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Old February 1, 2020, 09:20 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Table-top band saw or scroll saw?

Being unable to easily find workable grips for my Astra, I'm taking one member's advice and making my own.

I've bought a sheet of sanded ply, 4mm thick.

The plan is to cut myself new grips, in layers and then glue them before staining them.

These grips will fully enclose the butt of the Astra. As such there'll be fine, tight turns as well as long curves and dead-straight edges.

Once cut, they'll be glued and stacked and then the uneven edges will be cut down and finally sanded down.

For these tasks, I'm planning to buy a tabletop bandsaw or scroll-saw.

Both can be had for about €130-150.

I wouldn't want to spend that much on grips that might not fit my hand, but I'm happy to spend that money on a tool that will allow me to make what I want.

So I need advice, as usual!

Which will do the job as described?
Which would also prove more useful for subsequent home improvement jobs?

From the little I've read, a scroll saw seems the one for this particular job, but possibly is more limited with other stuff, but if I'm wrong shout it out!

If this works, I might start making all sorts of laminated parts: stocks, grips, handles for my vertical compound, the list goes on!!
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Last edited by Pond, James Pond; February 1, 2020 at 09:43 AM.
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Old February 1, 2020, 11:24 AM   #2
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The scroll saw will make sharper turns. I bought a Wen scroll saw from Lowe's and the twisted blades to make those really tight turns won't tighten down enough. The flat pinned blades work fine. The band saw is more versatile.
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Old February 1, 2020, 11:57 AM   #3
Don Fischer
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I'd also go with the scroll saw. Have the band saw and it simply won't make the sharp turns. Cut outside your line's just a bit and sand down to the lines.
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Old February 1, 2020, 12:03 PM   #4
4V50 Gary
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If I had space, I'd rather have a big band saw (cut stocks out). For the work you describe, a scroll saw. Rough cut can be done on table top band saw and clean up somewhat with a disc or belt sander.
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Old February 1, 2020, 12:37 PM   #5
Pond, James Pond
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Found a scroll saw on offer for €99....

Jumped on it. If I like it, I may get the band saw at €130 for greater versatility, but for my grips project, this is enough.

Let's see how it goes!
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Old February 1, 2020, 02:09 PM   #6
Bill DeShivs
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A simple coping saw will do what you want. Since it's manual, it will take a little more time and effort, but it's much more controllable.
The cost is almost nothing.
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Old February 1, 2020, 02:12 PM   #7
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I'm not a fan of scroll saws, unless doing truly 'light' work with very fine detail or internal cuts.
They just don't last, and every scroll saw that I've ever used was either broken before I got to it, or broken before I was done with it. (Surely, some of that was my fault. But not all of it.)

With band saws, you just have to approach the planning and cutting a bit differently. Rather than just following the cut line, you nibble your way in to it with relatively straight lines.

For your grips, a good coping saw would probably be more than adequate. All the utility of a scroll saw, with more control and none of the mechanical and electrical failures. It just takes a little longer.


Hopefully yours works out.
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Old February 1, 2020, 03:06 PM   #8
Pond, James Pond
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Yeah, well it's paid for so I hope so!!

I actually find working with power tools more controllable, especially mounted as I have both hands available. We'll see and you can tell me "we told you so!" if it fails on me!!

The bandsaw may still prove useful at some point.
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Old February 1, 2020, 03:09 PM   #9
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I have a band saw and a scroll saw in my wood shop. The band saw isn’t the tool for tight curved cuts, where the scroll saw does it easily. And you don’t need an expensive scroll saw. Probably a Harbor Freight scroll saw will do what is needed, and all you’d need otherwise would be good blades. And I should mention that “a friend” installed the blades once with the teeth facing upwards, and that didn’t work so well. Teeth face down, at least on mine.
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Old February 2, 2020, 01:52 PM   #10
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I think you should forget the plywood first and find a hunk of hard wood. Walnut, birch or the like. Plywood will always look like plywood.
A band saw is for larger stuff than grips. The scroll saw is for "truly 'light' work with very fine detail or internal cuts".
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Old February 2, 2020, 03:26 PM   #11
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The advantage of laminated plys is that it will help you guide your shaping. As for looks, I've made some very pretty grips from laminates.

I use a coping saw, hand powered.. just take my times and work carefully.

A band saw or scroll saw would be handy but I would base my purchase based on the other projects I think I might like to do in the future. For me, I think a little belt sander would be one of the handiest tools for making grips but then again, I use hand rasps and sanding blocks and enjoy them.
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Old February 2, 2020, 04:58 PM   #12
Pond, James Pond
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For me laminate is not beautiful but nor is it ugly.

It can make nice stocks and grips but above all it makes my aim easier to achieve and, after all, this is an EDC, not a safe queen. My goal is being on target and repeatable. Looks come second.
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Last edited by Pond, James Pond; February 4, 2020 at 04:13 AM.
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Old February 3, 2020, 10:54 AM   #13
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The grips can be finished with a spray on enamel or automotive finish.
Any color you choose from the supplier. There is also bed liner spray on
coating that will give better grip surface.
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Old February 3, 2020, 01:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pond, James Pond View Post
Yeah, well it's paid for so I hope so!!

I actually find working with power tools more controllable, especially mounted as I have both hands available. We'll see and you can tell me "we told you so!" if it fails on me!!

The bandsaw may still prove useful at some point.
Couldn't agree more, especially your mention of using "power tools". Both hands mostly free and with the right blades, a bandsaw can do some pretty dang tight radii. And the blades for that equipment have much longer sets of teeth to cut with.
I have both a floor model and table model, bandsaws from Grizzly and they pay for themselves every time I turn either one on. This is the year 2020, so why suffer and make the job more time consuming with hand tools? :

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Old February 3, 2020, 01:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pond, James Pond
For me laminate is not beautiful but {nor} is it ugly.
...Or, if you like laminated stocks, consider dye coloring the wood before gluing the layers together.
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Old February 3, 2020, 01:40 PM   #16
SGW Gunsmith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir View Post
I think you should forget the plywood first and find a hunk of hard wood. Walnut, birch or the like. Plywood will always look like plywood.
A band saw is for larger stuff than grips. The scroll saw is for "truly 'light' work with very fine detail or internal cuts".
Here again, I agree. Lumberyard plywood? Life's too short to use "fugly" wood to make grips, if you're going to put forth the effort to make a set of panels:



Same thing concerning the use of "sea shells" to make grips.
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Old February 4, 2020, 12:27 AM   #17
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Band saw; get one with the deepest throat you can afford; at least 12 in. Use the 1/8 in blade. If youare only doing hobby fretwork or only grips type work, the scroll saw is best.
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Old February 4, 2020, 02:46 AM   #18
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
Life's too short to use "fugly" wood to make grips, if you're going to put forth the effort to make a set of panels:
Yeah, but life's too expensive to cut your teeth on mahogany.

This is my first attempt so I will play around with that to begin with. If it works out, if it's fun then more might follow.

I may well stain them in between glueing.

And the band saw will probably follow if this turns out to be gratifying!
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Old February 6, 2020, 06:29 PM   #19
HiBC
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Not all plywood is created equal,Mr Pond.

Your part of the world may have Baltic Birch plywood.There are Marine and aircraft versions.

I'm not sure what will be available,but it will be spec'd as something like "6 MM 5 lamination" or "6mm 7 lamination" I may be off with my description,but you probably understand. Its a far different product from lumberyard plywood. You can get 10 mm or more,so gluing may not be an issue.
Here is a crazy thought! I have some old Bonna cross country wood skis. They are made of 27 laminations of wood bonded together. Perhaps some grips lie within an old ski....
If there are any local boatbuilders they may have some scraps.
Perhaps if you find a dealer who sells it,they might tell you of a customer who buys it that may have some scrap.

Depending on the look you want,you might consider alcohol based shoe and leather dye to stain it. It penetrates more into end grain and less into side grain.A light sanding after the stain is dry can produce interesting contrasts.

Experiment first ! Don't overlook black.

I'm not sure what you are accustomed to working with,but if you have access to a vacuum pump and a vacuum bell jar or dessicating chamber there is a way to submerge the wood in a resin,such as a slow cure epoxy,or maybe Marine Spar Varnish,and subject it to a vacuum for a bit. This will suck the air out of the pores of the wood.
When the vacuum is released.whatever resin the wood is submerged in will be sucked in.
Its one way to harden and stabilize the wood.

Have fun! PS. Put some tape on the steel of your gun and you might not put file marks in the gun as you shape the grips

Last edited by HiBC; February 6, 2020 at 06:44 PM.
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Old February 9, 2020, 12:56 PM   #20
Pond, James Pond
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Great tips there, HiBC!

As usual the amount I don’t know about a given new subject is staggering!

However, whilst I do want a nice finish, I will first concern myself with a functional grip. If it works out I can toy with different effects then.
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