Sawing Small Pieces

Sawing Small Pieces

Q: I am building dollhouses and gas stations in the 1:12 scale size. I will be working with 1/8″ x 1/8″ and up to 1/8″ x 3/8″ strips. What is the best table saw jig to use for this project? I have an old Sears contractor’s table saw that is modified a little. – Bill Finck

Tim Inman: Little pieces in big machines equal trouble! Be very, very careful, wear eye protection and follow all the safety rules. You’ll hear the “Ping!” right after you feel the numb sting on your skin if you get a kickback, says the voice of experience. Use a zero-clearance insert and a fine tooth sharp blade, for sure. That said, I’d make a sled. This is a great way to handle little pieces and cut them as precisely as you want them, with the least risk.

Rob Johnstone: Such small stock on the table saw raises a red flag for me. If you must use a table saw, build or buy a sled that has surrounds (the deck runs on both sides of the saw blade) the saw blade. Do not raise the saw blade any higher than you absolutely need to. I would recommend a band saw or even a scroll saw for this job over the table saw. They would be much safer options, in my opinion.

Chris Marshall: I agree with Tim and Rob on this one. Use a sled and a fine-toothed blade if you end up using your table saw for these tiny cuts. You might also appreciate knowing that Proxxon sells a tiny table saw designed for just the sort of miniature work you’re doing. It comes with a blade that’s only 2 9/32″ diameter with 80 teeth — so extremely fine! It might be worth the investment and the added degree of safety if you plan to build lots of wooden miniatures.

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