Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Working SAFELY with small pieces of wood.

After Ilona's comment on my post yesterday, I thought I would show you how I work with these tiny pieces of wood on my table saw and drill press.

Rule no 1 and 2 and 3 and..... (You get the idea) NEVER, NEVER work with power tools when you are tired, sick or enjoyed the party too much. Okay, with that said, let's move on to some photos and how to's.

First of all, I use a very thin saw blade with lots of tiny teeth when working with such thin woods, I buy mine from Micro-Mark.

Here I am ripping wood into long strips, the blade is only sticking up a little bit above the wood and I am using a scrap piece of wood to hold the wood down while sawing.

For cross cutting I use my home made table slide, the base is made from Perspex, in case you are wondering :-). The pieces that I am cutting here are only about 3/32" big. I use a small piece of scrap wood to hold the strip down while cutting.

Here you can see where my finger is in relation to the blade, I always tell myself that the blade can't move out of position but my fingers can, so don't move the fingers. And I always switch off the saw between each cut to pick up that tiny piece before cutting the next one.

Some of my 3/16" pieces needed a groove in them, it is impossible to do that on the drill press after cutting it,  there is nothing to hold on to, so I first put in a groove on each end of my strip wood before sawing it to size on the table saw.

This piece needed 2 grooves, one on each end, here I am using a small piece of scrap wood to help me push the tiny piece of wood squarely through the cutter on the drill press. Oh, yes, in all these photos I am working with 1/64" thick plywood.

I am sure there might be even better and safer methods out there on doing some of these steps, all I can say is never use a tool if you are not sure on how to use it or don't feel confident enough to use it, fingers just don't grow back.



Susi said...

Gracias por tus instrucciones, es logico pero no se me habia ocurrido¡¡¡
Un beso

Idske said...

Love the little casket!
This post really is great information for someone who is still at the baby steps stage of using a table saw. There are some videos on RL working safely with table saws, but I've not found anything at this small scale!
Dare I ask for some tips on how to make the slide???

Thank you very much for sharing your expertise and wonderful items like the casket and your chairs!

Elga said...

Idske, my hubby is the one that builds all the tool accessories for me, here is a link to a full scale table saw sled, the principal is the same though, but you probably don't want the front fence too high, mine is about 3cm high. I will take a few close-up photos of the sled and it's stop block and post it later this week.

Giac said...

Hello Elga,
These posts are so useful and so important to those of us who want to try building smaller items ourselves. Thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge. Your posts are heelpful and always clear. You would of made a great teacher!
Big hug,

Ilona said...

Elga, thank you so much for showing this tutorial for SAFE work on the table saw! Many years ago I sawed in the top of my thumb, when a piece of wood hit back against my thumb. I surely had enough experience and some good luck: the doctor has done a good job ;)!!. So therefore I asked you, if you sawed these tiny parts on the table saw. To everyone: be very careful with these tools!
Groetjes, Ilona

Idske said...

Hi Elga, I'd love a few photos. Very useful these engineer husbands! :)

Thanks for the link!

John said...

Hi Elga!

I SO want a mini table saw for Christmas! Thanks for the lesson!


P.S. LOVE the casket progress!!!

miraclechicken said...

Thanks for sharing :)

Andy said...

Thanks for these very useful tips Elga!!

Dorien Litjes said...

Dear Elga,
Thanks for sharing. Your blog is very useful. I enjoy reading your posts.
Hugs Dorien

maria l. said...

Como siempre muy interesante

Debora said...

Great addition when it comes to the how-to-do-things-posts. It's true that we miniaturists need to look at RL information about building and try to scale that down to suit your needs (and/or machinery). There is much to be found in books and the internet about jigs and stuff. Really helpful when you try to figure out how build a piece.

I do wanna add one more general tip though... Always, and i mean ALWAYS pull the plug when you adjust your setup, your drill bit, your cutting blade or any other action that means getting your hands and fingers in. I know, you might think it's obvious, but believe me, i've seen results... (due to fatigue, rush etc...) So please, please unplug!