random #7: The tiniest woodshop - resawing miniboards

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 03-09-2009 01:07 PM 6401 reads 4 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Suffolk Machinery band saw blades - helpful folks Part 7 of random series Part 8: Square trees - how convenient! »

I didn’t want to waste any time slabbing up some of the minilogs I cut out of the mystery branches I found last week, so Saturday I had a go at it. Very exciting. I had some split pieces, so I sanded them up on my belt sander.

I like the faint grain revealed in the piece on the left, sanded down from one like that which I’m holding:
split pieces of mystery branch being flattened up on my belt sander

I clamped my belt sander down to the table to use it as a mini (though relatively enormous) benchtop model:
sanding down a short piece along its split face on my belt sander

Here’s a long piece sanded down, revealing either a straight grain, or the lines of the thick abrasive grit:
sanded piece of mystery branch

I set up a little resawing jig by laying a strip of plywood down against the bandsaw fence as a zero-clearance surface, and that’s about it. I used a push stick to help guide the mini logs along.

resawing on a simple jig made of a strip of plywood, and not much else

And that’s it! Mini planks, with some band saw blade grease on them:

mini planks resawn from a tiny log made from a mystery branch

You’ll want to get your slabs stacked and stickered right away:

mini slabs, mini stacked and mini stickered

I made the toothpick sized stickers out of some strips that had ripped out of a split piece of the same log:

mini stickers made from strips torn from a mini log that split

You’ll want to leave these to dry for a good 4 to 5 hours, up to possibly a full day, and it helps to put something heavy on top to keep them from warping. Here I’ve used a 1/4-20 nut, and star drive bit:

now I'm just being silly

I managed to get some extremely thin resaws out of my simple bandsaw with its cheap, included, generic 'wood' blade. This example is thinner than a credit card:

a tiny slab resawn on my bandsaw from a mini log - it's less than a credit card thick

credit-card thin, or thinner resawn plank from a mini log

A dust mask is essential. I had nearly a tablespoon of sawdust after all of this resawing work!

dust from all this resawing amounts to a small handful

I’ve a small forest of resawing work to be about still, but in the meantime, I think I need to get to work on that very tiny, natural-edge top hall table :)

tiny log pile ready to be tiny resawn into tiny planks

A couple more shots, not unlike these in the Flickr set. And now I need to go get this tongue out of my cheek, before it gets stuck there.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

18 comments so far

View EEngineer's profile


1139 posts in 4947 days

#1 posted 03-09-2009 01:28 PM

A dust mask is essential. I had nearly a tablespoon of sawdust after all of this resawing work!

Priceless! I have to draft all those mice that love my shop so much for a workforce.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4716 days

#2 posted 03-09-2009 01:31 PM

EEngineer – Sounds positively adorable. Please take pictures of this.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 4776 days

#3 posted 03-09-2009 03:05 PM

Looks like you have some pieces left over for some bowl blanks as well. Maybe you could give the table to Barbie for her 50th birthday!

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View clieb91's profile


4264 posts in 5269 days

#4 posted 03-09-2009 03:35 PM

Gary, Thanks for the post while quite funny it is neat to see the entire process of the resawing in small scale where you can see everything not just small biits.. well you know what i mean :)


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Xander's profile


14 posts in 4703 days

#5 posted 03-09-2009 04:10 PM

Too funny and useful information too. I have been wondering how to do this myself since I work in miniature size myself.

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 5095 days

#6 posted 03-09-2009 04:21 PM

Maybe Woodmizer needs to make a minature sawmill.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Julian's profile


884 posts in 4859 days

#7 posted 03-09-2009 04:28 PM

Now all you need is to build a mini shed to store ALL that lumber.

-- Julian, Homewood, IL

View PurpLev's profile


8653 posts in 4982 days

#8 posted 03-09-2009 04:37 PM

those are HUGE hands ….. (and machinery…and everything else) ;) nice post

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4716 days

#9 posted 03-09-2009 04:54 PM

kiwi – you don’t want to know how long I stood there in the shop, turning those little stumps around in my fingers, scratching my head, trying to figure out how I could affix them securely to the lathe, and if a bowl could be shaped out of them. Especially a natural-edge bowl. They’re just so tiny, though. I’m pretty sure I’m still going to try it, spurred on a bit more by Mike Rowe's amazing work.

Chris – thanks! I’ve been thinking about it more, and I think I’m going to build myself a little jig for use with my Japanese flush-cut saw. It can be as simple as a little wooden thing with hardwood rails on which to slide the saw, and a bottom that can be adjusted up and down by a screw to set depths. Once I set it, I can just press the halved minilog’s face against it, saw along the rails to remove the bottom, then take that piece out, and reseat the log in between the rails to make a whole bunch of boards exactly the same thickness. This is upsetting me, because it seems really cool, and I’m suddenly interested in making some small tables, chairs, and such for dollhouses, for sale, and I already don’t have nearly enough time to finish my projects :)

Xander – just took a look at your newly-posted project. I like the rings! I have a thing for miniature work in spalted woods. Here’s another example. So cool. Thanks!

8iowa – I will sign that petition! There are some pretty sweet miniature woodshop tool makers out there. Here's one (seriously have to enlarge that first image and look around), and another of his mini creations is this beautiful mini workbench

Julian – And a mini wood drying kiln! I sure have my hands full for awhile…

PurpLev – I’m HUGE. Thanks!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5208 days

#10 posted 03-09-2009 08:38 PM

This is really cool. I enjoyed this post. I used to be in to model railroading when I was a kid, and I would do stuff like this. You brought back some memories. I really like miniatures.

-- Happy woodworking!

View ryno101's profile


388 posts in 4998 days

#11 posted 03-10-2009 02:03 PM

That is awesome… Can’t wait to see what you make with them!

-- Ryno

View BigFoot Products Canada's profile

BigFoot Products Canada

711 posts in 4727 days

#12 posted 03-10-2009 02:14 PM

That’s cool.. It would look good with a miniature railroad setup. Maybe even build a miniature mill..
Great job!

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4716 days

#13 posted 03-10-2009 03:17 PM

Blake – Thanks very much. I have a particular love of nostalgia, so this makes me happy.

Ryno – I was just having fun, not planning to build anything with them, but now that I said “natural edge top hall table,” and having seen how cool these little slabs look, I actually do want to build some little things out of them. When will I find the time. Maybe I’d have more time if I wasn’t going off on flights of fancy like this all the time :)

David – You’re right! I know of a family friend with a large model train setup in his basement who would probably love something like that. Maybe I’ll surprise him this Christmas.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Xander's profile


14 posts in 4703 days

#14 posted 03-10-2009 03:54 PM

I took a look at those photos of the complete branch you found. The way it grew and the ball that seemed to have come from underground makes me think this might actually be a vine instead of a tree branch. I am not familiar with common vines planted in California so its hard to say what the likely types might be.

Thanks for the link, those are amazing. The detail in such a small form just astounds me. Maybe one day I can do that level of work.

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5734 days

#15 posted 03-10-2009 06:06 PM

Gary A great job on the trials of cutting small logs. I just cut a bunch of 1/16” strips to be glued as edge banding on drawer fronts. So the mini work is not just a small trial. It has practical implications.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

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