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sdindc

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Jul 13, 2022
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I need something to cut pen blanks. Do people have thoughts re: a mitre saw vs a small portable table saw. Based on other forums I would also get a jig for the mitre saw for safety. Ultimately, I don't want to spend too much or buy twice.
 
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KenB259

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Dec 24, 2017
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I need something to cut pen blanks. Do people have thoughts re: a mitre saw vs a small portable table saw. Based on other forums I would also get a jig for the mitre saw for safety. Ultimately, I don't want to spend too much or buy twice.
Totally depends on what kinds of pen your making. If you’re just making simple wood or resin pen, any saw that can cut a 3/4 piece of wood will work. If you want to get into more complex designs you’ll need a saw that can accommodate a jig or two or 10.
 

Brian G

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Bloomington, MN
If all I was doing was rough cutting to length (within 1/32" or so) and cutting blanks from boards, I'd go with a bandsaw over a table saw. I'd put a miter saw third because you can't rip to width.

I have all three, but I have other woodworking interests.
 

egnald

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Jun 9, 2017
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Columbus, Nebraska, USA
That's a tough question. Based only on cutting blanks from a larger board and for cutting them to length for turning, I would concur with Brian G. that a bandsaw would be the way to go. I started out with a 9-inch benchtop bandsaw and it served me very well for many years until I upgraded to a 14-inch floor model.

I find myself going to the bandsaw for most of the cutting I do unless it is simple cross cutting, then I use my miter saw. For me anyway, the table saw is my last resort based on what the job is. I think the driving factors are related to my perception of safety, the amount of control I have on the workpiece, and the proximity my fingers need to be to the saw blade.

Regards,
Dave
 

dogcatcher

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TX, NM or on the road
Check your local Craigslist tool section. My choice would be old cast-iron Craftsman, Delta, Atlas, table saw with a belt drive. I have several old iron table saws. 7 to 8 inch blades work, are reasonably priced. Big enough for hobby work.
With a sled and tuned up they will last forever. One I use is a 1940 model Craftsman made by Atlas.
 

greenacres2

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May 2, 2017
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Northwest IN
Don’t overlook an old-school miter-box for cutting to length. I can hand- cut almost as quick as band saw, plus both band saws are in a detached garage, and the old craftsman miter box is in the basement near the pen lathes. When it’s snowing and/or below zero (Fahrenheit)—even better!
Earl
 

EricRN

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May 16, 2019
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You can use a mitrebox starting from rough sawn lumber if it's big enough. No power needed.
I use a hack saw to cut to length. Have a couple each with a different tpi blade and it’s way easier than powering up the table saw.
 

AllanS

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Just to warn you away from a possibility, I have a Rockwell Bladerunner - essentially a mounted jigsaw - and I'm not too happy with it.
 

thewishman

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Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA.
The first few thousand blanks I cut were with a $14 generic miter box from Walmart. Upgraded to a $15 saw from the super cheap included saw after the first thousand blanks. Power tools are nice, not a necessity. Spend the extra money on Rick Herrel's offset sanding jig - that is much more critical in making accurate pens.
 

sorcerertd

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For what it's worth, this cheap Harbor Freight Japanese style pull saw is my favorite hand saw. It works just fine with a miter box, too.

Also, you can clamp a block of scrap wood into a miter box as a stop for repeatable length cuts. It's not much different in principal than a jig for the table saw, but much cheaper and safer. Dave has some extremely valid and important points about fingers and blades.
 

Woodchipper

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Re: power tools. Anyone wonder how wood things were made before power tools? My wife and I like to browse antique shops. I have seen very old furniture with fitting so close that the parts look like one piece.
To all, suggestions about miter saws are on the money. My saw is still good but the plastic box has slots from many goofs in starting a cut. Need to try segmenting.
 

sdindc

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Jul 13, 2022
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Washington DC
Re: power tools. Anyone wonder how wood things were made before power tools? My wife and I like to browse antique shops. I have seen very old furniture with fitting so close that the parts look like one piece.
To all, suggestions about miter saws are on the money. My saw is still good but the plastic box has slots from many goofs in starting a cut. Need to try segmenting.
Good question. I used to work at bath/kithcen/hardware store and they had displays of old wood working tools.
 

sdindc

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Just wanted to circle back and say thanks. This was some of the best and most practical advice to get me going. Also, I really like the functionaliy of the Japanese style pull saw.
 

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