks and your LHS has 3 but one is broken and so you're debating if you can still make it work or not.

Anyways, it seems like being able to buy a large piece of basswood (or whatever else) and then to cut it down into the size/shape I need would be much more affordable.

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So how?

What tools are needed? How small of a size can be reasonably made? Does it come out as more hassle than it's worth?

I've been thinking it over and it seems there are 2 pieces: 1.) Cutting a bigger chunk of wood down to smaller sheets. 2.) Taking those smaller sheets and ripping them down to small strips.

Seems like the tools of choice would be a full size bandsaw for #1 and one of those mini table saws for #2.

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Anyone have experience or input with this?

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 Posted: Tue Nov 15th, 2011 11:04 am
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Herb Kephart
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I do this with clear soft pine, and a tabletop mini-circular saw -3" blade, with about 90 teeth--Available from Micro-Mark--but certainly available cheaper elsewhere if you want to spend time on the 'net searching. I made my own. I can cut down to .020" thick with no problems, with the slot in the saw table having minimum clearance for the blade.

For cutting strips from commercial flat stock, try a balsa stripper--go to a hobby shop that caters to the airplane guys--they use them all the time--so does Woodie Greene.


Herb 



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 Posted: Tue Nov 15th, 2011 11:09 am
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titus
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Herb -- I completely forgot about that wood stripper Woodie advocates. I actually have one around somewhere. I should try digging that guy out and seeing if that suits my needs before I drop the cash on a mini table saw.

Last edited on Tue Nov 15th, 2011 11:09 am by titus

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 Posted: Tue Nov 15th, 2011 09:34 pm
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CarlOn30
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This is what I use, I ripped a block of bass wood

on a table saw 6" x 1/4" strips. I then use the

Proxxon to get 1/4" x .015. It has a vac. attachment for dust control. It works very well.



Carl.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 15th, 2011 10:00 pm
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titus
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Carl,

How do the final strips work out, in terms of finish? Are they rough or smooth?

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 Posted: Wed Nov 16th, 2011 07:38 am
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JohnM
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I've had some success with veneer from the Home Despot, or other lumber yard, cut on a paper guillotine.

John

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 Posted: Wed Nov 16th, 2011 10:02 am
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W C Greene
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If you are careful, basswood sheets up to around 1/4" can be accurately cut into strips. I have a MASTER AIRSCREW balsa stripper which costs about 6 bucks at the hobby shop. I use the larger Xacto blades in mine so as to make straighter cuts. Remember that this tool is made for balsa and the #11 blade is kind of wimpy for basswood. I had a miniature table saw once and used once...too much mess for me. I am thankful that the stores here carry great supplies of Midwest basswood in sticks & sheets so I never worry about running out of stock. It also helps (me) that I don't worry about exact scale wood, I use the "close enough" and "eyeball" measuring system.
Woodie



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 Posted: Wed Nov 16th, 2011 10:39 am
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mabloodhound
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I cut a majority of my stripwood from 3/4" scrap pine board (clear) left over from 1:1 jobs.   Much of this scrap can be had for free on home building job sites, just for the asking.

I rip this down to thickness desired (down to 1/32") on my full size table saw BUT using a 7 1/4" fine kerf Tenryu blade http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tenryu-PT-18552-T-7-1-4-52-Tooth-Circular-Saw-Blade-/360373742146

I then take the 3/4" wide strips and cut them to stripwood width on this saw, a modified Harbor Freight $39 saw, with a very thin kerf blade (not the one with the saw).


I bought the 4" thin kerf blade from Thurston http://www.thurstonmfg.com/cut-off-saws.html

I have tried the slitting tools but found the pine wood grain is too coarse and wavy to get a good cut.

This build was all made with pine stripwood from my shop.







Last edited on Wed Nov 16th, 2011 10:50 am by mabloodhound



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 Posted: Wed Nov 16th, 2011 10:53 am
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titus
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Woodie --

Ok, you answered one of my thoughts about cutting strip wood, is that it seemed to require a lot of force a be a bit cumbersome to cut well with a #11 blade. I was thinking about doing some experiments with blades that had more surface area, like a #10. Your comments seem to re-enforce that I was on the right track. Will do some more messing with that.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 16th, 2011 10:55 am
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titus
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Dave --

Pretty neat work for such an inexpensive tool.

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