Wood Inlay Strips Cut on the Band Saw
“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.”
Albert Schweitzer… (1875-1965) Humanitarian, Theologian, Missionary, Medical Doctor
The Importance of Thin, Uniform Wood Inlay Strips
It’s important to be able to cut thin wood inlay strips. One of the challenges in making bandings of wood inlay is maximizing the material. We certainly do not want to cut the wood inlay banding too thick or too thin as either would be wasteful of our decorative inlay that we took the time to make. We also want to be able to cut the wood inlay to a uniform thickness. Cutting wood inlay bandings to an equal thickness is a sign that we are on the right track to maximizing our material. So, just how do we get the right thickness of uniform thin wood inlay strips?
Why Cut Thin Wood Inlay Strips on the Band Saw?
The woodworking video shows how ripping thin strips of wood inlay can be done on the band saw. The band saw is chosen because the woodworker in the video found it safer cutting on the band saw than the table saw. Also, the saw kerf of the band saw blade is narrower than that of a table saw blade. So, by cutting the wood inlay on the band saw there is a higher yield of bandings.
In the wood inlay video the woodworker has set up a thin rip jig with a ball bearing along with a shop made band saw rip fence. This band saw rip fence allows for the bearings and guide assembly of the band saw to be set to a height just above the material to be cut. Also, you will notice that this rip fence allows more room for the left hand of the woodworker than the manufacturer’s rip fence allows. These are two critical safety reasons in and of themselves.
The setup of the fence and rip jig controls the movement of the material being pushed through the band saw blade. The only movement is forward as there is no lateral movement of the material.
The following two things need to be achieved in order to maintain uniform thickness of the wood inlay bandings:
1.) The fence needs to be set parallel to the “drift” of the band saw blade.
2.) The material being ripped needs to be properly dimensioned, paralleled, and squared.
Recommendation…Take a piece of scrap material and test cut the piece and then check with a digital or dial caliper for uniform thickness. Make adjustments as necessary to properly set the fence to the “drift.”
A Technique for Ripping Wood Inlay Banding
Once the fence is correctly set for the “drift” we can adjust for thickness of cut. This is just a matter of setting the bearing of the thin rip jig to a distance out from the band saw blade. This should be equal to our desired thickness of the wood inlay bandings. Take a piece of scrap material to test the cut for the desired thickness and adjust the thin rip jig as necessary. When we have the correct thickness then we will slide the bearing about an inch or so before the band saw blade. Now, lock the rip jig securely in place.
Now that we have accounted for the drift and have the thickness that we want it is time to set our material against the bearing. Now place the band saw rip fence alongside the wood inlay to be cut. Lock the fence, turn on the power, and take the first cut. After each cut simply repeat the process. If this process is followed the material cut will be of uniform thickness and we will have maximized our material. The woodworking video simply reveals this process of ripping uniform thin strips of wood inlay banding.
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