Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Power Saw vs. Hand Saw
When friends discover that I like making dollhouse miniatures, one of the first questions they ask me is, "What kind of tools do you use to do that?!" Depending on the object I'm showing them, I might answer, "A very small table saw," or "A table mounted jigsaw," or "A jeweler's saw."
The table saw is great for making straight cuts and cutting down regular wood stock into the more manageable pieces we most often need for making minis. At the left is a picture of the table saw I use.
The two add-on devices are a featherboard (the wooden device on the left near the front) and a micro-adjustable fence for my mini table saw. The featherboard helps me keep the wood against the fence, thus creating a much straighter cut. The fence allows me to make very tiny adjustments in the thickness of my cuts. When doing miniatures, even a thickness variation of only a few hundredths of an inch makes a difference in how something looks!
By the way, I have the pictured table saw attached to a board, and that board is clamped onto the top of, well, an even larger, 10" Dewalt portable table saw. (I use the big saw when I have some heavy-duty cutting to do.) I also have a power miter saw, but it sits in my garage most of the time, since I have a very tiny workshop. (It's slightly less than 10' x 9'. With workbenches along both of the longer walls and a short L at the end, you may have a sense of how tiny the workshop is!) One of these days I'll show you a picture of it. It's a total mess right now - not a scrap of available work space for anything!
The jigsaw is a terrific tool for cutting out larger shapes and stuff with curliques. When I have my table saw set up for a specific cut, and need to cut a piece of wood, and if precise right angles or width of the final cut are not a concern, I'll flip on the jigsaw and cut the piece.
The jigsaw is also a wonderful tool for cutting cabriolet legs. In an upcoming blog, I'll show you how to do that. They are a lot of fun to make, and I'm not being sarcastic when I say that.
For precision cutting, though, there is nothing like the jeweler's saw! In my next post, I'll show you a couple of items that I could not have made without the jeweler's saw! In many ways, it's my most favorite tool. The pieces I create with it frequently cause the most jaw-dropping responses from others who look at my work, and for me, that's the joy of crafting miniatures!