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February 23, 2017

Woodworking Skills…The Shape of Things to Come

Woodworking Skills

Woodworking skills - The beginning stages of the walnut maple vase.

The beginning stages of the walnut maple vase.

Ah! The importance of woodworking skills. Take a moment to think back to when you originally became interested in working with wood. What was it that sparked your interest in the wood craft? How did you feel when you picked up a woodworking tool for the first time? For what reason did you become a woodworker or carpenter? Was it to make furniture with tight fitting joinery? Could it be that you were drawn to hand tools or power tools? Let’s take a look to see where our woodworking skills are today.

“You become what you think about”
Earl Nightingale…American motivational speaker and author (1921-1989)

For some of us woodworking or carpentry may be or has been our livelihood and it continues to be our hobby in the workshop as well. Some of us have other jobs outside of woodworking and yet working with wood and a furniture plan is one way in which we enjoy spending our time. There’s just something good about having a wood shop where we can take our time and focus on our craft to build the things that we want. It’s just nice to be able to have an idea in our heads, to be able to work with our hands, and see a wood project being created. We are as much a part of it as it is a part of us. Perhaps as much as we make a project out of wood, it in return is making us in some way. The better our woodworking skills, the better our woodworking projects become.

Woodworking skills - Segmented Vase of Maple and Walnut

Segmented Vase of Maple and Walnut

This article is as much for the beginning woodworker as it is for the experienced woodworker. We all started this journey on day one with few if any tools or woodworking skills. Perhaps, there are of us that received some sort of training or maybe we just learned on our own. In either case, our woodworking skills define where we are in the wood craft today and what we are able to accomplish at any given time. As a result of improving our  skills, we are able to advance our woodworking tasks. Woodworking skills allow us to be able to create more and for a woodworker this is a sense of freedom. Simply put, woodworking skills is where it’s at. For a new woodworker this may mean learning how to sharpen a chisel, whereas for an experienced woodworker it may mean having all of our plane irons honed and hand planes ready for use when needed.

Woodworking skills - Wood Finish applied to a wanut and maple segmented vase.

Wood Finish applied to a wanut and maple segmented vase.

Together, we have many different levels of woodworking skills. However, something many of us do have in common is the desire to constantly improve what skills we do have. Perhaps there is something inside of us that continually reminds us how and why we first got involved in the woodcraft. Maybe it is the sense of pride that comes when we know that we are doing the best we can with the skills we currently have. It’s also knowing and trusting that we can and are improving towards our potential with each and every new woodworking challenge.

 

 

1.) Name one woodworking skill that you would like to improve upon.
2.) Why?
3.) What would it do for you?


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Buffard Freres…The 1926 Wood Inlay Banding Catalog

Wood Inlay Banding of the Buffard Freres

“Never underestimate the power of a single thought.”
Ender…(1966 – ) Salesman and Friend

Buffard Freres wood inlay page10_01...1134...1144

Page 10 of the Buffard Freres wood inlay catalog…1134…1144

I first learned of the Buffard Freres and their creative wood inlay banding through the Finewoodworking.com article entitled Inlay Banding and Buffard Freres. The wonderful and informative article was written by Joseph McDermott. The original postings of this article can be found on Joseph’s site, Fine Fettling. It is here that Joseph relates the finding of a 1926 Buffard Freres trade catalog which contains hundreds of their art deco wood inlay banding patterns.

Decorative Wood Inlay Banding

 

When I first saw the beautiful wood inlay banding of the Buffard Freres,  I felt excitement. The desire to learn was similar to what I first felt when serving my woodworking apprenticeship. Obviously, these wood inlay banding patterns are so remarkably unique. I thought to myself that these are truly great designs of highly trained craftsman who took the craft of woodworking to a much higher level. The Buffard Freres offered so many exquisite wood inlay designs from which to choose. Then another thought came over me. How are these designs actually created in the woodworking shop?

Suddenly, these wonderful wood inlay bandings became like puzzles to me. It’s as if these works of art were calling and teasing the woodworker in me to figure out how they could be accurately reproduced in the woodworking shop. Needless to say, I have scratched my head a few times along this journey and I feel like I am only at the beginning.

 

Decoding Wood Inlay Banding

Since many of the wood inlay banding patterns shown on page 10 of the Buffard Freres catalog appear quite complex I thought it would best to start figuring out the process of how some of the simpler bandings could be duplicated.

Bandings 1134 – 1145 are pictured and here is where I’ll begin my interpretation of the woodworking process that I have used in my attempts to recreate these bandings.

Picture frame with wood inlay

Picture frames with wood inlay

Note: Keep in mind that all of the exposed wood grain is either edge grain or side grain. In essence all end grain is concealed.

Bandings 1134 – 1141 are all similar in that all interior segment widths are crosscut and sandwiched between contrasting outer veneers. I interpret this group of bandings as being made using the same essential technique which is applying a horizontally grained segment next to a vertically grained segment within the banding core.

Dimensioning:
I’ll now use the design of 1140 as an example. Imagine that this wood inlay banding is about 10″ long, 3/8” tall, and is 4″ wide.

The Red Segment:
Let’s say that this segment is 1” long and 1/4″ tall. To make this segment I set up my crosscut sled for the bandsaw and clamp a stop block 1″ from the saw blade and make repetitive crosscuts from a strip that is 1/4″ x 10″ X 4”. (The grain runs along its length.)

The black and white segments:
Let’s say the white segments are 3/16″ long x 1/4″ tall x 4″ wide.

To achieve these segments…Dimension two veneers of the white material that are 3/16″ thick x 10″ long x 4″ wide. (These are the finished dimensions so add a little extra for the length and the width in the beginning. Maintain a thickness of 3/16″. The width and length will eventually be properly sized.) These two veneers will have the grain running along its length. Also, these white veneers will also sandwich the black segment to form a white/black/white segment.

Let’s say the black segments are 3/8″ long x 1/4″ tall x 4″ wide.

The finished dimension the black material will be 1/4″ thickness and 10″ long and 4″ wide. (Make the rough dimensions of the length and width a bit larger.) The grain will run along the length.) The black material will be sandwiched inside the outer layers of the white veneers.

Gluing the white and black segments:

We want the black strip inside of the two outer white veneers. Brush on white glue evenly across the interior surfaces and align all edges. Now use cauls and plastic to cover the outer white veneers. Clamp securely and allow for drying. When the sandwich is dry cut to a finish dimension of 3/4” thick x 10″ long x 4″ wide.

Wood inlay sandwich and segment

Wood inlay sandwich and segment

Crosscutting the white/black/white segments:

Use the band saw crosscut sled and clamp a stop block on the fence 1/4″ from the saw blade kerf. Make a test cut on scrap and use a caliper to make sure that this dimension is equal to the 1/4″ thickness of the red segments. Make adjustments to the stop block as necessary. When we have the dimension equal to the thickness of the red segment we can then make repetitive crosscuts to create the white/black/white segments.

The two Outer Veneers:

The finished dimensions will be 1/8″ x 10″ x 4″ with the grain running along the length. Slightly oversize the outer veneers for now. (Allow for a bit of error as the segments are fit and glued within the sandwich.) The finished dimensions will be cut after the entire banding sandwich is glued and dried.

 

Gluing the Wood Inlay Banding Together:
Let’s say the two outer veneers are 1/8″ thick x 10″ long X 4″ wide. Take the bottom outer veneer and evenly brush on a light coating of the slow setting white glue across its surface.
1.) Place a red segment on the glue at one end of the outer veneer. (The grains will run in the same direction.)
2.) Brush glue on the sides and bottom of the white/black/white segment and lightly press it against the red segment. (The grain of the vertical white/black/white segment will be perpendicular to the grain of the horizontal red segment. The end grain of the red segment will be glued to the face grain of the white segment.)
3.) Spread glue on the two end grained sides and bottom of the red segment and align it alongside of the white/black/white segment.
4.) Repeat the process for the following segments and end with a segment that is opposite of the starting segment.
(By having opposite segments at the end this will allow us to add continuous bandings strips and maintain the same pattern.)
5.) Once all segments are glued in place on the bottom outer veneer apply a coating of glue on top of all segments and brush on a coating of glue to the top outer veneer. Place the top outer veneer onto the segments to complete the banding sandwich.
6.) Make sure the segments are in alignment. The next step is clamping the wood sandwich. Make sure that you have plastic between the sandwich and the cauls.
7.) When the sandwich is dry it is time the cut it to the finish dimensions of 3/8″ x 10″ x 4″.
8.) Strips of banding can be ripped to 3/32″ on the band saw when our projects call for them.

More Articles and Videos…

Making Wood Inlay on the Bandsaw

The Band Saw Sleds:

1.) The Bandsaw Crosscut Sled
2.) The Dedicated Band Saw Miter Sled
3.) The Tilting Miter Sled for the Band Saw

Also important…The Bandsaw Rip Fence for Cutting Thin Strips



The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 

How to Make a Bandsaw Miter Sled

The Bandsaw Miter Sled

 

“I will see it when I believe it.”
Dr. Wayne Dyer…Motivational author and speaker (1940 – )

 

Bandsaw Miter Sled – a Wood Shop Accessory

Miter Cut on Bandsaw Miter Sled

Miter Cut on Bandsaw Miter Sled

There are many times while in the shop working on wood projects that we find a need of various woodworking jigs and then at times we also will have a need for an assortment of saw accessories. Sometimes we need to make a shop accessory while in the middle of our wood project and then again there are instances when our project is actually the building of a shop accessory. In either case here is a crosscut sled that you may find very handy at some point. Let me introduce you to the dedicated bandsaw miter sled. You’ll be glad to learn how to make a miter sled for your bandsaw.

 

Cutting a Miter with the Bandsaw Miter Sled

Cutting a Miter with the Bandsaw Miter Sled

One of my favorite cross cutting sleds made in the workshop is the dedicated bandsaw miter sled and the reason I like it so much is because it is great for working with smaller material. Now, often times I will use the dedicated miter sled for the table saw for the miter cutting of larger wood pieces. However, when there is a need to cut a miter on smaller material I choose the dedicated bandsaw miter sled for making the cuts because it too is very safe, accurate, and efficient.

 

The Beauty of the Bandsaw Miter Slde

 

Bandsaw miter sled front view

Bandsaw miter sled front view.

The beauty of the dedicated bandsaw miter sled is its simplicity. It is easy to make from wood scraps in just 10 minutes and you will be is ready to cut dead-on miter joints immediately thereafter. One of my favorite uses for this saw sled is miter cutting when fitting and installing bandings of wood inlay. It works especially well when cutting segments for an wood inlay pattern called “Wolf’s Tooth“.

 

 

 

Enjoy these Band Saw Accessories and Techniques: :

Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

Bandsaw Crosscut Sled

Bandsaw Rip Fence made in the Shop

Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw



The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

 

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
…Nelson Mandela, first black president of South Africa & Nobel Prize recipient .(1918- )

 

The Idea for the Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

 

Tilting Band Saw miter sled

Tilting Band Saw miter sled

The idea of the tilting bandsaw miter sled came to me while working on creating a variety of wood inlay banding patterns for various wood projects to be built. Sometimes my choice is to cut inlay segments by using the dedicated miter sled for the table saw and for those operations the table saw technique works just fine. However, my curiosity and imagination has led me to the band saw where my first concern was about the quality of the cut for the inlay segments. It is no longer a concern as this method works very well when cutting miters on flat material. (So far I have been using a 3/8″ band saw blade with 4 teeth per inch. The cut is clean.)

 

Triangle segment cut on tilting band saw miter sled

Triangle segment cut on tilting band saw miter sled

There are some advantages to using the bandsaw over the table saw when cutting wood inlay segments.

1.) Less material is waste due to a narrower saw blade kerf on the band saw.
2.) It is easier and safer to cut smaller material on the band saw than on the table saw.
3.) More wood scrap can be utilized by using the tilting miter sled on the bandsaw.

 

The Accuracy of the Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

The tilting bandsaw miter sled is surprisingly accurate and efficient. (I recommend using a digital angle gauge or an Wixey 8 inch digital protractor to correctly adjust the band saw bed to the saw blade.) It can be built out of scrap material and ready to use in the woodworking shop in just 10 minutes. This miter sled works exceptionally well for cutting miters on smaller flat material where safety concerns could arise if the wood was instead cut on the table saw. To build the tilting bandsaw miter sled use the same techniques as featured in the Bandsaw Crosscut Sled article.

 

In the photo triangular segments are being cut to uniform length with the aid of a stop block. Notice how the stop block has a 45 degree angle to match the angle of the segment being cut.

 

 Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled Setup

 

Side view tilting band saw miter sled

Side view tilting band saw miter sled

Cutting wood inlay segments on the tiliting band saw miter sled

Cutting wood inlay segments on the tiliting band saw miter sled

The bandsaw bearing guide assembly needs to be kept as low as possible for safety reasons. On the operator’s left side the bearing assembly just clears the stop block and the crosscut sled’s fence. The right side of the bearing assembly has more clearance from the sled and as a result there is more exposure to the bandsaw blade. For this reason it is a good idea to have the tilting miter sled long enough to adequately handle a stop block on the left side and long enough to support the flat material on the right side. By designing the tilting miter sled in this manner it allows for a good cutting action and also for a good margin of safety as well.

 


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 

25…Bandsaw Crosscut Sled

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin…(1809 -1948) English Naturalist

Cross cut band saw sled

Cross cut band saw sled

Sometimes as woodworkers we face a variety of situations that require some versatility and a little thought. This occurred to me one day while making wood inlay bandings in the woodworking shop. There are times that I feel quite comfortable making crosscuts on the 10 inch table saw using one of my cross cut sleds. However, there are other times when the material is small and I feel better using the bandsaw instead because the saw blade cuts at a lesser speed and also has a narrower kerf. Since I have found great success using sleds (miter sled and dado sled) for the table saw I decided to make a crosscut sled for the bandsaw and I am glad I did.

Band Saw cross cut sled with stop block

Band Saw cross cut sled with stop block

The crosscut sled for the bandsaw took only 10 minutes to build. Scrap MDF was used however, plywood could be used just as well. Just make sure that whatever material you select is flat. A piece of hardwood like maple or oak works well when making a runner that will fit inside the miter gauge slot as it will resist the wear of sliding back and forth. A snug fit that slides is what we want. It is important that the runner is cut to just below the table’s surface as we will want the sled to slide flatly on the bandsaw table.

After the runner is correctly dimensioned we take a combination square and mark a 90 degree line from one edge of the MDF to the other edge. We make sure that this line for the runner is at a location that allows for a good crosscutting operation as we want to allow enough length for the body of our stock to lay. We also want enough room for our stop block to be positioned adequately. The next step is to glue and pin nail the runner alongside of the scribed line that we made on the underside of the sled.

Now, the sled is ready to be run 3/4 the way through the bandsaw blade. Next, we pull the sled out and head over to the workbench where we take a 90 degree drafting triangle or a square and line it up against the bandsaw kerf. We then mark a line square to the saw kerf and this will accurately line up the fence for the sled. Now, it is time to glue and pin nail the fence in place. We want to take the time to allow for accuracy as it will pay off handsomely.

Note: On my bandsaw I currently have a 3/8″ blade with 4 teeth per inch and I am quite satisfied with the quality of the cuts I am getting using the crosscut sled. For small pieces it is much safer than using the table saw. As a bonus I am able to use a lot of my smaller wood scraps more often when using this sled.

Learn about the Bandsaw Rip Fence made in the Shop.
See how the rip fence is used for Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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