Friday, October 8, 2010

Waste Not, A session in Resawing ... by Hand

It's been a couple of weeks since I started my bookshelf project. Life sometimes has a way of interfering with the shop. So while life is returning to normal, and I expect to finish that project soon, here's a post about my attempt at hand resawing from late in the summer.

I've always wanted to try my hand at box making, but resawing lumber is not something to snicker at and I've always been of the mind that one would need a proper band saw to do it. It's hard to get rough lumber at the dimensions needed to make those delicate but delicious looking boxes.

I do have a bandsaw which is woefully underpowered and I swear I traumatized it the last time I used it trying to resaw some pine.

I really hate to run 4/4 stock through the planer until it reaches that 1/2 or 3/8 thickness (thin min thickness my planer manual recommends not exceeding). It's just such a waste of material. Also, you can't get that 4 corner match without resawing.

One evening not long ago, I decided to try to do it by hand. I have a 9 TPI panel saw - yes, I know it's not the optimum saw for the job - the best I had at the moment.

I had an 18" piece of 5/4 maple with mineral deposits that I thought would be perfect for my first attempt. So I set it up in my vise on an angle after scribing all the way around with a marking gauge and a pencil.

Taking the saw I carefully started my cut. I would cut part way, then flip it around, cut some more and then flip it end for end and repeat the first 2 cuts. Back and forth several times, I got quite the workout and in the end, I had 2 half inch boards. More or less. While I did manage to stay on the line with this method, I took a 1/4" off in some places and less in others. In other words a very rough cut. I know there are better tools out there, but the local Borg doesn't carry them.

If you have any thoughts on what might make this a better experience until I can afford a better bandsaw, please feel free to leave me a comment!


  1. Resawing by hand is a fun adventure. Can you tell me more about the saw you were using. Your layout sounds right on and flipping the board is good to keep the cut on track so it really comes down to the saw to improve results and performance. A low pitch (3-4 tpi) rip tooth is really what you need with little to no rake. Hard to start but cuts much faster.

  2. Hi Shannon, you can see a pic of the saw which I used to trim the ends of my workbench here.


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