An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

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An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby laflippin » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:15 pm

I recently posted this suggestion in response to another member's request for help, but thought that it might receive wider consideration as a stand-alone post in the Tips & Tricks thread. Apologies in advance if I have simply managed to re-invent someone else's idea.

Basically, my problem started with the need to remove the waste backing from fairly large V-Carve inlay projects. Since my bandsaw is a cheapie with only ~4 1/2" of resaw height...well, it is not useful for anything but the smallest inlays.

Using a long handsaw, whether Western push-style or Japanese pull-style, is very tedious and slow--it has to be done very slowly to avoid scarring the workpiece surface, and even then any little error can result in a badly scarred and/or completely ruined workpiece surface.

Tried using a reciprocating saw with 12" blade--ha ha! Now that is a very quick way to ruin your workpiece! Unless your hands are a lot better than mine, there is no way to stabilize and control the cut from a reciprocating saw to safely remove inlay backing from a large workpiece.

However, the solution to this problem is dirt simple. I bought some 1" wide, thin aluminum strips and clamped them to the workpiece surface on both sides of the inlay. Keeping the reciprocating saw blade flush against the aluminum strips, I can breeze through the inlay backing material in a jiffy without the blade ever touching the workpiece surface.

I haven't needed to try it yet, but this method should also work for the removal of inlay backing on very wide workpieces with a long handsaw and some elbow grease...no need to invest in a bandsaw with a huge cutting height (and a correspondingly large pricetag).

Again, my apologies if all of the veteran V-Carve inlay practitioners here already know this trick and have been using it...
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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby highpockets » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:57 pm

Good idea, thanks for sharing....

I'm wondering if my vibratory flush cut saw would work well.
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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby steve323 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:04 pm

Did the aluminum strips allow a clean surface with the reciprocating saw? It seems like they would get completely chewed up if the saw blade had any tooth set.

Could you also just attack the waste board with a belt sander? Use coarse grits until it gets close to the final surface.

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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby laflippin » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:20 am

The aluminum strips come out scratched a little, but basically all of the cutting action goes down through the wood. Sanding off the bulk of the inlay backing is an option if the backing is very thin; however, the way I make inlays the backing waste is usually 1/4" thick---that's a lot of sanding. Reciprocal saw cuts through it like butter. Clearly, the workpiece surface still needs to be sanded down after the backing is cut off...but that is a minor sanding job that is necessary after any known method for removing the backing.

The only alternatives I've seen involve using a band saw or possibly using the CNC machine to mill off the waste material...the first of these is limited to ~12" at the higher end of band saw prices, or spending a bunch more set-up time and milling time with the CNC.

At some point, maybe this weekend, I'm going to take a little video of this method--it is sooooo quick and easy.
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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby Totomm » Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:59 pm

I have been using a guide rail saw, cutting just the width of the saw blade and depth just above the workpiece and sanding down the rest. Takes a little time, but works ok as I don't have a band saw.
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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby 4DThinker » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:33 pm

If my inlay projects are small I use my bandsaw to remove most of the waste, then run the part through my drum sander until the face is clean. When the area is too large for my band saw I generally just use the CNC to pocket off most of the waste, then finish with the drum sander.

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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby Paul Z » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:57 pm

I used a radial arm saw cutting with width of the kerf each pass. I had to go reasonably slow to avoid tearing out part of the inlay.

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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby laflippin » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:40 am

IMG_0451.JPG
Hi Paul--Sorry, I had forgotten that you originally suggested the radial arm saw method in your "Procedure for Designing and Machining V-Inlay Projects" paper, along with the drum sander idea (very slow), and CNC milling suggestion. Clearly, in the ensuing years since your discovery and development of V-Inlay methodology (which, if I had the deciding vote, would come to be known as the Zank V-Inlay Method) it is the bandsaw method for removal of waste backing that most people like and use whenever possible. Nevertheless, I'd guess there are some folks out there who may have also ruined a workpiece surface or two with a quick, clumsy episode on the bandsaw. Or, maybe not... my suggestion is probably not of tremendous interest to those who have steady hands and ready access to a high-end bandsaw with a 12" cutting height, unless you make inlay projects that are even bigger than that and you want to consider cutting off the backing with a hand-held rip-saw.

Protecting the workpiece surface with a couple of thin aluminum strips offers three nice advantages in my recent experience: (1) It is very quick and no other special care is needed to protect the workpiece surface--a Sawzall with a 12" blade can chew through a board-foot of waste inlay backing in a couple of minutes and the only crucial requirements are that the workpiece must be firmly clamped to a workbench and the protective strips need to be firmly clamped to the workpiece surface. (2) The aluminum strips are reusable--I've used the same ones for a couple of projects and they are hardly worse for the wear--a little scratched up but ready for many more future projects. (3) Again, haven't tried it yet but I do believe that a hand-held rip saw could be used aggressively and safely on protected workpieces larger than 12" without any chance of scarring the workpiece surface.

The attached pix are desk-top signs I just made for a couple a friends of mine who do woodcarvings by hand and exhibit and sell their stuff at local shows...I was seriously considering buying a very expensive bandsaw because my bottom-of-the-line Skil-brand cheapie cannot handle workpieces that are 5 1/2" wide :x and even very careful hand-sawing usually scars up the surface of a workpiece that is 8 - 10" long. But, protected by aluminum I breezed through the backing for these inlays in just a couple minutes each and sanded them down to a fine finish in another couple of minutes.
Attachments
IMG_0450.JPG
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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby mickecarlsson » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:43 pm

This is how I do it. Plain and simple.
Starting to mill it away.
mill-away-1.jpg
Starting to mill away material

Almost done.
mill-away-2.jpg
Almost done
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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby laflippin » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:23 pm

Hi Mike,

I'm a big fan of, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". As long as you are happy milling off waste material from inlay projects with your CNC, you should obviously keep doing it that way.

The quick and simple solution to removing inlay backing that I've tried to describe here, using a couple of aluminum strips to protect the workpiece surface so that the backing can be rapidly cut off with a reciprocating saw, suits me for the various reasons that I've mentioned, which included not having to spend any additional time programming and setting up a CNC machine to do this type of job.

I'm really not trying to convince anyone to change what they are doing, as long as they are already happy with their current approach.

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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby Paul Z » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:46 pm

"Hi Paul--Sorry" Absolutely nothing to be sorry about! When I posted the V inlay method, I expected it to evolve far beyond what I could do.

I used a radial arm saw to get rid of most of the waste because I had a radial arm saw at hand with an extremely sharp blade. It is sort of like asking someone with a screw gun in their hand to fix something. The fix is very likely to involve a screw.

If you have found a good way to remove the waste, OUTSTANDING! And thanks for adding to the general knowledge base on V inlay!

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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby laflippin » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:51 pm

Paul, It has been really interesting to go back to your original post on the inlay technique you discovered and then read a number of the many, many follow-up responses and derivative contributions made by other forum members....2006 was clearly an exciting year for discovery, experimentation, and a number of astonishing developments and refinements in the field of V-carve inlay. In addition to all of the wonderful technical revelations that made fine inlay work feasible with a CNC, I have been consistently impressed with your generous, open-handed willingness to share your insights with this community. In an ideal world, I think that Vectric and CNC machine makers should find a mechanism to reward folks like you--I really wonder how many folks got into CNC machining for the sole reason of doing fine inlay work. In earlier years, I had tried in vain to do hand-inlay (spent enormous amounts of time making absolute crap) and inlay techniques using a scroll saw (my scroll saw is now gathering dust and is up for sale, if anybody wants it). Then I started to notice some YouTube videos that featured the V-inlay techniques you discovered and freely disclosed to the CNC community....

I have recently retired (after 38 years) from a professional world where scientific discoveries of exceptional merit and originality are nearly always associated in the ensuing technical literature with the original discoverer's name. For instance, if you had discovered the widely used palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling of organotin reagents with organic halides, that chemistry would have come to be known as "the Zank reaction" instead of its actual discoverer's sobriquet, "the Stille reaction".

In case your modesty is offended by this suggestion, please note that it is always the scientific community, and not the actual pioneer discoverer who eventually names the original discovery after its discoverer. "Zank V-inlay Procedure" has a certain ring to it, and it abbreviates nicely to "Zank VIP", which conveys a certain underlying truth.

Anyway, Paul, feel free to tell Vectric and Next Wave Automation that they both owe you something for attracting my business...I would never have gotten interested in CNC if not for your seminal revelations that made V-carve inlay possible.
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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby steve323 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:12 pm

This is a great forum for finding new ways of doing things.

The suggestion about using the CNC to remove most of the material is brilliant. I slap my forehead and ask why didn't I think of that.

The radial arm saw is another good idea, especially with a dado head. Much faster than programming a pattern into the CNC. A router sled would also work fairly quickly.

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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby martin54 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:22 pm

It really doesn't matter what method you use as long as it works well for yourself, if you have found a method that suits you well then good for you, the fact that you have shared your method on the forum is also great, it's what the forum is all about. Your method is unlikely to suit everyone but it may be great for some & something they hadn't thought to try themselves.
I don't have one particular method personally, it really depends what I am doing at the time & what equipment is set up :lol: :lol:
That may involve hand tools or power tools, I sometimes use hand saws for all sorts of cutting, 2 reasons for this, one it helps keep my hand in & secondly depending on what your doing it is often quicker than setting up & using a power saw :lol: Your strip method would probably work with a hand saw but you can also use other methods depending on the type of saw, a trim saw only has teeth set on one side & using cardboard/vinyl or some other barrier should prevent scaring.
Like you I only have a small bandsaw, think 6" is my maximum cut so that only gets used for small stuff.
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Re: An Alternative to the Bandsaw for Removing Inlay Backing

Postby LittleGreyMan » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:43 pm

laflippin,

thanks for your hilarious and brilliant comment!

I vote for "Zank VIP"! Paul deserves it.

And of course, many thanks to Paul for this technique which now has definitely been officially named
Best regards

LGM

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