FRETS.COM Tips & Tricks

Sandpaper! Isn't that hard on blades?
Paper Cutting on the Band Saw
© Frank Ford, 4/18/00; Photos by FF, 2000

I've been cutting paper on my bandsaw for years now. Ever since we all became our own printers, what with computers and laser jets, I've found it advantageous to do my own cutting, too.

Here's my simple setup:

I simply lay the stack of paper on a scrap of plywood, clamp one edge down nicely, and run it through, using whatever blade I have on the saw. Here, I have the whole assembly blocked up to clear the clamps, and I'm cutting freehand If I'm cutting against the rip fence, I can do it without the blocks and clamps.

This is me cutting the insert for my FRETS.COM CD-ROM. Not being willing (or able) to bear the high minimum numbers for printing this kind of thing, I can print and cut them 100 at a time, freehand through the saw:

Sure, the edge is a bit more ragged than a professional cut, but believe me, no one notices. With this job, I simply printed my cut lines along with the text and photos. Couldn't be easier!

A few months ago, I had a little brainstorm. My blade had worn pretty dull and needed replacing. So, I thought this would be a perfect time to try cutting some sandpaper.

I use 3-1/2" strips for sanding fingerboards, so I simply set up my fence, jammed in a piece of scrap plywood, and cut a stack of 50 sheets of white stearate coated silicon carbide paper - neat as you please:

In fact, I was able to cut a total of about 350 pieces before the blade quit producing dust and belched only smoke! Now, just before changing blades on my saw, I check to see if I need any special size sandpaper.

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