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The Saw Shop


From time to time I will blog things that I think you will find useful. If you would like to see something here, then let me know and I will try to blog it .

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Setting Up A Bandsaw

Posted on March 31, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Most of the problems with bandsaw machines are caused because it is not set up properly.  I have found a video that explains clearly how the machine should be set up. It covers all the different aspects of setting the bandsaw up with some clear visuals. I hope this helps you all.

Watch The Video

Blade Sharpening

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 4:15 AM

Just lately I seem to have had a lot of people asking quesions about when blade sharpening needs to be done. I can look at the blade and feel the teeth and tell you if it is blunt, but it is much more important that users learn when the edge has gone off of their blades.

Blade sharpening is one of the smaller expenses you will have, so why try to save money on it by leaving a blunt blade in use?  Blunt blades will over-heat and that can damage the blade beyond repair. Blunt blades will slow you down. Blunt blades are more likely to damage the material you are cutting. Blunt blades will not be as accurate.

When you put a new blade on your machine, get a feel for how it cuts - what does it sound like - how fast does it cut - what is the finish like?

When the edge goes off your blade, don't be tempted to get a bit more out of it. Not only are you running the risk of damaging the blade and the product you are cutting - you risk damaging yourself if your blade is not working as it should.

In the long run, you will save money by having your blades 'tickled up'  so get to know your blades and show them some love please.

Avoid Coolant Pump Clogging

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 8:45 AM

I went into a workshop yesterday to find my customer using his HSS chopsaw without coolant. I asked him why he was working this way and he told me his coolant pump had stopped working. With a little checking, it turned out the pump was clogged with small metal particles that his filter had not removed from the coolent.

A simple answer to this problem is to get a decent magnet and place it somewhere in the coolent flow. Most machines have a well with an outlet that goes to the filter and then the pump and this is an ideal place for the magnet. It will never remove all the small particles, but every little helps extend the life of pumps.

Router Storage

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Quite often I am in a workshop and get asked to look through a box of routers to see what needs sharpening. Well, if they are all in a box banging into each other, then they all need sharpening!

Routers are made to cut wood, not bang around against other metal tools. I don't mind charging you to sharpen routers, but I would prefer it if they were looked after properly. Just get a board and drill some holes to suit your shank sizes and keep the routers in it. Make the hole slightly too big so you do not risk cutting yourself by having to pull hard getting it out. And leave enough space between each of the routers so they cannot touch and you can identify them more easily.

If you use an anti-rust spray before you put routers into storage, keep it away from the bearings as it can disolve the lubricant inside the bearing.

Does resin build-up matter?

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 5:40 AM

Yes, it does !

Resin comes from natural timbers, especially softwoods and will stick to your routers. This is more likely to happen if surfaces are pitted or scratched, which is caused by the use of coarse wire wool or stiff brushes. Scraping with a metal blade will also cause deep scratches that allow resin to adhere.

You can use a solvent to remove resin build-up, but remember to remove any bearings before you do as the solvent will also remove the lubricant inside the bearing.

And speaking of bearings - excessive heat will cause the grease in the bearing to solidify and seize up. Adhesives can also seize router bearings, so wait until your glues are dry before you trim laminate edges.

We will normally replace damages or seized bearing during the sharpening process, but as bearing are quite expensive, try to look after them.

Is it worth sharpening my router?

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 5:25 AM

This depends on the quality of your router, how many times it has been sharpened before and how damaged it is.

I would always recommend buying a good quality router that is durable and can be re-sharpened economically. You won't go far wrong with Trend or Titman routers. However, if you need to use the router on recycled wood, then maybe you need to think about something from an economy range - just don't ask us to sharpen it as often the two flutes do not follow the same path and damage our diamond grinding wheels - Ian is always happy to inspect routers and advise you if they are worth sharpening.

If your router is damaged we will normally grind out all of the damage. Sometimes this will seriously reduce the life of the tool. If this is the case we will leave little amounts of damage in the tool providing it is not in the same place on both flutes so each flute will clean the opposite one up when used. Talk to Ian when you give him the router if you have any questions about this.

HSS Blades - the basics

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 3:45 AM

How to get the best out of your circular HSS blades? A simple question that should be easy to answer - but it is not. There are just too many variables to make it easy. So I am going to give you the basics here.

Use a blade with the right sized teeth. Normally you want one and a half teeth in the cut at all times.

Use a coolant if the material being cut demands it.

Have the blade moving before you touch the material to be cut. No seriously - have the blade moving before you start the cut or you are going to take lumps out of your blades. Yes line up the blade on where you want to cut, but then lift it away and start it turning before you bring it back to start the cut.

Let the blade do the work. Do not force the cut. If you have bear down hard on the blade, then something is wrong.

Keep the blade sharp. It does not take long to change a blade and if you adopt the 'Just a few more cuts' mentality then you are just going to damage an expensive blade. It's not like we charge a fortune to sharpen them - We charge £8.00 for straight forward sharpening, but damage the blade and that could go up to over £30.00 !

Pass your experience on to your trainees - Teach them to use your blades or they will earn me a fortune :D

Cleaning TCT Blades

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 7:20 PM

If your saw blades are covered with resin from wood that accumulates on the tips and body over time, they will likely heat up and become dull. Overheating is likely to cause them to losing their ability to hold an edge even if professionally sharpened.

You can keep your saw blades sharper by cleaning them regularly with a cleaning solution available from woodworking supplier.

However, there is another option that you may already have on hand. It is best to avoid using abrasive cleaners on your blades, as they can scratch the surface of the tool which may affect performance. Also, scratches in the surface of the blade will fill with resin, making it more difficult to clean the next time.

A good alternative solution is to soak your blades with oven cleaner. It is non-abrasive, but designed to get out tough, baked-on stains, which is precisely what happens to resin when it accumulates on your tools and is heated by the friction of use.

You might also try soaking the blades in paraffin overnight, then scrub them with a non-abrasive kitchen cleaning pad. However, remember that the solvents are extremely flammable, so take appropriate precautions.

What tooth shape do I need?

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Tooth shape is normally something which only crops up when a customer has a problem cutting.  I hope this simple guide will save you having some of the problems I come across on a daily basis.

Flat Top teeth are used on blades made for ripping hard and soft woods. Since wood is much less likely to chip and splinter when it is being cut in the direction of the grain, the focus of a rip blade is to quickly and efficiently remove material. The flat top tooth is the most efficient design for cutting and raking material out of the cut.

Alternate Top Bevel means that the saw blade teeth alternate between a right and left hand bevel. This tooth configuration gives a smoother cut when crosscutting natural woods and veneered plywood. The alternating beveled teeth form a knife-like edge on either side of the blade and make a cleaner cut than flat top teeth.

Combination Tooth blades are designed to do both crosscutting and ripping. The teeth are arranged in groups of five - four ATB teeth and one FT - with a large gullet in between the groups. These are not a common blade.

Triple Chip tooth configuration excells at cutting hard materials like laminates, MDF, and plastics. Teeth alternate between a flat raking tooth and a higher "trapeze" tooth. The TCG configuration is also used for non-ferrous metal cutting blades.

High Angle Alternate Top Bevel tooth configuration is used for extra-fine crosscutting and to cut materials surfaced with melamine, which is prone to chipping. The high bevel angle increases the knife-like action at the edge of the blade.

How can I avoid chipping?

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 6:20 AM

This is probally the second most frequent question I get asked.

A general rule that should be kept in mind when cutting with carbide tipped saw blades is that the more teeth there are on the saw blade the smoother the finish.

When absolute chip free cutting is desired on veneer or thin plywood, use a piece of scrap wood below the wood being cut. This will support the veneer/laminate as close as possible to the edge of the saw tooth.

Transparent tape along the cutting edge where the blade leaves the material will eliminate some chipping.

Make sure the clamping collars of the blade are free from dirt and sawdust. Even a small piece of dirt at the centre of the blade behind the clamps will cause lateral movement at the cutting edge that will chip work - so keep it nice and clean when you mount the blade!

Keep the blade clean

Keep the blade sharp

Choose the correct blade for the cutting application.