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I recently purchased a Byrnes saw and thickness sander and would like to start finding wood to use for my next build. I contacted a local wood supplier and asked if they could track down some holly, pear, or boxwood and they just called me back saying they could get some holly. The wood comes in rough cut 15/16" thick boards up to about 6" in width. My question is what kind of dimensions should I be looking for with rough cut wood? I do know that it is best to resaw down to the thickness you need with the widest side being the face, in this case, I would have to saw the wood such that I would be cutting down the 15/16" dimension to the rough size I would need, correct? Also, the asking price is $34.25/boardfoot, it this a reasonable price for rough cut holly?


Any help getting into milling my own stock would be a great help. I have seen topics coving milling wood from rough stock but I am unsure what the maximum dimensions of the wood I will be able to process will be with these small tools and no band saw.



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Gilmer Woods in Oregon (GilmerWood.com) normally has American Holly, Castello Boxwood, and European Pear for sale.  All of these woods are fairly expensive, but I've never calculated their board/ft price - they sell pieces they have in stock.  The pieces vary in size and price, but generally have squared sides.  This makes it easier to cut down to the sizes you'll want on the Byrnes saw and thickness sander.  


I normally cut the piece on my 14" bandsaw with a Woodslicer resaw blade down to a little more than I want for thickness on the finished size.  


Example - let's say I want to mill planks that are 1/8" wide and 1/16" thick.  I cut pieces (billets) that are approximately 5/32 thick on my bandsaw (using a ripping guide to do so).  Then I'll use the thickness sander to bring these billets down to a uniform 1/8" thickness (I can't get that level of precision on the bandsaw).  Then, on the Byrnes saw, I'll cut the 1/16" thick planks off this billet.  I'm not confident in my ability to cut the planks to that precise thickness, so I cut them a little heavy (maybe 1/64 or so heavy), then will use the thickness sander to bring them to the precise thickness.


I hope this helps answer your question.

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Thanks for the quick response!  That is pretty much what I figured, So the 15/16" boards would need to be resawn on a band saw down to slightly thicker than wanted thickness, process in the thickness sander and then ripped into planks on the byrnes saw.  So, this tells me that I would either need to buy boards that are resawn to slightly thicker than needed boards for me to re-dimension and rip or I would need to get my hands on a band saw or find someone with one who would do this work at a reasonable price or a case of beer.  hmm, I almost bought a band saw recently but opted for some other small scale tools instead.  Maybe a band saw will be back on the Christmas list.  Are there band saws out there that run on 110V and have enough power to resaw wood in this manner?  Also, what would you recommend for board widths for most modelling work?  I figure about 3" wide boards are probably suitable to do most framing work and pretty much any width will work for ripping planks.



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Hi Max,


As might be expected, I buy quite a bit of these woods.  The price you quote for holly is very reasonable.  There are other exotic wood suppliers here in the states that are asking up to $140 per BF for a really white, rough board.  This is before it is ever processed down into smaller pieces.


The sizes that you are looking at, I would definitely not begin processing with my Byrnes equipment.  Even though the saw is technically designed to handle 15/16" materiel, the 3" slitting blades will not do that.  I usually use full size equipment for anything of around 3/8" and greater.  A band saw would really be a gateway tool for processing down larger boards to scale thicknesses.  Also, I find that when cutting planks, more accurate results can be had if you use a sheet that is milled to your desired plank thickness.  Then you cut the desired width.  Of course you need to pay attention to how the grain in the wood runs.


Oh, and I find it much easier for my hands, which are not small, to work with pieces that are 2" wide on the Byrnes saw.  I often use much larger pieces of stock, but 2" is by far, for me, the most comfortable to work with on the Byrnes Table saw.

Edited by Jason
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Hi Max:


I have an old 14" Rockwell bandsaw originally manufactured in the 1940's and then rebuilt/reconditioned before I received it (a gift from a very good friend).  If I didn't have that bandsaw I think I'd be buying my lumber from one of the 'model shipyards' (The Lumberyard for Model Shipwrights, or Crown Timberyard) - I don't think an inexpensive 10" bandsaw would do the resawing that is necessary, but I might be wrong.  I would buy billets of the thickness I needed (the width of planks, for instance), and then cut them down to the final plank dimensions as I mentioned earlier.


You have some great tools in the Byrnes saw and thickness sander, and now it's just a matter of some practice to find what works best for you.  Have fun!

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If you are considering doing serious resawing, you really need a bandsaw with enough power to handle the wood.

The Grizzly G0555X - 14" Extreme Series Bandsaw is the sort of saw that you should be looking at - especially if you are using 110 V.

This model is 110V  and 1 1/2 HP.   A less powerful motor takes forever.


A 9" or 10" table top bandsaw is not the best tool for resawing.  Good for scroll cutting and light duty cuts.


Holly is a special case as far as wood goes.  It should be cut in Winter,  immediately cut into billets and put in a kiln to dry.

It is subject to attack by a species of mold (Blue mold) that is very aggressive.  You should check the wood before you pay for it.  If it is green (fresh cut wet), you may not get much that you can use. 


Getting into scratch building,  you might consider using less expensive domestic species to develop your skills.  Since you have not the tools needed to harvest your own wood "on the hoof"  you might look at available species that have characteristics that we want.


Hard Maple is excellent.  

Black Cherry if you want darker.

American Beech is a lot like Maple

Yellow Birch


If you do not mind wood that is less dense (softer) - cuts easier and faster

Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera ) 

Tupelo  (Nyssa aquatica)

Basswood  (Tilia americana)


The open pore distinct grain species do not look good to my eye when they supposed to represent wood at 1:48 - 1:98 scale.


Black Walnut

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Thank you guys for the informative responses, it is now official, a band saw is back on the Christmas list unless I can find a suitable one at a steal before then.  


Jason, thank you for giving me a price comparison on the wood, it sounds like I was offered a more than fair deal on these boards.  I may have to purchase a board foot or two to have on hand when the time comes that I can process it down to Byrnes scale lumber.  Also, it is helpful to hear an experienced person's point of view on board dimensions for the Byrnes saw.


Frank, I have been looking for a band saw of the rough size you mention, I have found a couple 14" Delta's and I think I have seen a Rockwell for sale recently, though both of them were much newer which does not seem to be a positive with these companies as they used to be built rock solid and the newer ones don't seem to be built to the same standards.


Jaager, The Grizzly looks really nice, I will have to keep an eye out for a second hand one.  If not, I will continue to look for band saws that have 1+ HP motors to accomplish resawing.  I have some of the other species of wood you mention on hand that I use for scrolling work but so I should be able to get a bit of practice using my tools and maybe I will do a small scratch build with some of these materials to get my toes wet.  You did mention a couple varieties of wood that I have never seen or heard of, I will have to look into those so that I am aware of them when the time comes to purchase wood for a build down the line that they may be suitable for.


Thanks again for all of the great responses, I will be able to move forward more informed and hopefully get to the point where I can process my own wood down by the end of the year, or by my birthday in March if Christmas doesn't pan out ;).



See you guys around,

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If you can find a good price on a 14" Delta, Jet, or Grizzly, and if it's in good shape, I think any of those would be fine for what you need.  A high quality blade like the Woodslicer makes a world of difference.  And there are upgrade kits available for improving the guides if you need to.

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