Carpenters Cut Curves with Bandsaw

Vaughn Luthringer, Staff Writer

Barry Weiss’s Wood Shop classes are challenging the traditional box design with the bandsaw box project. The bandsaw is unique as it is capable of cutting curves in wood.

According to Weiss, the project is a great learning experience for beginners. “They learn about different woodworking techniques and machines,” he said. “They’re learning how to use the bandsaw, how to use the various sanders, [and the] drill press.”

“[The project] gives you lots of practice on different types of machines in the wood shop, with the bandsaw, and enforced practice on the planer and joiner and other tools that we’ve used,” said freshman Kelly Robles, a student in the beginning Wood Shop class.

According to Weiss, the project can be adjusted to provide the level of complexity appropriate for students at various levels.  His novice students will start with a single drawer box. “They’re doing ones mainly that have one drawer on them, and then the advanced class does more elaborate ones,” he said.

For some, elaborate means additional drawers. “For Advanced Wood, you have to have the two drawers,” said senior Sydni Gordon, an advanced Wood Shop student.

The project starts with a basic sketch of the box concept. “First we draw out our design on a piece of paper,” said freshman Julia Parsons. “Then we pick out our two pieces of wood, which we cut in half, and glue on top of each other.”

Gordon added that “coming up with a cool design” is a challenge.

“You glue your design that you previously drew out, you glue it onto the pieces of wood,” Parsons said. “You use the bandsaw to cut out the shape and design of your block of wood. It’s the only saw that can come out curved, practically.”

Parson is designing her box to look like a turtle. “It’s very hard to do, because there’s very many tight corners and it’s hard to get to,” she said. “But using a bandsaw helps, and then you sand it with a machine called an oscillating spindle sander. It just gets the round things.”

“Mine was a kind of a more rectangular box,” said Gordon. “I lasered on with the CNC [Computer Numerical Control] laser a map of the world, and then I outlined that.”

The project has been a highlight for at least one student. “The bandsaw is my favorite tool to work with in the wood shop, so far,” said Robles.