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Author Topic:   Cutting Small Pieces of Wood
Model Maker
posted 11-28-2002 02:08 AM              Reply w/Quote
I'm making a model out of basswood and was wondering what kind of power tools people use for cutting?

I need to cut about 100 pieces of 1/4"x1/4" strips into 3" lengths. Any suggestions? I've tried a razor, but it doesn't give me a smooth cut...

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d guy
posted 11-28-2002 08:51 AM              Reply w/Quote
lots of ways to do this one... always with some fixture.

if you start with 1/4 x 1/4 stock, how about score and snap to 3.25" then disk sand to length (using some fixture to set length)

if you start with 1x3 stock:
you need a tenoning fixture

you can always make one pretty easily

If it were me I would use a table saw sled and start with 1/4 sheet stock, rip 1/4 strips and then cut to length.
the advantage to using the sled is safety and the abiliity to put stop blocks in for consistency:

these are easily made, pay alot of attention to the slide rails (nylon or PE work best)

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sloppy joe
posted 11-29-2002 02:54 AM              Reply w/Quote
laser cutter- the edges look cool afterwards- like my favorite photoshop filters. oooh yeeeah smokin beautiful. actually, just do what the last guy said, or steal one of those super cool high pressure cutters from a book factory

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posted 11-29-2002 03:11 PM              Reply w/Quote
perhaps if it is possible you could do a rethink. does it have to be basswood?

often models are made in wood for no reason other than it is what they are used to.

wood has a nice quality to it for architectural models if it is left natural or waxed.

other than that in most cases with wood you spend too much time sealing, priming, painting and it still looks worse than other materials.

wood is going to move on you as it is flexing all over and warping.

use more expensive materials that save you time and give you better models.

i'd only use wood for models that are wood in real life.

i remember making a model in wood because that was the way it was done, while someone else used other materials. i'd have to say it was faster and cleaner and more durable in materials other than wood.

wood in one of my last choices for models.

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come on.....
posted 11-30-2002 01:02 PM              Reply w/Quote
POWER TOOLS?! 100 pieces is NOT very many pieces.

you've stated the you are STARTING with 1/4" x 1/4" square stock-- all you have to do is cut to length.

a simple stop fixture fabricated out of bits of scrap plywood (or ?), with a saw guide (more scrap wood) that holds your saw at 90 degrees located at the 3" point, all glued together with cyano is all you need.

slip the stock into the guide, apply a few strokes of your Exacto razorSAW (not blade; and use the saw on the backstroke for a clean start)... repeat one hundred times... touch up with a bit of 220 sandpaper, and you're done.

fact is, you could have had them all cut out by now if you'd just made up your mind to it, sat down, and started cutting ... instead of writing.

power tools aren't the proper tool for a lot of jobs.

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quarter scale
posted 12-01-2002 01:26 AM              Reply w/Quote
Go to
they are "the small tool specialists". They have a catalogue and online ordering for hundreds of products geared for model makers (hobby and professional).

I am interning for a furniture company, mostly making models. The way we do it is using micro power tools. Mini table saw, mini jig saw, mini disk sander etc...
If you forsee yourself making models, I would buy a mini table saw for a hundred and fifty bucks. Or if you don't have cashflow I would buy one of the manual "choppers for basswood". They are basically a swinging arm to which you attach a disposable shaving razor. In addition there is a guard rail, to get that 90' angle cut.

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