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Topic: Making a clean slice of wood without damaging bark  (Read 895 times)
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« on: June 24, 2012 12:07:46 AM »

Thought it was simple enough. Turns out, not so much.

Went out into the woods to collect some fairly freshly fallen small branches - about 1-1.5cm diameter each, of many different species of trees - to cut into simple wood slices for post earrings and beads, ala something like this, and through some twist of fate, they were left to then bake in my car in full sun for a day and a half, leaving them amply dry.

On day three I took a handsaw to them, only to find that the saw nearly instantly ripped the bark off of the branch, and the tooth of the saw left a nasty jagged pattern that all but eliminated the natural rings of the branch and left the whole thing looking like a miniature cork.

I'm clearly no woodworker - I'm a botany student, and a pretty poor one at that. Does anyone with more experience have any advice for making a simple, clean cut that won't damage the ring of the tree or the bark? Clearly species of tree is pretty important, but I'm not sure I really have the formula for freshness of wood/drying either.
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2012 07:39:17 AM »

I'd probably try cutting the rings when they are still fresh/wet and also using a wood saw blade with much much smaller teeth.  Which size did you use?  Cutting them while dry allows no natural lubricate and they'll crumble and crush much easier.

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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2012 11:12:12 PM »

I don't recall the tooth size exactly but it was pretty fine. To be honest, though, it was also not the newest, sharpest piece of equipment you might imagine, which probably didn't help the tearing off the bark bit.

I suppose my next step, then, would be to find a nice fresh cut of wood from a tree... as much as I detest the thought of hacking off a perfectly good branch in mid-summer for a craft experiment, I suppose I won't put any of it to waste.

Would there be any issue in letting the formed, wet beads dry on a piece of fishing line or beading string? Most sites I've referred to recommend waxed linen thread, but I honestly can't imagine why that would be.
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2012 06:49:59 PM »

Those in the link were cut with a band saw. Here is how you can make it work, dry or wet.

Take your pieces and use a knife to go around the branch, then a gap a small distance away. Remove the section of bark in that gap and then go in with your saw. You're not going to get a good clean and clear cut, but the finer the teeth the better the cut (if the wood is bone dry you can use a rough cut hack saw blade). Sand with medium grit, soak in a urethane or acrylic sealant for an hour or so to make sure it soaks in, let dry, sand with medium (120), fine (220), and then very fine (400).

Let me know if you have further questions.

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