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Source for small pieces of hardwoods


Bill Hudson
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I don't know if any one is aware of a good supply of various (exotic) hardwoods in small sizes. I used to turn pens and thus have a good supply of small blanks of various hardwoods roughly 3/4" square and about six inches long. Just go ton the net and look up hardwood pen turning blanks.  There were several suppliers a couple years back..

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was looking at my stack of pen blanks today and was wondering what is the easiest and safest way to cut these down?  I know that they are inexpensive in the big scheme of things, but hogging off such a large portion quickly takes a lathe tool that is larger then my little lathe.

 

I have a stack of cherry cut offs from Jim's shop, but I bought some kind of rosewood pen blanks (probably Brazilian) since returning from GS to practice on... could not find Bolivian in my local store, and I do really make an effort to shop locally.

 

The pen blanks are just so small to be cutting them on my table saw... I'm infinitely more comfortable hogging off the large portion on the jet mini lathe then I am comfortable cutting these pen blanks down on my table saw.  Guess I could put the blade at an angle and cut off the corners after I mark the centers first, and that would reduce some of what I have to hog off to do some fine scale turnings.

 

Generally speaking I plane my boards to 1/4" or  3/8 " and then cut the entire board on the table saw, in square strips.  Since it is a much larger board to begin with I have something to hang on to for the re-sawing exercise.

 

If someone has some tips or techniques would appreciate your suggestions.

 

Thanks -

 

Tamra

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Yes, I do have nice band saw... with guide and a fence.... I hardly ever use the band saw for a straight cut.  I use my table saw or miter saw for straight cuts, it didn't even cross my mind.  I will have to try that.

 

The imprecise portion of my miniature self was having an argument with my precise alter ego--> both selves would like to keep fingers attached safely to hands. :D     I was trying to cut perfectly square pieces with my table saw - DUH.  I've got this cool "Chucker" that has square collet type holder, so my head was trying to make perfect little squares for my lathe.  I don't know if this chucker will work or not, but a square collet, just looks way to cool, and I have to see if it will work.

 

The pen blanks are pretty skinny 3/4" x 3/4" x 5", or 20 mm x 20mm x 125mm... (I hope that conversion worked, I'm trying to use some metric measurements on occasion.  3/8" x 3/8" would be nice, then I could in theory, minus saw kerf, would get 4 pieces of wood per pen blank.  Will have to see what the chosen stair spindles measures at a reduced  1/12th size before I cut anything,   cutting each pen blank in quarters, results in an approximate cost of $0.50-.60 per spindle...

 

Thanks Elga!

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Another option is to buy exotic wood cutting board strips.  They come in various thicknesses and since they are longer than pen blanks you could rip those down more easily on your table saw (or band saw). 

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LOL Tamra, I just cut a lot of wood on my bandsaw for turning last week...you don't need them to be super smooth for turning, my bigger pieces needed to be just a tad smaller than 1/2", I cut it from 3/4" thick wood, the resultant scraps I cut into 1/4" thickness. To keep my fingers safe I used two scrap pieces of wood, a smaller one for a push stick and a bigger one to keep the wood against the fence and my fingers away from the blade.

The chucker sounds interesting, I used my four jaw chuck to turn it down to fit a round collet.

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Elga,

 

I will try my band saw experiment with Cherry wood... that stuff multiplies around here... it comes home with husband from the scrap bin at work... as they can't use it goes in the trash bin...  I do purchase flitch boards from Pete & Pam when I see something I like, but I've never needed to purchase any cherry for wood turnings in miniature.

 

Chris, this is a great suggestion, I will expand my search criteria.

 

Thanks -

 

Tamra

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  • 1 month later...

I would suggest a zero clearance push stick. Just take a scrap board about an inch thick and 6 inches wide and cut off most of a small strip from one long edge but leaving a notch at the end. Now use the push stick to completely cover a narrow workpiece and push the workpiece through the blade. The blade will cut through the workpiece and into the push stick but if you are making repetitive cuts of the same narrow width the resulting kerf will always be in the same position and the push block will last a long time. The width of the push stick will keep your hands well away from the blade.

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Tamra, do you have a attachment on your lathe, not sure what it is called but it fits on my headstock and has four sharp prongs in it. I insert the square wood on to this and centre the other end onto my tailstock. I the turn this down to a size that will fit into my 4 jaw chuck.

Hope this makes sense!

Mavis

N.Z.

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Mavis, I think you are referring to a spur- drive- center? The pen blanks are perfect size for hat stands, so I have been using wood that is cut to pen blank size for my hat stands.  I have a massive Jacobs style chuck for my jet mini lathe, so I can also use various pre-turned dowel rods with this lathe.  It is a wonderful suggestion.

 

I feel like I have had to learn a whole new language so I can talk about that lathe experience with other turners, so I definitely understand, not knowing the exact names of all the parts of a lathe - and I could have named the spur-drive-center, incorrectly too... I'll have to find my instructions for my lathe to confirm, and at this exact moment in time, I do not know where they are.  Thank goodness that mfg put manuals on-line for their customers.

 

 

Tamra

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