Small guide for hobbyists, beginners, and not, on the techniques, tools, and different fields of application of one of the oldest arts practiced by man.
Wood has always been one of the key resources for the development of human civilization, as well as one of the first to be used as raw material for a wide range of applications. Its use as fuel is still practiced today for example, throughout history, however, wood has been and is still widely used as a construction material for buildings and houses, and a basic component in the creation of utensils, dishes, furnishings, furniture and a myriad of other everyday objects.
Thanks to its high malleability and versatility, moreover, wood has always exercised a great fascination on artists and craftsmen who, as evidenced by the countless masterpieces scattered all over the world, have dedicated themselves for centuries to the sculpture and carving of this material which, unlike stone, can be considered “alive” in all respects.
The right tools
Consequently, woodworking requires different techniques and tools depending on the purpose to be achieved. For the creation of beams, columns, planks, piers, and other building materials, just to give an example, the processing must start directly from the logs and consequently requires large equipment.
One of the first tools for cutting wood to be created by man is the manual saw, from which a whole series of types have been derived whose substantial difference lies in the size of the blade. The claw saw the back saw, the saw, the arch saw, the frame saw and the hacksaw, for example, are nothing more than saws whose dimensions and shape of the handle serve to facilitate the cutting of pieces whose thickness varies from a few millimeters up to a maximum of 35-40 centimeters.
The only exception is the frame saw, which is designed to be used simultaneously by two people and, depending on its size, allows the cutting of thicknesses that can be far greater than 40 centimeters.
The various types of saws
Manual saws are less and less used now, as current technology has allowed the creation of light and powerful electric motors, which require no maintenance and are far less noisy than petrol engines and first-generation electric motors, consequently the chainsaws have almost completely supplanted hand saws.
The same applies to the subsequent processing phase of the logs, where the latter are further cut to be transformed into pieces of different sizes; for this type of processing, which falls within an exclusively industrial sector, band saws and large bench saws are used above all, that is, very heavy stationary machines that require a defined installation and large surfaces in order to work with efficiency.
Both band saws and bench saws allow you to work the boards and pieces of wood and are designed to operate on a range of measures that affect both the range of professional users, consisting of small artisans and carpenters and the more numerous, made up of hobbyists.
Tape or benchtop
The band saw, precisely because it uses a blade in the shape of a ribbon mounted on pulleys and welded at the ends, allows the cutting of pieces of wood with thicknesses and diameters starting from 8-10 centimeters up to 40-50 centimeters, it is also built so as not to limit the length dimension of the workable pieces. With the exception of the mini and micro models intended for model makers, therefore, band saws are used mostly by craftsmen in small carpentry and carpentry workshops.
Since the working area of the band saw is wider, in fact, the latter cannot be prepared for attachment to an extractor and the high production of dust and chipboard prevents domestic use, on the contrary of the bench saw.
The bench saw, on the other hand, uses a circular blade with a diameter of 254 millimeters, without prejudice to the standard exceptions which, however, remain in the order of a few millimeters, and is driven by an electric motor that reaches variable speeds based on power and the adjustment capacity of the machine.
The blade and the motor are wrapped in a rigid steel body where, on the upper part, the work surface is supported, the dimensions of which may vary according to the model chosen; at the center of the top, there is, therefore, a slot from which the edge of the blade protrudes.
As you could easily guess from the description, the bench saw only allows cutting thicknesses of no more than 8-10 centimeters, depending on the model, and consequently, also the width and length of the workable pieces are less. The cutting area of the bench saw is small and localized in fact, but on the other hand this allows it to be equipped with a small suction system for the dust produced, or at least for predisposition for connection with an aspirator.
For these reasons, therefore, it is the ideal equipment for DIY enthusiasts; moreover, since they are designed to cut plastic and metal in addition to wood, the bench saws are also excellent for small repairs and home renovations.
In any case, the hobby sector represents the largest market segment, especially as regards the production sector of power tools and related accessories; consequently the best-selling bench saw is not the professional one, as many might be led to think, but rather the one intended for hobby use.
The same also applies to the radial miter saws, which are nothing more than bench saws with an inverse architecture, and to the circular mandrel saws used by those with the hobby of model making, especially the naval one and the construction of dioramas.
The spindle saw, however, is also a preparatory tool for sculpture and wood carving, purely artistic rather than artisan activities, and therefore requires a whole series of high precision manual tools.