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  1. #1
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    How Do I Cut My Wood Without Injuring It?

    I need to cut holes and shapes into delicate wood. Right now I am using a coping saw and a steak knife (yep, a steak knife I found), and it obviously isn't working. The coping saw is almost great...I drill a hole in the wood, run the blade through the hole, then use the coping saw until I run out of room and the saw throat doesn't fit anymore. Then I finish with the steak knife, but it rips, shreds, and chips the wood and ruins it, of course.

    So, I need a type of saw that isn't closed off on both ends (like the coping saw), yet can cut as neatly and as finely as the coping saw. I looked up woodworking saws, and I can't find anything at all. There has to be something, otherwise how do people cut things into the center of a large but very thin piece of wood?????

    Also, the wood is the top panel of a wooden craft box that doesn't open all the way, so I can't open it and run it through a band saw or anything, and I want to avoid power tools for this project anyway.

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    use tape on the back side of the wood. Tearout is not easy to avoid.

  3. #3
    Curmudgeon in Training 20grit's Avatar
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    You need a handheld scroll/coping saw. They look like this:


    If what you're cutting is too deep for that... you're kind of SOL...
    Last edited by 20grit; 08-02-12 at 12:27 PM.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen
    I believe that in this case "solid meh" means "so 'meh' that it could never be anything more than 'meh', and yet also no less than 'meh' -- in a word, exactly 'meh'"

  5. #5
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    You want to get a fret saw. Like a coping saw but uses scroll saw blades, much finer cuts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  6. #6
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    Ya, I was thinking a fret saw, but I didn't like the idea of having to take the blade off, run it through the hole, then attach it, and not being able to use the weight of the saw correctly. I know none of this makes sense.

    The pocket saw AllenG linked to is what I was picturing in my head, but didn't know what they were called. Do those/can those have fine blades?

  7. #7
    Member papabiker's Avatar
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    If you can't find a saw with a deep enough throat, you might try a curved chisel or carving tool. You'll get a much better cut than with a steak knife.

  8. #8
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SonataInFSharp View Post
    Ya, I was thinking a fret saw, but I didn't like the idea of having to take the blade off, run it through the hole, then attach it, and not being able to use the weight of the saw correctly. I know none of this makes sense.

    The pocket saw AllenG linked to is what I was picturing in my head, but didn't know what they were called. Do those/can those have fine blades?
    Not too fine, as as the blade must be stiff enough to only be supported on the one end, hence the need for a fret saw to support a very fine blade on both ends.

    Other options would be very fine files and / or wood carving tools. Perhaps even a scalpel, depending on the wood thickness. You need a tool with a VERY sharp edge to do detailed carving.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  9. #9
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    That pocket saw looks like my keyhole saw, only much nicer (it is after all a Bosch) and with a coarser blade.
    --Ben
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  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    How about Japanese saws? These are meant for fine woodworking.

    http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/j...cessories.aspx

    http://woodworking.rockler.com/c/hand-saws

  11. #11
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    Wow, some really good answers. Overwhelming, too, considering how much one could get into woodworking, which I am not planning to do beyond my project.

    That being said, I just realized that the wood I am trying to cut is so flimsy that I can just use a brand new blade on a utility knife. Also, I am going to use a metal trim ring around the holes so it doesn't even have to be perfect...it's just that my steak knife was chipping the wood well beyond where the trim ring will cover. And I thought if I really got into it, I could do more than circles, which is where the fineness came in, since I can't trim anything other than circles.

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    Hacksaw blade will work

  13. #13
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    Id use a 25 hp chainsaw but i have issues

  14. #14
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Definitely a tactical nuke for that hole.
    --Ben
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  15. #15
    Member papabiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SonataInFSharp View Post
    Wow, some really good answers. Overwhelming, too, considering how much one could get into woodworking, which I am not planning to do beyond my project.

    That being said, I just realized that the wood I am trying to cut is so flimsy that I can just use a brand new blade on a utility knife. Also, I am going to use a metal trim ring around the holes so it doesn't even have to be perfect...it's just that my steak knife was chipping the wood well beyond where the trim ring will cover. And I thought if I really got into it, I could do more than circles, which is where the fineness came in, since I can't trim anything other than circles.
    In that case, how about a .45 or a 12 ga...

  16. #16
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    "Got Wood?"
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  17. #17
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    Depending on what you are cutting you can use what we used to call a "jig saw". The standard jig saw blade that is about 1/4" deep will allow pretty sharp radius cuts but you can get special blades that are more like 1/8" deep and they will cut an even tighter radius although they may not cut very well through real thick materials.

  18. #18
    Senior Member JonnyHK's Avatar
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    Put two layers of wood together when you cut, then the inner edge (ie the bottom of the top layer, which you want to be clean) is supported the whole way and does not end up with a torn up finish - that will be on the bottom of the lower layer. Same idea as putting the tape on the bottom, but a bit stronger.

    Costs you a bit of extra material (try to use scrap if you can), but does give you a better result.


    Also - don't cut to the exact size. Leave it a bit smaller and then sandpaper it to the finished size. Should give you more control and a smoother edge.

  19. #19
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    For the most part you've had some good advice. I'd recommend a Dremel or a Foredom carving tool, but since you want to avoid power tools (Amish maybe?) I'd suggest a jeweler's saw. It's in essence a coping saw, but the blades can be nearly as fine as a human hair. I cut these out with such a saw, and as fragile as wood is, brass is soft and can distort.

    Last edited by Wordbiker; 08-02-12 at 07:53 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
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