Tennessee Valley Woodworkers
   Vol. 16/ Issue8               August 2001               Editor: Tom Gillard Jr. 

Meeting Notice:
The next meeting of the TN Valley Woodworkers
Will be held, August 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the
 Duck River Electric Building, Decherd, TN
All interested woodworkers are invited!

The following people have agreed to serve as contacts for their particular skills.  If you have questions, suggestions
for activities, or other comments relating to these skills, please call these folks.  Their interest is to help the
club better serve their area of expertise.  Your participation with them will help them achieve that goal.

Alice Berry     454-3815    Design                    Phil Bishop         967-4626    Finishing
Tom Church   967-4460   Turning                   Harry May          962-0215     Carving
Bob Reese      728-7974   Sharpening              Jim Van Cleave    455-8150    Joinery

Maurice Ryan  962-1555   Health and Safety

Calendar of Events

       Event                                    Date
Coffee County Fair                        9/20-22
Fall Seminar  'Turning'                10-20
Christmas Party                             12/7

Black Cherry

 Today's woodworkers know black cherry as one of the finest cabinet woods. Costing nearly as much as black walnut, its price reflects its reputation. But in its use as well as its cost, some things have changed through the centuries.

Early American craftsmen often substituted black cherry for hard-to-get mahogany, wiping the wood with a solution of nitric acid, colored pigment, and red wine to hasten its darkening. In its natural color, black cherry also was popular for the paneling in Pullman cars and carriages. And because the wood took a high polish, it frequently became the stock for caskets. Daniel Boone was said to have made three such caskets, and in his old age occasionally slept in one.

Yet, for all of its woodworking popularity, black cherry was better known on the frontier for its fruit. Mountaineers mixed its juice with rum or brandy for a bitterly pleasant drink called cherry bounce. The plentiful bears of those bygone days also coveted the dark-purple cherries. So determined were they to shimmy up a tree for them that pioneers knew enough to leave the "cherry bears" alone because they became especially cranky when interrupted.

Black-cherry bark was valuable back then, too. It contains a type of astringent acid that for generations contributed to cough and sore-throat medicines. Even by chewing the raw bark the ailing relieved many cold symptoms.

If you want one general rule for choosing the correct bandsaw blade,
remember this: Use the widest blade with the coarsest teeth that will
make an acceptably smooth cut in your material. Here's the information
you need to apply this simple rule effectively.

The versatile bandsaw fits into the picture virtually everywhere in woodworking. From carving
to furnituremaking, you'll find tasks that a bandsaw does best. But, to get the most out of your
machine, you're going to have to pick the best blade for the job. Here's how.

You need to know the tooth

                                You’ll commonly find three tooth
                                configurations: regular-tooth, skip-tooth,
                                and hook-tooth.

                                A regular-tooth (or standard) blade makes
                                the smoothest cut, and is the best bet for
                                sawing thin material. But for thick cuts and
                                resawing, it cuts slowly and clogs with
                                chips, making it a poor choice for such operations.

                                A skip-tooth blade, as the name suggests, has teeth slightly farther
                                apart and larger gaps for carrying chips away. This blade can handle
                                faster feed rates than the regular blade. Turn to a skip-tooth blade
                                for general cutting and resawing.

                                The teeth on a hook-tooth blade angle forward (in the direction of
                                rotation) at the cutting tip. That is, they have a positive rake angle.
                                This enables the hook-tooth blade to cut more aggressively than the
                                others. This blade is well suited to straight and curved cutting in
                                dense or hard woods

The rule for bandsaw blades

                                Make the blade fit your machine and your job
                                Bandsaw blades, like suits, boots, and deli sandwiches, come in a
                                wide variety, either off-the-rack or made-to-order. Many tool
                                dealers, home centers, and hardware stores sell ready-made blades
                                to fit popular saws. But some custom-make them, cutting a length
                                from a roll of bandsaw-blade stock and welding the ends together,
                                often while you wait.

                                In either case, you first need to know
                                your saw’s blade length. Install a
                                wrong-length blade and you may not
                                be able to tension it properly, which
                                could be hazardous to you, your saw,
                                or your project--maybe all three.

                                Check your saw’s instruction manual
                                for the recommended length, or
                                measure the factory-installed blade.
                                Many dealers can find the right blade
                                just by knowing your saw’s make and

                                The type of cutting you’ll be doing
                                determines blade width, which may be from 1/16" up to 3/4" or
                                even larger, depending on the machine. Your saw’s manual specifies
                                the narrowest and widest blades recommended.

You'll strike out with the wrong pitch

                                For woodcutting blades, the pitch, or the number of teeth per inch
                                (TPI), falls between 3 and 24 TPI. Which pitch you need depends
                                on the thickness of the material you’re cutting.

                                The fewer the teeth in the wood, the faster (and rougher) the cut,
                                generally. To lessen the chances of blade or tooth breakage, saw
                                with a blade that keeps at least three teeth in the wood. More will
                                yield a smoother cut, but a blade with too many teeth in the wood
                                will cut slowly and dull rapidly. For the best balance between cutting
                                speed and smoothness, pick a blade that keeps 6 to 12 teeth in the
                                wood (see chart below).

                                As on other saws, bandsaw teeth are set--bent to the sides--to saw
                                a kerf slightly wider than the thickness of the blade body. The most
                                common sets for woodworking bandsaw blades are alternate and
                                raker, shown below.

                                             BLADE-PITCH SELECTION
                                          (Round to the nearest standard pitch)

                                        Cutting Thickness            Minimum pitch                Optimum pitch
                                                                                     (TPI)                                 (TPI)
                                                1/8"                                 24                                     24
                                               1/4"                                  14                                     24
                                               3/8"                                  10                                  18, 24
                                               1/2"                                   6                                  14, 24
                                               3/4"                                   4                                   10, 14
                                                1"                                     3                                    6, 10
                                                2"                                     3                                     3, 6
                                                3"                                     3                                     3, 4
                                         Over 3"                                   3                                       3

                                The raker-set blade has a repeating pattern of one tooth set to the
                                right, one to the left, and then one, the raker, left unset. The set teeth
                                cut the wood, and the rakers help clear away chips.

                                With an alternate-set blade,
                                every tooth is set either left or
                                right. Alternate-set blades cut
                                faster, and some bandsaw users
                                maintain that spreading the
                                cutting load over all the teeth
                                helps the blade stay sharp

Blades for big-time sawyers

Bi-metal blades,
becoming more readily
available to home
woodworkers, offer a
alternative to standard blades.
High-speed steel (HSS) electron-welded to the edge gives
each tooth a tough tip, shown above. These blades stand up to abrasion and
 heat that would dull a carbon-steel blade quickly.

A bi-metal blade will set you back about three times the cost of a
same-size standard blade ($30 vs. $11 in one comparison). But, it
can save money (and time) in the long run by staying sharp longer
than a standard blade. That’s why we use bi-metal blades on the
14" Delta bandsaw in the WOOD magazine shop.

Tougher yet is the carbide-tipped resaw blade, at about $100. Only
if you resaw hard, abrasive woods in production quantities would
you need one of these.

Getting the most from your blade

Better cornering. For a blade that
takes tight curves smoothly, round
its back corners with a coarse
 whetstone. Many dealers sell a dry
  stone mounted on a handle--called
a blade-tuning stone--designed
especially to do this.

                                Don’t attempt re-entry. If you
                                replace a blade in the middle of a
                                cut, don’t saw into the old kerf with
                                the new blade. That’s a sure way to
                                dull the new blade prematurely.
                                Instead, turn the work around and
                                start at the other end.

                                Straighten up and cut right.
                                For accurate cutting, you must adjust the tension and blade guides
                                Here’s how we do it in three simple steps:
                                1. Set the blade tension in accordance with your saw’s instruction
                                2. Adjust the tracking to bring the bottoms of the blade gullets into
                                line with the front of the saw’s guide pins or blocks (see illustration
                                3. With the saw running, carefully slide the blade support toward the
                                back of the blade. When the blade rotates the wheel, slide the
                                support away from the blade just a smidgen so the free-running
                                blade won’t rotate the guide wheel. Tighten the setting.

                                Blades that won’t cut straight. A blade that continually tracks off
                                a cutting line in the same direction may be dull on one side. The
                                blade will lead toward the sharper side. The only cure: Sharpen the
                                blade or install a new one on the saw.

Where to buy them

                                 Can’t find the blade you want locally? Try these mail-order dealers
                                 for a wide variety of bandsaw blades:

                           Garrett Wade Co.

                                      Trend-lines, Inc.


                                      Woodworker’s Supply, Inc.

                           Grizzly Tools
                                 Note: Manufacturers specific recommendations for use of their
                                 products always take precedence over general tips.

Note from Jim Del Toro, Fall Seminar chair…

The fall seminar is set for Saturday, Oct 20th. This year's speaker will be Bobby Clemons, a nationally recognized wood turner. He is President of the Tennessee Association of Woodturners, a member of the Brasstown Woodturners Guild in Brasstown, N. C., and was the founding President of the Cumberland Woodturners of Crossville, Tennessee. Bobby has taught classes at the Appalachian Craft Center, the John C. Campbell Folk school and the Arrowmont School of Crafts. He was featured on HGTV’s Modern Masters Christmas show in 1999 and 2000 demonstrating his technique on turning his style of Christmas ornament. He and his turnings were also featured in the December 2000 issue of the “TENNESSEE MAGAZINE”. He has also been featured on the “TENNESSEE CROSSROADS” television show on PBS stations in Tennessee. Bobby will provide turning demonstrations on his Christmas ornaments as well as turning salad bowl, and rough edge bowls. More details will follow in future issues of SPLINTERS".

Mark your calendars!


Just a reminder to resister at the  meeting for the router drawing.
Remember that the only way you can register is to be at the meeting.

Thoughts and Prayers are needed for the following Club members:

Ben Whiteaker
Don Helton
Bob Swafford
James Lowery

Jim VanCleave sent this in:

Sharpening Stone Comparison Guide

                  Stone Type                                        US Grit                 Japan Grit
                    Coarse Crstolon,coarse India             100                        150
                    Medium Crystolon                             180                         240
                    Medium India,coarse diamond           240                         280
                    Fine Crystolon,Fine India                  280                          360
                    Medium diamond                              320                          500
                    Washita                                            350                          600
                    Soft Arkansas                                   500                         1000
                    Hard White Arkansas,
                    Fine Diamond,medium
                    black Ceramic                                 700                          2000
                    Hard black Arkansas                       900                          4000
                    Ultra white Ceramic                                                         6000

from p.73, July Woodcraft catalog.

The July meeting of the Tennessee Valley Woodworkers was called to order by President Tom Cowan.
We had 58 present.
Our visitors were: Don Newsom, Jim Parker and Raymond Thompson

Show and Tell:
   Billy May_ carving of a wood spirit
   Bob Reese_ sharpener for turning gaug
   Bob Leonard_ samples of wood species
   Manuel Brown_ segmented bowl
   Tom Church_ Box Elder bowl he had  bleached.
   Jim Van Cleave_unusual shaped box, octagonal wooden candy dish.
    Josef Maierbacker_ Caucasion walnut bowl from Germany.
    Dean Lutz- Corian goblet
    Andy Butterfield_ carved cane
    Ross Roepke_ Red Oak Stickley bed
    Matt Brothers_ Mahogany china cabinet

    Program: Bob Leonard, Doyle  McConnell had an impromptu  discussion on repairing tools and  sources for equipment and repairs.
Until next month!

                       Shirley Bishop


Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft

WOOD ONLINE newsletter

Falls Mill

Appalachain Center for the Arts

Forest Products Lab. 1999 Wood Handbook

Jim DelToro

Highland Hardware

Woodworker's Journal

Steve Graham's Page


Saw Blade Sharpening Services: Branching Out is now offering their services as a drop off spot to have your saw blades sharpened.  The blades will be picked up (Tuesdays), sharpened, and dropped back off at Branching Out.  The Leitz Tooling Systems out of Collierville, TN will do the sharpening.  Call (393-0525) or stop by for details.

Tom Gillard Jr.