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Geigenbauer

Cutting blocks to desired length

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A better way is to use a table saw with a short fence attached to the main fence. Use your sliding cross cut fence for your stock and set the short fence at the proper distance for your cut. As you slide forward toward the blade the piece will move past the short fence and be free when it's cut. Years ago I made a short fence that attaches to the main fence that is exactly 1" wide, which makes it easy to use the main fence guide to set distances (just add 1" to any number).

There's probably a proper name for this short fence so someone correct me. I'm a cabinet maker and have used mine routinely for years.

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Yes, that's exactly it. I have a Biesmeyer fence like what's shown there. I made my add-on fence so it slips snuggly over the the inside lip on the Biesmeyer, a light friction fit, it doesn't have to be tight. When I'm not using it I transfer it over to the other side, out of the way. But you don't have to do that. Just use a block and clamp if you only need it occasionally.

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6 minutes ago, bkwood said:

Just use a block and clamp if you only need it occasionally.

Thank you bkwood. I will try that next time on my table saw!

Further down in the article they also describe a process using a miter saw and an auxiliary  fence/deck plus a stop block with space. The table saw process seems more straight forward to me though.

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I didn't see you original post, but using a tablesaw to cut blocks to the proper rough height is overkill.

I set up my bandsaw once in awhile with a fence, and cut up a bunch of material for blocks. I usually cut up enough for a dozen instruments at least, and throw them into a storage bin.

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I used miter saw because (at least compared to my small band saw) I got a nicer surface quality when cross-cutting spruce blocks. Since I have both types of machines in the shop I just use what works best for me. But of course that is just personal preference.

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1 hour ago, Bill Yacey said:

I didn't see you original post, but using a tablesaw to cut blocks to the proper rough height is overkill.

I set up my bandsaw once in awhile with a fence, and cut up a bunch of material for blocks. I usually cut up enough for a dozen instruments at least, and throw them into a storage bin.

That works too. I don’t understand overkill comment. They’re both saws. Table saw is very accurate and I’m used to working with it  every day for a variety of things. I cut graduated blocks for tapered ribs and I can set it up more easily. The main point is to not create a situation where material can bind or fingers are put too close to a blade, which was the issue raised by the original post.

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46 minutes ago, Geigenbauer said:

I used miter saw because (at least compared to my small band saw) I got a nicer surface quality when cross-cutting spruce blocks.

This is an excellent excuse to get a bigger bandsaw and a top-quality blade... although since the early posts are deleted, I can't see what your miter saw is to really say much about it.

I have a good chopsaw with a nice Forrest blade on it, which I have used in the past for cutting blocks.  It works well, but it's some effort to get it out and arrange dust collection, so I've just been using my big bandsaw with the carbide blade lately.  My smaller (14") bandsaw would work as well, but I'd have to put on a larger blade than I usually have on it.  The right blade matters a lot, and with the right blade, a bandsaw can get a very good surface.  With my hand-sharpened blades, I can resaw ribstock that nearly looks planed.

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I don't see the miter saw method presented by the OP as being dangerous, provided that the slot in the fence is no wider than the blade (as he illustrated), and short pieces are clamped to the the table or the fence rather than being hand-held.

Geigenbauer, if you'd be willing to post it again, I'd be interested in hearing more specifically why some consider it to be unsafe. It might be a good leaning experience.

Since the blade is rotating toward the fence, I'm not seeing the risk of kickback or tossing parts like one can get using a fence which is parallel to the blade, on a table saw.

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Since I've never been able to get the block cutouts on my moulds perfectly square, I don't bother using power-tools to cut the corner blocks. I simply cut them to length by hand using a bench hook appliance and carcass saw (couple of mm over), glue them to the form and level them with a block plane (test for rocking on a sheet of glass)

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6 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Geigenbauer, if you'd be willing to post it again, I'd be interested in hearing more specifically why some consider it to be unsafe. It might be a good leaning experience.

Thank you David for your comments. I believe that the concern may have been the potential pinching of the small cut-off between the blade and the stop block once the piece is cut free. Based on the description at the bottom of this page (https://www.woodcraft.com/blog_entries/sawing-small-parts-making-little-cuts-with-big-tools) I have modified the setup with a removable spacer as described there. The spacer is removed before making the cut.

Maybe we can use this as basis for discussion?

MiterSaw1.jpg.821a0cb66e55c3190506c9ae690a516a.jpg

MiterSaw2.jpg.e9b9f734b99da672e7befb97d9e41257.jpg

MiterSaw3.jpg.004b5e82a690eb4f750386253754cbd6.jpg

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36 minutes ago, Geigenbauer said:

Thank you David for your comments. I believe that the concern may have been the potential pinching of the small cut-off between the blade and the stop block once the piece is cut free. Based on the description at the bottom of this page (https://www.woodcraft.com/blog_entries/sawing-small-parts-making-little-cuts-with-big-tools) I have modified the setup with a removable spacer as described there. The spacer is removed before making the cut.

Maybe we can use this as basis for discussion?

MiterSaw1.jpg.821a0cb66e55c3190506c9ae690a516a.jpg

MiterSaw2.jpg.e9b9f734b99da672e7befb97d9e41257.jpg

MiterSaw3.jpg.004b5e82a690eb4f750386253754cbd6.jpg

Nothing wrong with doing it like that. If you are tapering the ribs, you'll want to make a slightly longer spacer to make the top block to minimize having to plane it later.

Edit: Don't get too much into production mode; allow the blade to fully stop before removing your cut piece, for sake of safety.

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As long as the cut block doesn't bounce around against the blade, it looks fine to me too.  I still like a well set up bandsaw and a good blade, though... 

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5 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

I still like a well set up bandsaw and a good blade, though...

 

13 hours ago, Don Noon said:

This is an excellent excuse to get a bigger bandsaw and a top-quality blade...

I like your idea about the excuse to buy a bigger saw. :D

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5 hours ago, Urban Luthier said:

Since I've never been able to get the block cutouts on my moulds perfectly square, I don't bother using power-tools to cut the corner blocks. I simply cut them to length by hand using a bench hook appliance and carcass saw (couple of mm over), glue them to the form and level them with a block plane (test for rocking on a sheet of glass)

That's pretty much the way I do it too. But I wouldn't consider the way I do it to automatically exclude other methods. Would you?

When I was doing volunteer work on a "Habitat For Humanity" home-building project or two, miter saws were about the best thing we had going, whether for rough framing or picky finish work. I was not a professional home builder, so I tried to learn from those who were, who brought their miter saws. The bottom line is that I don't consider a miter saw to be nearly as dangerous as some other types of saws. I've used various sorts of saws quite a bit (including chain saws and circular saws) for decades, and 'the only saw which has drawn my blood so far has been a hand-powered saw.

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Someone has a nice Bosch miter saw! 

I would never use my miter saw (Bosch :D) to cut small pieces this way.  It is just asking to bind the blade or throw splinters across the room. 

I use a bandsaw to cut up a dozen set of blocks and throw them in a box.  Bandsaw is much safer for this kind of work.  But using a fence is a bad idea.  Just use a block stop clamped to the front of your table to set the cut, and a miter to hold the piece square as you feed it through the blade.  This way the piece is always free and there is nothing to bind the blade.  Safe.

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23 minutes ago, Shunyata said:

Someone has a nice Bosch miter saw! 

I would never use my miter saw (Bosch :D) to cut small pieces this way.  It is just asking to bind the blade or throw splinters across the room. 

I use a bandsaw to cut up a dozen set of blocks and throw them in a box.  Bandsaw is much safer for this kind of work.  But using a fence is a bad idea.  Just use a block stop clamped to the front of your table to set the cut, and a miter to hold the piece square as you feed it through the blade.  This way the piece is always free and there is nothing to bind the blade.  Safe.

I mean. There's not that much at stake here other than a ruined top block. I've cut hundreds of small pieces with a stop block with this exact miter saw and haven't had any problems. Just don't lift the blade back up while it's still spinning. 

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10 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Since the blade is rotating toward the fence, I'm not seeing the risk of kickback or tossing parts like one can get using a fence which is parallel to the blade, on a table saw.

I've used power tools on a daily basis for decades. I've had my share of close calls and learned from them. You may feel something is safe because you've done it a hundred times, but losing a finger or even just startling the bejeesus out of yourself can happen when you least expect it to if you have left any chance at all for stock to pinch or bind. When crosscutting having a fixed block on one side of a piece and a spinning blade on the other is just not good practice. Just a slight shift of attention can have you pull or twist the stock or do something else while the blade is in motion. Everybody thinks they're too smart to have an accident. I have loads of experience and I also still have all my fingers and both eyes, but I've known many people who just made that one mistake.

 

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38 minutes ago, bkwood said:

I've used power tools on a daily basis for decades. I've had my share of close calls and learned from them. You may feel something is safe because you've done it a hundred times, but losing a finger or even just startling the bejeesus out of yourself can happen when you least expect it to if you have left any chance at all for stock to pinch or bind. When crosscutting having a fixed block on one side of a piece and a spinning blade on the other is just not good practice.

My impression, from the photo progression was that the spacer block was removed before cutting, so there was no "fixed block". Go back about eight posts to look at the photos, and let me know whether you agree or disagree.

Yes, a modicum of skill and concentration will be required to reduce the probability of injury with any sort of quick-cutting tool. The only two times I've been to the emergency room, associated with wood-working tools, were from razor-sharp hand-powered tools. Just about anything can be dangerous, if misused, or if attention lapses. Transportation via personal motor vehicles remains among the very highest risks.

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