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Thread: Cutting candles with a bandsaw

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Question Cutting candles with a bandsaw

    Weird question for a woodworking forum but.... I need some advice.

    My brother makes candles for a living. Upon pulling the pillar candles out of the molds they tend to have slightly uneven bottoms. So he saws the bottoms off so they will stand up straight.

    He is currently using a neighbors tablesaw with the standard miter that comes with it. For most of the candles he has to make two passes because some of them are 6" tall.

    DANGEROUS! DANGEROUS! DANGEROUS!

    I'm afraid he's in for an accident one of these days.

    As you might imagine he does not make a whole lot as a candlemaker.

    I would like to purchase a bandsaw for him to get the job done in a much safer manner.

    Grizzly has a Meat Cutting bandsaw for sale that has a sliding table and a 9" cutting height. This sounds perfect from the standpoint that it will handle any size candle he makes and the sliding table would not only make it quite safe but prevent the candle from getting scuffed from pushing it across the table.

    However -- when I asked Grizzly about it their response was that they had never heard of cutting candles with a bandsaw before and could not recommend it.

    Are they just trying to cover their butts?

    I think this should work, but I thought I would run it past you guys before plunking down $350.

    Thanks guys.

    Jeff Skory

  2. #2
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    Wow...we get all kinds in here!

    When I first read your post, I didn't think it would be a big deal but I have some other thoughts:

    What about a compound miter saw? However, even the big 12" ones can't handle 6" dia.

    Then I thought about a metal cutting bandsaw...the kind that you bring the blade into the pipe. Dunno if they're cheaper than $350 and I'm pretty sure they can handle 6" dia. all day long.

    Finally, I'm like, "It's a friggin' candle!!" At worst, some experimentation with cutting speed and the right bandsaw blade (tpi) might be looked at but overall, how could using a BS possibly not work?? Sounds perfect to me!

    He might need to pay attention to wax build-up both on the blade and the tires (perhaps they might start slipping??) but that is about it.

    How about making your brother some kind of safe jig for holding the candles while making two passes to cut them on the TS?
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Skory
    Weird question for a woodworking forum but.... I need some advice.

    My brother makes candles for a living. Upon pulling the pillar candles out of the molds they tend to have slightly uneven bottoms. So he saws the bottoms off so they will stand up straight.


    I would like to purchase a bandsaw for him to get the job done in a much safer manner.

    I think this should work, but I thought I would run it past you guys before plunking down $350.

    I've never tried it, but don't see why it wouldn't work quite well.

    I'd make a sled to ride in the miter slot of the BS, so that the sides of the candle don't get scuffed, and would use a fairly coarse blade. Nearly any bandsaw ought to work quite well, I'd think.

    For cheap, what about a 14" saw from Horrible Fright (Harbor Freight)? Not the best saw for precision woodwork, but it should handle the candles okay.

    As for the wax on the blades, iI use paraffin wax to lube my BS blades occasionally...

  4. #4
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    Now forgive me if this is stupid idea, but would a cheese cutter theory work? I mean, a tight thin wire (maybe heated) mounted to something like a guilitine. I think back to my youth and seem to recall my mother having something like this.

    Might have to make something like this but hey, like I said, forgive me if I'm off somewhere I shouldnt be.......

  5. #5
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    Nov 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Littleton
    Now forgive me if this is stupid idea, but would a cheese cutter theory work? I mean, a tight thin wire (maybe heated) mounted to something like a guilitine. I think back to my youth and seem to recall my mother having something like this.

    Might have to make something like this but hey, like I said, forgive me if I'm off somewhere I shouldnt be.......
    Did I forget THE WICK.........

    check this out http://www.degroate.com/cutter.html

  6. #6
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    Dec 2003
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    Rob,

    Not bad, not bad. I like it! Judging by the pics, I'd say the blade is about 8" long.

    Jeff,

    Pick up this baby and make him a nice miter box to keep the ends square! We just saved you like $280!! Paypal will work fine for us...my Bay Area buddy Rob and I work as a team here.
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Wixom, Michigan
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    Thanks for all the feedback guys. It's much appreciated.

    I ran across that knife in my search to see if anyone else had any info on bandsaws and candles (which came up empty). I think that knife would work well for a hobbyist, but for someone who is pumping out large quantities of candles I don't think it would be quick enough.

    Jim, you mentioned that I should use a fairly coarse blade. Why is this?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Skory
    Jim, you mentioned that I should use a fairly coarse blade. Why is this?

    Just thinking that a very fine-toothed blade would be more likely to clog with wax. The coarser (3 or 4 tpi, maybe?) blade would take of 'flakes' of wax, instead. Just my opinion - as I said, I haven't tried it...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney
    Just thinking that a very fine-toothed blade would be more likely to clog with wax. The coarser (3 or 4 tpi, maybe?) blade would take of 'flakes' of wax, instead. Just my opinion - as I said, I haven't tried it...
    Sounds reasonable. Thanks.

  10. #10
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    Redwood City, CA
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    How 'bout a hot-wire cutter? These get used in various industries. The last time I used one, I was sculpting plastic foam to make theater sets. Except for the wick, it should work on candles. One way to make a hand-held one is to start with one of those soldering irons that are shaped like a pistol -- the kind with a trigger, two rods sticking out the front, and a loop of wire as the soldering tip. You can replace the standard tip with a longer piece of wire, like a coat hangar. Pull the trigger, and the wire gets darn hot.

  11. #11
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    Jeff,

    I agree with Jim on the course blade and if it soft wax you could freeze them first which would help the cut.

    Pete

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Fla
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    9

    Small correction

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Padilla
    Wow...we get all kinds in here!

    When I first read your post, I didn't think it would be a big deal but I have some other thoughts:

    What about a compound miter saw? However, even the big 12" ones can't handle 6" dia.

    Then I thought about a metal cutting bandsaw...the kind that you bring the blade into the pipe. Dunno if they're cheaper than $350 and I'm pretty sure they can handle 6" dia. all day long.

    Finally, I'm like, "It's a friggin' candle!!" At worst, some experimentation with cutting speed and the right bandsaw blade (tpi) might be looked at but overall, how could using a BS possibly not work?? Sounds perfect to me!

    He might need to pay attention to wax build-up both on the blade and the tires (perhaps they might start slipping??) but that is about it.

    How about making your brother some kind of safe jig for holding the candles while making two passes to cut them on the TS?
    My Dewalt 706 CMS will cut 6" stock standing vertical or 6 5/8" crown molding (angled). That's about the limit, however.

    Cheers

    Art

  13. #13
    Say folks
    Can I throw one more thought into the stew?
    How about a saber saw (tiger saw)
    One of those hand held things
    And then mount it in a home made table
    With the blade vertical sticking out of the table, U could use a miter gage with it, to cut the candles.
    OR mount it in a hinge thing and hold the candle stationary against a fence and swing the saw down over it.
    Eh! I am just engaging brain
    Daniel
    "Howdy" from Southwestern PA

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Yeah...a Sawzall!!

    Good thinking, Daniel.
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  15. #15

    What he needs

    You need a beekeeprs capping knife. Mine is electrically heated and cuts right through wax. Capping knife Its a lot cheaper than a bandsaw too!
    Lee Schierer - McKean, PA

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