Yup, there’s yer problem!

Things have been a bit slow around here for the past couple of days. I ran out of raw material to finish the Bento Box, so it is lingering in a half-done state. Mari has just a few minutes ago commandeered it for “temporary” use as a tray for candles and other miscellany, and I have a shadow of a doubt as to whether it will ever become the originally-intended final product. Time will tell. I’ve also done one or two things in Des’s café, but they are too small to be honoured with a full post.

So, tonight, with only a little free time, no new ideas for another Blueprint, and nothing but plywood on hand, I took a few minutes to practice my sawing technique. On a strip of plywood around 4cm wide, I marked out 8 cuts 1cm apart and got to work with the jigsaw:

Dremel 4000 - saw practice

The image on the left shows the mixed results of my efforts. My cuts are getting more consistent and more straight. Before I even see the result, I can feel that the saw is more stable, with less side-to-side motion, and keeps better to the line. Occasionally, though, something like the #6/7 cut happens – I missed the line on this one from the beginning and, for some reason, it also ended up being more wavy than the others.

Dremel 4000 - saw practice, edgesWith the pieces stood up on edge, it is clear that even with the better cuts, precision and perfect consistency are still lacking. Believe it or not, this is still better than what I’ve done in the recent past. If need be, such differences can be sanded down easily enough, although I find that the Dremel and its sanding bands are less than perfect for this. It’s been difficult to get a smooth, level surface across multiple pieces with the small round sanding bands. Such shaping really ought be done with a larger flat sander, the most basic of which would be simply a sheet of sandpaper on a flat surface. (Regular old-fashioned sandpaper is high on my shopping list.)

For the final cut, I sawed off a ~30cm long, thin strip of plywood. This went rather well (that’s it above the small pieces in the first picture). Still not perfect, but a considerable step in the right direction over, say, a week ago. The key points of my improving sawing technique have been 1. slowing down; 2. focusing; 3. stabilizing the thing being cut; and 4. mostly just pulling and pushing the saw, without applying a lot of force to the cut, and letting the tool do the work.

I’ve also done a bit of internet browsing and discovered that there is a veritable world of wood saws out there, of which I probably didn’t pick the best one for the kinds of cuts I’m doing. Japanese saws, like those from Shark Corp., look mighty interesting! Lee Valley (no affiliation) even sells a dedicated Japanese plywood saw. There is something very appealing about the look of this one – a very simple, down-to-earth Oriental tool.


  1. Pingback: Quick weekend project: kitchen tray « The Dremel Amateur

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