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Thread: Slicing Veneer with the Amazing Woodmaster CT

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    Slicing Veneer with the Amazing Woodmaster CT

    After the recent discussion about resaw blades, I thought I would show some photos I took today slicing some walnut veneer. Here's a photo of my bandsaw, with an auxiliary tall fence, roller feather board developed by John Lanciani, and of course a Woodmaster CT, 1" x 1.3 tpi in this case.




    The tall fence is just MDF, but it's made like a torsion box and clamped to both the stock fence and to the table at the front to resist lateral forces from the feather board so it won't tilt.



    Here's the star of the show. It has a fair number of miles on it, enough that I resharpened it about a year ago following the method shown by Derek Cohen.




    I sliced a 1-3/4" thick walnut board just under 12" wide and about 44" long into 9 slices just over 0.10" thick. Eight are shown in this photo.




    A close up.




    And even closer.




    And a view down the edges.




    No power feeder, just me pushing as smoothly as I can.

    If you want to slice veneer, fast and efficiently, make a rigid tall fence, some sort of feather board that presses the work against it, critical for the last couple of cuts when the board is thin and flexible, and a Woodmaster CT. Of course, you have to have a bandsaw capable of tensioning it and it has to be set up well, but those are subjects for another discussion.

    Anyone interested in the roller feather board or sharpening the Woodmaster CT can find relevant pages on my website.

    John
    Last edited by John TenEyck; 08-11-2022 at 9:21 PM.

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    Nice. I personally have not found the Woodmaster CT to be that sensitive to tension -- I run it with results similar to yours on my FB510 with pressure at the 1" blade mark.

    Michael Fortune also doesn't think that blade tension is that big a deal. He also has a tall fence with a roller setup he uses:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CNiSQK_jWC7/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike King View Post
    Nice. I personally have not found the Woodmaster CT to be that sensitive to tension -- I run it with results similar to yours on my FB510 with pressure at the 1" blade mark.

    Michael Fortune also doesn't think that blade tension is that big a deal. He also has a tall fence with a roller setup he uses:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CNiSQK_jWC7/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
    4


    I don't know what the tension is on your saw at the 1" mark, but on mine it's 24 ksi. Actually, I think I do know, and it's not 24 ksi. The FB 510 can't apply that much on a 1" blade with the factory spring. In any case, I didn't intentionally crank up the tension beyond what Lennox thinks is appropriate for their blades or what Grizzly designed the saw to apply. The fact that the Woodmaster CT performs well across a range of tension is testament to how effective the design is.

    As much as I respect Michael Fortune, I respectfully disagree - tension IS a big deal. It's what allows a blade to cut straight and resist deflection when the grain changes. With enough tension, guides are almost irrelevant when slicing veneer or resawing, and with sufficient horsepower the blade can achieve its maximum performance. I found it interesting that Fortune has a tall fence and roller feather board very similar to mine. They make resawing and slicing veneer safe and predictable.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    4


    I don't know what the tension is on your saw at the 1" mark, but on mine it's 24 ksi. Actually, I think I do know, and it's not 24 ksi. The FB 510 can't apply that much on a 1" blade with the factory spring. In any case, I didn't intentionally crank up the tension beyond what Lennox thinks is appropriate for their blades or what Grizzly designed the saw to apply. The fact that the Woodmaster CT performs well across a range of tension is testament to how effective the design is.

    As much as I respect Michael Fortune, I respectfully disagree - tension IS a big deal. It's what allows a blade to cut straight and resist deflection when the grain changes. With enough tension, guides are almost irrelevant when slicing veneer or resawing, and with sufficient horsepower the blade can achieve its maximum performance. I found it interesting that Fortune has a tall fence and roller feather board very similar to mine. They make resawing and slicing veneer safe and predictable.

    John
    I agree wholeheartedly John. There seems to be a direct correlation between believing that tension isn't that important and believing that "drift" is some mysterious force that requires voodoo to overcome. I've never used a Woodmaster CT (I'm a Trimaster believer) but those results speak for themselves. When I had my MM20 I could go directly from the saw to the vacuum press with my setup. A carbide blade with proper tension (25-30kpsi), high horsepower, and correct blade speeds (5,000 + fpm) get things done.
    Last edited by John Lanciani; 08-11-2022 at 7:50 PM.

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    Nice post, thx for sharing...
    I have not done a lot of very thin re sawing, but I might have some projects coming up that require a lot of thin veneers, so I have been gathering info on re sawing techniques. While the fence system you show is what I have done in the past, it seems there are some drawbacks to the tall fence method. A few makers sell re saw systems that slices veneer more like a deli meat slicer, i.e. the cut piece has no pressure against it. This is supposed to provide cleaner, more even cuts along the entire width and prevent burn marks, etc. I am curious how much merit you think this deli slicer method has vs. a fence. Here is a video from one maker who demonstrates it well and explains it...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKxGEEbNGQc

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    Did you miss a decimal place? It doesn't really look like your veneers are <1/64".
    -- Jim

    Use the right tool for the job.

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    Thatís a nice cut John.
    I too have experienced great cuts from the woodmaster blades. Unfortunately I have not been able to sharpen my last well used woodmaster blade. I bought it to my saw service they did a ok job but not like new.
    Aj

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    Tension is definitely important with these blades if you want them to cut well with a feeder or saw tall veneers as John is doing. With my MM20 I clamped two setup blocks to the blade then tensioned it until I could fit a .004” feeler gauge, that got me in the ball park of 35k tension.

    If they aren’t tensioned well then start to wear they really start to wander.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Lanciani View Post
    I agree wholeheartedly John. There seems to be a direct correlation between believing that tension isn't that important and believing that "drift" is some mysterious force that requires voodoo to overcome. I've never used a Woodmaster CT (I'm a Trimaster believer) but those results speak for themselves. When I had my MM20 I could go directly from the saw to the vacuum press with my setup. A carbide blade with proper tension (25-30kpsi), high horsepower, and correct blade speeds (5,000 + fpm) get things done.
    If you think that tension is going to solve your drift "problem," I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Drift is solved by nothing more than correctly setting up your saw. And once it is set up properly, there's no need to change the alignment for a new blade. Michael Fortune setup his 14inch General bandsaw in 1980 and it hasn't changed it since. And he doesn't run his bandsaws (he currently has 9) with much tension.

    There's a myth that you need high horsepower and high blade tension to get great results.

    He'd also say that there's a myth that a carbide toothed blade, like the Woodmaster CT, is going to result in superior cuts...

    For those of you with differing thoughts, I'd highly suggest that you find an opportunity to work with Michael. Not only will he open your eyes to what a bandsaw can do, he will teach you a bunch of techniques you've never seen anywhere else.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Morgan View Post
    Did you miss a decimal place? It doesn't really look like your veneers are <1/64".
    Oh, yes I did. Thanks for catching that. It now reads the correct value of 0.10".

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike King View Post
    If you think that tension is going to solve your drift "problem," I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Drift is solved by nothing more than correctly setting up your saw. And once it is set up properly, there's no need to change the alignment for a new blade. Michael Fortune setup his 14inch General bandsaw in 1980 and it hasn't changed it since. And he doesn't run his bandsaws (he currently has 9) with much tension.

    There's a myth that you need high horsepower and high blade tension to get great results.

    He'd also say that there's a myth that a carbide toothed blade, like the Woodmaster CT, is going to result in superior cuts...

    For those of you with differing thoughts, I'd highly suggest that you find an opportunity to work with Michael. Not only will he open your eyes to what a bandsaw can do, he will teach you a bunch of techniques you've never seen anywhere else.

    Mike

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that drift is solved by high tension, certainly not me. But once your saw is set up to cut straight adequate tension makes it easier for the blade to cut straight in variable grain and allows higher feed rates w/o blade wandering. And I don't think there's any myth that carbide blades give superior cuts over other blades. No other blade has cut as well for me as the Woodmaster CT.

    I've been a fan of Michael Fortune for many years. I'd love to take a class with him. I'm sure I'd learn a lot.

    John

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    FYI, I have a Starret tension gauge. I put it on my 1" Woodmaster CT and here is the result:

    IMG_3876.jpeg

    And here is the result of resawing a bunch of Sapelle:
    IMG_3877.jpeg

    What does higher horsepower really give you? Perhaps the ability to resaw more quickly, but the real issue is whether you overfeed the blade, and horsepower isn't going to solve that; in fact, it may encourage it.

    Mike

  13. #13
    I never fully tension either I get good results as well, donít know about more hp helping or not but more mass in the wheel would help throw the blade through the wood.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike King View Post
    FYI, I have a Starret tension gauge. I put it on my 1" Woodmaster CT and here is the result:

    IMG_3876.jpeg

    And here is the result of resawing a bunch of Sapelle:
    IMG_3877.jpeg

    What does higher horsepower really give you? Perhaps the ability to resaw more quickly, but the real issue is whether you overfeed the blade, and horsepower isn't going to solve that; in fact, it may encourage it.

    Mike

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    I too have never used a gauge on a blade. On my Aggi i have my blades cut and welded 178 inches because thatís what it says on the saw and tension slightly over what the gauge says.
    Im also a bit sketchy clamping something to my expensive blade.
    Aj

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Blick View Post
    Nice post, thx for sharing...
    I have not done a lot of very thin re sawing, but I might have some projects coming up that require a lot of thin veneers, so I have been gathering info on re sawing techniques. While the fence system you show is what I have done in the past, it seems there are some drawbacks to the tall fence method. A few makers sell re saw systems that slices veneer more like a deli meat slicer, i.e. the cut piece has no pressure against it. This is supposed to provide cleaner, more even cuts along the entire width and prevent burn marks, etc. I am curious how much merit you think this deli slicer method has vs. a fence. Here is a video from one maker who demonstrates it well and explains it...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKxGEEbNGQc

    Holy cow, about $900 for that. It looks well made and maybe it has its place for folks who only need to make small quantities of veneer, etc, and with a lot of patience to glue the stock to the carrier and remove the excess afterwards, but it's a solution looking for a problem that doesn't exist with a properly set up saw.

    The speaker starts out demonstrating a standard fence and shows how the stock can rock. Well, no, not if you prep the stock correctly first so that one face is flat and the bottom edge is jointed to 90 degrees. This is sort of prep 101 for resawing. Did you look at the blade he has on the saw? I hope he wasn't using that for cutting anything very thick. Anyway, he then states that resawing with a standard fence is dangerous - and I couldn't agree more! Imagine resawing something 16" wide, the maximum resaw capacity of my saw. Just the thought of that sends shivers up my spine. I jumped at the chance to build the roller feather board that John L developed. One, it keeps the wood pressed against the fence over its full width and with pretty constant force, and two, it just about guarantees you can't get your hands into the blade at the end of the cut, or anytime for that matter. Before I built the roller feather board I used a stacked set of Rockler's feather boards, and they helped hold the stock against the fence and keep my hands away from the blade to some extent, but the roller feather board is superior in both regards and I would not want to go back.

    Anyway, a tall fence with a feather board pressing properly prepared stock uniformly against the fence makes resawing and slicing veneer a predictable and safe endeavor. There's no tendency for the blade to burn the wood any more than there is with the Accuslice device. Look at the slices of veneer I made. A power feeder would be even better, but I can't justify the cost.

    John

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