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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.

-----------------------------------------------

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.

-----------------------------------------------

Anyone have experience or input with this?

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 

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 03:09 pm by titus

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.

titus
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Carl,

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

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

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

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 02:50 pm by mabloodhound

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.

titus
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Dave --

Pretty neat work for such an inexpensive tool.

chasv
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I have used my 10' table saw with a fine panel blade down to a little less than 1/8 " . I made a new plate for the blade and put a strip of an old car door magnet on the fence to get rid of the gap under it. also a push stick as i still have all my fingers and don't want to loose any.

Herb Kephart
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Car door magnet idea is a winner---good thinking.

And yes, so is a push stick--even with one of the small model building saws.



Herb 

Tom Keller
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Nice work. I take it you're a woodworker too.

chasv
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redwood or fence cedar cut the best for small stuff. i have the leftovers from a fence that was torn down cut it right and it is already weathered

TK1
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Hi,

I know this thread is a few months old, but I'm new here and this is one of the few areas I can possibly contribute. So I thought I'd just chip in...hopefully this will be helpful.

It's easy enough to mill your own wood, as the other posters have attested to. I've used a Proxxon saw as shown in the previous post, but it just depends how close to a log your initial timber is. Ship model builders will often start with a log and work down to 1mm x 3mm strips, for example.

Aside from a fine circular saw, a small/medium bandsaw is great. A bandsaw can rip down a log or large billet, and then with a decent fence (even home-made) can cut thin strips. Apart from pine, myself and other ship builders use apple, pear, cherry, huon pine, and any other close-grained wood. This is the important thing for scale work, having close-grained wood so it doesn't look over-scale.

If your finance allow, look into buying/building a thickness sander - Google Jim Byrnes Model Machines for an excellent drum/thickness sander (and tablesaw). Once ripped on a saw, the sander will sand to exact thickness and remover marks/fuzz. Sure, you can do this by hand, but more efficient with a machine.

Search model ship scratchbuilding forums for tools and ideas for milling your own lumber. Much cheaper than purchasing and you can get the exact size and type you want. And it means I can make structures out of redwood, pine, cedar, etc for some character rather than just balsa or basswood.

Happy to show the process or elaborate if anyone's interested. Or I'll just go back into my corner with my red wine :)

Regards,
Darren

Herb Kephart
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Darren--

As gently as possible, I removed your duplicate posts

Thanks for the ideas--I have thought about a thickness sander for a long time. I know that Micro-Mart sells one, but I have been disappointed in most of the power tools of theirs that I have bought, or tried. I'm going to look into the link you gave.

Herb 

TK1
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Hi,

Thanks Herb.  Not sure how I posted twice, but could have been influenced by the red wine !

Drum/thickness sanders are fairly easy and cheap to make too - plenty of free plans on the web.  They're a reat asset when milling wood as you can get the scale size exact and not as dangerous to trim thin strips as on a big tablesaw.

My process tends to be:

1. Rouch cut logs with chainsaw
2. Square up and cut into bilets with tablesaw (10" Ryobi cheapy)
3. Mill into scale lumber with bandsaw (old Ryobi 9" with home-made fence) and now with Proxxon FET tablesaw
4. Finish dimensioning and sanding with Byrnes thickness sander

Takes a little while, but I reckon I will easily recover the tool costs compared to buying commercial scale wood, and I can make any size rather than compromising, and use a variety of species.

Regards,
Darren

Herb Kephart
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Being a machinist, I built one at one point, but even though the drum ran true within a couple tenths of a thousandth of an inch, I could never get the abrasive joint to not leave marks of some sort. Perhaps I was being too picky.

I might try again, when I get the zillion things that are more important beat into submission, but this time I'm going to try an abrasive belt running over a stationary platen, so that there is more than line contact with the work.

Didn't think of winding the abrasive strip on in a helix, as one of the on-line sites suggested, perhaps that might be the answer to the drum setup--but I think that the belt stands a better chance. Commercial belts are made so the splice is slightly thinner than the rest of the surface.

Shouldn't be such a problem for me-- I have an abrasive personality--right Woodie?

Herb 

mabloodhound
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A good suggestion, Herb.   I bet a belt sander firmly mounted over an adjustable table height would work real well.   Think I'll check into that.

chasv
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Lucked into a 'Micromark' table saw.
Seems to work ok.

But I made a new plate for the blade,
as the metal one has quite a gap

The saw cost me $30
But the guy gives me stuff all the time,
So I didn't argue.


Thayer
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$30 is hard to beat.


I regularly cut strip wood using the 'Byrnes' table saw.

Yes, it is a bit spendy,
but on the other side of the equation,
it is probably the most used power tool in my shop.


W C Greene
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A few years back, a good friend "made me buy" his new 'Skil' bandsaw.
This isn't a big industrial saw, but has a 9" throat, and is easy to use.
 
I put a fine tooth blade on it, and when properly set up,
I can cut 1/32" boards easily and cleanly.


Balsa is the easiest and cheapest.
Ever look at how much basswood chunks go for ?
I do have some nice redwood fence boards that can be cut up also.

My real problem is that I have about 20 or 30 years of wood hoarding,
so whatever size I need is "around here somewhere".


I still use my old balsa stripper for little stuff,
but that bandsaw is great for model work and "real world" projects.


I bought a small table saw once and gave it away,
after it threw a chunk of wood at my head.

It was my fault, but after that I decided to buy what I needed,
and not get whacked in the head !


That's my story & I'm sticking to it...

Woodie


Almostretired
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I am a retired shop teacher and carpenter, so I'm comfortable around table saws.
 
I offer my technique here, for milling strip wood on a full-size (12" in my case) table saw,
to those who are comfortable with table saws.

I got the basics from a woodworking website I cannot recall, and made a few adjustments. 
Hope my description and photos give enough info. to understand how I made and use it.


I use a "finishing" blade for this, as it has a narrow kerf and a large tooth count.
I also use a push stick.

I glued a 1/2 by 3/4" wood spline to an old shelf that had a smooth laminate on it,
and slid it carefully into the blade, to make it into a zero-clearance auxiliary table,
on top of my saw's cast iron table top. 

It is held in place laterally by the spline,
and longitudinally by a clamp (not seen) at the off-board end. 

Note that the moveable fence ends just before the blade. 
This is to mitigate the binding and subsequent kick-back that can occur,
when very narrow pieces are ripped with a conventional setup.

Not seen is the long, thin wood splitter,
I insert into the kerf of the auxiliary table top to the left of the blade





Along the right edge of the shelf, I attached a fixed fence with glue and screws from the bottom. 
To this fixed fence, I then attached a moveable fence, it is adjusted by 2 pairs of carriage bolts. 
One pair is shown below. 

The upper carriage bolt is threaded into the fixed part of the fence,
but not threaded into the moveable, left part. 
It serves to move it predictably 1/16" per turn, as it's a 16 TPI thread.

The wing nutted bolt is fixed into the left fence piece,
and has a clearance hole in the right, fixed piece.

After I adjust the two fences, I fix the distance between them with the wingnuts.





I typically start with 3/4" or less stock,
if larger than that, I will rip it down conventionally w/o the auxiliary fence. 

I also stand to the side, as I do occasionally get small pieces kicking back,
but since they are not in a bind situation, they are less exciting.

Here's some old redwood fence I milled for a trestle. 
I have ripped down to 1/8" by 1/16"





Last edited on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 02:11 am by Almostretired


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