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October 24, 2014

Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

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?

Wood Inlay Bandings in Picture Frames

Wood Inlay Bandings in Picture Frames

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.”

Dial caliper measures wood inlay banding

Dial caliper measures wood inlay banding

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.

 

Related Videos and articles:
…..Creating Picture Frame Moulding
…..How to Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay

 

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Comments

  1. Very good, Bob.

    Question:
    I was thinking of using a hand plane between each strip cut, which is easier than planing a thin strip.
    I see that you just keep cutting strips one right after the other.
    Do I have a point? … or am I missing something?

    I just noticed something else!
    At first, I didn’t think there was much of a difference between:

    1. Cutting the strips with the blade adjusted for the strip width and cutting each strip AT the fence.

    . . . OR . . .

    2. Moving the fence & wood to the bearing feather board, cut strip, Move fence, cut, etc. (as being done in this video).

    BUT, now I see a distinct difference between the two ways of doing it!

    In method #1, the first smooth-edge-to-the-fence is on the First cut only… after that, the rougher edge (just cut) is against the fence making not as easy to push through the cut as well as possibly regenerating a possible problem cut into those that follow…

    In method #2, as in this video, the SAME smooth edge is ALWAYS against the fence making each cut as uniform as the first!

    Method #2 is, by far, the best of the two methods… Yes?

    Thank you.

    – Have Fun! Joe Lyddon – Alta Loma, CA USA – Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net … My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500

  2. Joe…Great questions! ”I was thinking of using a hand plane between each strip cut, which is easier than planing a thin strip.
    I see that you just keep cutting strips one right after the other.”

    I prefer to just keep cutting strips one after the other. Why? Even tho there are somewhat rough cuts on each side of the banding depending on the bandsaw blade one chooses…it does not matter to me because one side of the banding will be glued into a dado and not seen. The other rough edge of the banding will be sanded smooth once the picture frame goes through the open drum sander. (If one does not have an drum sander then they would need to level this part of the banding to the surface of the picture frame or whatever project piece they are working on. In this instance a block plane and a card scraper could be used.)

    “At first, I didn’t think there was much of a difference between:

    1. Cutting the strips with the blade adjusted for the strip width and cutting each strip AT the fence.

    . . . OR . . .

    2. Moving the fence & wood to the bearing feather board, cut strip, Move fence, cut, etc. (as being done in this video).”

    Go with #2…There is a huge difference between 1 and 2. _ #2 guarantees accuracy and uniformity (if the fence is in line with the “drift” of the blade.) Keep the material’s right edge against the bearing, adjust the fence along the left side of the material, and cut. Repeat the process. …(I prefer using a bearing over a featherboard. A bearing jig is stationary. The bearing will roll iwhereas a featherboard can flex. One cannot maintain uniform thickness if there is flex.)_

    Also, notice in this video or in previous videos that the material can be pushed part way through the blade and then the woodworker can simply walk around to pull out the rippings from the opposite side. Even tho the blade is still turning …it does not affect the piece being cut. This is a big safety factor when compared to trying to cut strips on a table saw.
    Thanks for asking,
    Bob

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