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Thread: cutting bowl blanks round on bandsaw??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Hamilton, NY
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    Question cutting bowl blanks round on bandsaw??

    How do you clamp the center of the wood down to bandsaw table so you can cut a near perfect circle there before going to the lathe?? What type of jig is it and how can I make one?
    Ben
    sorry long title I know.
    You can only be young once, but you can be immature indefinitely.

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  2. #2
    You can use a circle cutting jig by drilling a hole near the center point of your circle and placing it over a dowel that is a certain distance from the blade (radius of the circle). Plans for one here (not affiliated, just Googled)

    I don't know that it's that important to be precise though. It's gonna get round once you start turning it so I just use a compass and then freehand cut my blank. As long as it's somewhat balanced you'll be fine.
    Raymond Overman
    Happiness is a warm chainsaw

    "Do not wait, the time will never be just right. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command. Better tools will be found as you go along." Napolean Hill

  3. Who needs a jig?

    Just take your handy dandy compass and mark the center real well, then make a circle. I actually use a divider and just scratch a circle. I then take it to the bandsaw and keep the blade on the outside of the line. When you put it on the lathe you are going to have to true it up anyways.

    I take nibble buts on my Bandsaw, as I can't really cut circle on Big Blue......


    Yes, that blade is 2 1/4" wide.....

    Really a good rough circle will do, then just true it up once mounted.

    Cheers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Freehand cutting it as close to round as you can will suffice. I have a circle I made from scrap 1/8" plywood that's the largest circle my Jet mini will take. I just use that to trace a circle on the wood or nail it the piece and get it as close to round on the bandsaw.
    Mark's Wood Shop
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  5. #5
    The other day I rounded up all of the thin panel stock scraps I could find in the shop - 3/16" tempered hardboard (Masonite), old beaded paneling, some 3/16 Luan.

    I cut them into squares in 1" increments from 6 1/2" to 15 1/2" (my lathe capacity is 16") on my tablesaw.

    I made a hole in the center of each, then setup my circle jig on my router and cut them into circles from 6" to 15". I would have done them on the bandsaw, but I haven't made a circle jig for it. I've already got a very handy one for the router.

    Total time: about 1/2 hour. Probably the best 1/2 hour I've spent in the shop.

    Now all I do is screw the circle jig I want onto the blank (one screw in the center) and use it as a guide on the bandsaw. It's got lots of benefits over a compass. Most notably the fact that you can use it on any shape piece, natural edge or otherwise. You can also use it on the bark side, which you can't do with a compass. You don't have to worry about being able to see the pencil lines. They're also a lot harder to misplace than my compass

    Thanks to Bill Grumbine for this one. He's got a shnazzy set of plastic ones.

    -Joe

  6. #6
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    ahh, see I was strugling to cut this piece of ash round, the top was bark and either side slanting downward(side of log), so I couldnt get a circle on the top so I was trying to cut the circle without seeing what I drew on the bottom. I ended up cutting a little bit, looking at bottom, ect ect. which wasnt that great. Thats why I was wondering about jigs. From that site with the pic Raymond showed me I should be able to whip one up fairly easily with the help of my dad.

    good idea joe.... very interesting... I'd be frightened of hitting the top board on the blade and ruining it... the blade not the circle thing.

    Plus the more exact the circle the bigger end result I can do.
    NICE BANDSAW!!
    Thanks all
    Ben
    Last edited by Ben Werner; 07-18-2006 at 11:33 AM.
    You can only be young once, but you can be immature indefinitely.

    Firefox2 < I'm not connected, just really like it, better than any other web browser I've tried

  7. #7
    I just have a selection of cardboard circular templates of varying sizes with a hole in the middle. Use a nail through the center into the blank. Freehand around the template. Works well, especially when theres bark or non flat surface and you can't use a compass.
    A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees - William Blake

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Overman
    You can use a circle cutting jig by drilling a hole near the center point of your circle and placing it over a dowel that is a certain distance from the blade (radius of the circle). Plans for one here (not affiliated, just Googled)

    I don't know that it's that important to be precise though. It's gonna get round once you start turning it so I just use a compass and then freehand cut my blank. As long as it's somewhat balanced you'll be fine.

    I made a similar one to the one Ray is referencing When I made my Maloof table for the 32" round top. Mine will cut to 48". Since I already have it I find it works for rounding bowl blanks. I use it for my glue-for laminated bowls as well as rough cut bowl blanks. mine is just a flat piece of plywood with holes every 1/2 " I use a pop rivit to index to the closest inch. and put a hole in the center of the blank set it on the pop rivit and cut away.

  9. #9
    I agree with Stu. Just use dividers to draw a circle. I just place on point close the center and see if the circle will fit. Keep moving the center point until you have the biggest circle that will fit and etch the circle. Then free hand on the band saw. I actually use a 3/16" 4 TPI blade - works well for small or large blanks. Then I use the center point for drilling a hole or centering the face plate. If the blank is not relatively flat, you will have to find the center on the side that was down for mounting.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    I think I'm missing something

    I sometimes want to prep half-log pieces to round on the band saw. I usually want the bowl shape to follow "bottom side toward the outside bark."
    After marking or drawing a circle on the flat side, how does a person see where the cut line is? I end up just triming close to the line.

    I understand marking and cutting on pieces that have two sides flat. But this eludes me.
    Thanks, Mike
    My Dad taught me to keep my mouth shut and let people think I was stupid, than open it and remove all doubt!

  11. #11
    Mike,
    You make a small hole in the center of the blank. This fits into a pin in the jig that is placed at a distance the equal to the radius of the circle you want to cut. When you spin the blank around the pin the blade cuts a near perfect circle. It doesn't matter what the top of the blank looks like.

  12. #12
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    The concept of a simple round template made from thin hardboard, plywood, or some such stuff that's simply screwed to the chunk is a far superior method than the one Don puts forth, Sorry Don.

    Why? Because it's cheaper; less complicated to fabricate, set up, and use; AND provides the means to locate the form anywhere within the chunk you want, thereby taking advantage of the chunk's features - be they good or bad.

    And Ben, so what if the bandsaw blade contacts the template? Ya might cut it somewhat, but the template will still be perfectly serviceable. Without trying too hard, I'm usually able to stay anywhere from a sixteenth to a fat eighth away from the template. And if that varied by a half inch or more, you're still way ahead.
    Only the Blue Roads

  13. #13
    I don't know if I'd say 'far superior,' but it's definitely a whole lot easier to screw a circle template to the top of the blank than try to work with a circle cutting jig, IMHO. Half logs tend to be unwieldy.

    The other (and in my opinion, the best) benefit of using the circle templates is you can put the template on the log and get an instant visual of where your bowl is going to come out of the log. This is especially useful if you've got a crotch or something with some figure in it that you want to make sure you catch in the bowl blank. You just move the circle around until you get exactly the parts of the log you want in your bowl blank. This cannot be done with a circle cutting jig.

    I discussed the templates and why I use them in my first post in the thread. Bill Grumbine's DVDs both talk about them a bit, too.

    -Joe

  14. #14
    The reason I like the circle cutting jig is it gets me close before I mount the blank and therefore my little Rikon doesn't have to dance around as much. Now When I get a larger heavier lathe that won't be a problem. Beside, I already had the jig made up for other purposes...That my story and I'm sticking to it.

  15. #15
    And a right fine story it is That's why I used the router to cut my circle templates; I already had a jig for it.

    I'd be curious to see your BS circle jig. Have any pictures?

    -Joe

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