1st Bandsaw box - blade advice

tdotrob

T.Rob
Corporate Member
Attempting my first bandsaw box. I know if the blade is too wide it can't make the radius cuts but is there such a thing as the blade being too narrow? What kind of problems does that cause? Drift? Burning?

For what it's worth, the blank thickness is 4" of walnut with another 3/4" of hackberry on the face. I have a 1/4 x 6 tpi blade and a 3/8 x 4 tpi blade. I see 1/8 blades are available but they all look to be high TPI and I thought that wasbad for thick stock.

This is intended as a Mother's Day present so I won't have too much time for do-overs. I think I'm at the Ask once, measure thrice, and cut twice stage here. If I manage not to waste the first blank I'll be thrilled.
 

cyclopentadiene

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The key to tight fitting drawers is keeping the kerf as thin as possible. Sanding typically removes as much materias as the bandsaw blade. A higher tooth count gives a cleaner cut which requires more sanding. The tradeoff is build up of sawdust in the cut as the teeth increase. You have to cut slow but 4” is not that thick so i would think you will be fine.
Band saw boxes are more of a sanding exercise than a cutting exercise. 20 minutes to cut and 4 hours to sand!
 

Michael Mathews

Michael
Corporate Member
The other point you have to consider is your 1/4" blade will only turn a minimum diameter radius. You won't be able to turn any tighter. If that is your smallest blade, then design to that blade.
 

Keye

Keye
Corporate Member
I have made a lot of BS boxes and firmly believe 3/8" 10 TPI high quality blade is the answer. I normally use cherry and walnut. I can cut six inch stock so smooth the interior sanding is negligible. The next most important thing is cut slowly. An oscillating sander is a huge help.

Time spent setting up your BS will be worth every minute. Hank had a post about setting up the BS which is very good.

I can sand a box to 220 grit in about 30//45 minutes. Just for reference I am using a 14" 25 year old Delta BS. If I had to spend 4 hours sanding I would not make BS boxes.

I do not use a fence. I cut everything freehand so drift is not an issue. Everything that is a straight cut is glued back together so perfectly straight is not required.
 

Joe Scharle

Joe
Corporate Member
Being basically lazy, I keep a 3/16 on one saw and a 3/8 on the other. Fronts and backs cut with a 3/8 and inside curves with the 3/16. Here's a simple one.



BS Box (2).JPG
 

tdotrob

T.Rob
Corporate Member
The key to tight fitting drawers is...
...Wearing briefs instead of boxers and buying them a size too small? Sorry. Not many contexts in which to make that joke and you set it up so well. ;-)

4” is not that thick so i would think you will be fine.
Cool. Thanks!

If that is your smallest blade, then design to that blade.
Thanks, I plan to glue up a practice block and give it a try. There are some tables relating width of blade to radius of cut and I'm making sure the radii I'm attempting are larger than those in the chart for my blade size. Much larger.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
I don't do this kind of woodworking, but I have seen articles where the author recommends stoning the back edges of the blade to round over the corners. Maybe this makes the blade smoother to go around bends easier.

Roy G
 

tdotrob

T.Rob
Corporate Member
...firmly believe 3/8" 10 TPI high quality blade is the answer.
Good to know. Thanks!
Time spent setting up your BS will be worth every minute.
I will definitely stop and check all of the adjustments. Hanks' post sounds like a good resource so I'll review that first.
Everything that is a straight cut is glued back together so perfectly straight is not required.
That's actually hugely helpful. I had assumed that was less forgiving than you are describing but it's similar to adding striped wavy segments in a cutting board. As long as the two sides stay in register I'm good.
Being basically lazy, I keep a 3/16 on one saw and a 3/8 on the other.
Due to space limitations my second bandsaw is a pair of heavy gloves and I drag the blade over a clamped workpiece by hand. I have a deluxe version of this when my son is home.

That's a nice looking box. My smallest radius will be a bit challenging compared to that but it's looking promising. I'll post a pic when (if?) I complete it.
 

Keye

Keye
Corporate Member
I have no idea what I was thinking when I said a 3/8" blade in my earlier post. Woke up at 2:00 am last night and realized what I had done.

I should have said 3/16". Can not believe someone did not hit me over the head.
 

tdotrob

T.Rob
Corporate Member
It's all good, @Keye. I didn't run out and buy a blade nor cut up my block yet. Although now if I muck it up I have someone to blame which is always reassuring.
 

cyclopentadiene

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My approach has always been: try it. Worst case you made expensive firewood! Until recently, I would mock up a project using pine from Lowes if I was not sure about a design. However with the recent increased in construction lumber, it is almost less costly to use maple!
 

tdotrob

T.Rob
Corporate Member
However with the recent increased in construction lumber, it is almost less costly to use maple!
In fairness, I did mention making a practice block. But I do plan to use walnut or maple for practice because I figured softer woods would allow a tighter radius and I need to know how much to ease the tips of the butterfly wings. If possible I want it to look more like a real butterfly than a cartoon one so...somewhat pointy tips if I can manage.

Below is the template I'm using. I'll be turning the body on the lathe out of some contrasting species of wood and I'll split each wing into upper and lower drawers. The part of the wing close to the body will be left thick and I'll attach them flush to the body with dowel joints.

I've drawn in cut lines (red) and the outer form of the box (brown) on one side. Given the block is 6" tall, the 1" radius I hope to get out of my 1/4 blade leaves the top tips still kinda pointy. (The chart says 5/8 radius is possible with 1/4 blade but I think that assumes experience, skill, or both, and I have neither.)

I'll be using the bottom of the template more for inspiration than a pattern. The plan is to inlay some dowels for the wing spots with one of those per drawer protruding as a handle. I may also carve out some lines and inlay them with something that will complement the hackberry. Going to have to wait to decide though because the hackberry has a lot of figure already. I'll place the handles and a few spots, then go from there.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the advice so far. I'll post photos once I get a chance to work on it this weekend.



btrflytmplte.png
 

tdotrob

T.Rob
Corporate Member
Cut away the top of the block, separated the wings, and cut the backs off. First one was a bit rough but on the second one i slowed down even more and managed to get a much smoother cut. The backs were cut against the fence and I was very pleased with how few tool marks I made. I'll use the off-cut as practice before attempting those wingtips, and I'll ease them a bit.


btrflyboxroughcut.png
 

tdotrob

T.Rob
Corporate Member
Got my second shot Friday and it's kicking my butt. Good thing I worked on the box last week because this weekend I have been too impaired to use power tools. Down to 9 fingers already. Figure that's far enough. Feel like it's getting better though so if I make progress during the week I just might get it done in time for Mother's Day.
 

Keye

Keye
Corporate Member
Mother's Day is important but getting your second shot and improving your chances of being around for future Mother's Days is also important.
 

Lhloy

Larry
Senior User
Cut away the top of the block, separated the wings, and cut the backs off. First one was a bit rough but on the second one i slowed down even more and managed to get a much smoother cut. The backs were cut against the fence and I was very pleased with how few tool marks I made. I'll use the off-cut as practice before attempting those wingtips, and I'll ease them a bit.


View attachment 201522
Here's a butterfly box I'm bandsawing for my daughter, 1 chunk of cherry, when I finish carving the top (the wings tilt up 4 degrees) I will slice it and bottom off and bandsaw the inside profile. Hope I can maintain the wall thickness I want. This project is low on my priority list, but I will show pics when I eventually finish it, if I don't botch it too bad. It's roughly 5 x 6-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches thick.
1620821371626.jpeg
 

tdotrob

T.Rob
Corporate Member
Finally making progress! When I missed Mother's Day I punted on the gift and since she didn't know about this yet it worked out. Definitely a learning experience. My bandsaw work was pretty sloppy and resulted in a much larger gap than I hoped for after sanding smooth. At least the gap outlines the wings like some real butterflies. I plan to tell her that was entirely intentional. Yeah, I meant to do that.

The wing-to-body anchor area ended up too small to get more than one peg in place and the head extends too far up. I was going for a tiered look on the drawer pulls to make the top "lighter" and appear to recede a bit but when it was done I thought the bottom drawer pulls ended up almost comically long. Also, it seems a bit deep now that it's done.

My intent on the inlays was to round the tops a bit and fill in with black CA glue. Didn't realize it would bleed into the surrounding wood and it was hard to center the inlay plugs. The osage orange came out the best, I think. By the time I got to the paduk I just said "screw it" and fitted them snug.

So, bottom line is many lessons learned but I think it's pretty good for a first try. Finish goes on tomorrow.

bsbox-assembled-front.png


bsbox-assembled-top.png


Yeah, that body is crooked. Luckily my wife doesn't have my OCD with lining things up. It won't bug her and I won't look at it often. Next time, no dowel. I'll epoxy it if I have to.
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
That came out great for a first attempt, or for a fifteenth one for that matter. Great design and using the handle as one of the dots.
 

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