General thoughts #4: Bandsaws, resawing and veneers for hobby woodworking

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Blog entry by Ottacat posted 01-15-2014 01:12 PM 1846 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: My shop Part 4 of General thoughts series Part 5: My veneering setup »

During my first round of woodworking I bought a beautiful 16” Laguna HD bandsaw that was made in Italy. It was the most expensive tool in my shop and I bought it as a treat for myself. Looking back it was a complete waste of money. I spent over 2k at the time and I think I resawed a couple of 8/4 boards into two 4/4 boards. Thus I spent 2k (plus blades) to better use some leftover 8/4 stock and save $50 on lumber.

Now that I’ve gotten back into woodworking for a second time I’ve just gotten a standard Grizzly 14’ bandsaw and no riser block.

My humble bandsaw

However my current woodworking style uses a lot of veneers. I know shop-made veneers are both nice to work with and real ‘he-man’ woodworking. I’m a big admirer of David Marks and he made shop-made veneers all the time. However he also had:

  • A great selection of big boards of highly figured wood
  • A big jointer to flatten one side before resawing
  • A big resaw bandsaw
  • A drum sander

As a professional, one with a huge lumber storage shed and access to boards of highly figured wood I can appreciate his approach.

However as a hobby woodworker I just don’t do enough volume to justify the expense of all these tools. I even have a great lumber dealer here in Ottawa but they don’t just have the large pieces of highly figured woods.

However I can go on the Internet and order some absolutely amazing veneers where I can see and select exactly what I’m getting. The veneers are much bigger than anything I could make in my shop and they are much higher quality than anything I’m seeing at my local lumber yard.

Neither the economics nor selection are there for me as a hobby woodworker to buy the big jointer, big resaw bandsaw and drum sander compared with spending maybe a couple of hundred bucks a year on commercial veneers. Even with all the equipment its still big bucks to buy the initial highly figured boards.

And in terms of resawing conventional lumber to get two 4/4 pieces out of a piece of 8/4 like I did with my Laguna… well its far cheaper overall to buy a bit extra wood and make extra shavings with my planer.

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