More Puzzle Coasters!

Another set of coasters made from recycled hardwood fence pailings. Including a little storage box.


This was test of my new mini-bandsaw, and to come good on a request from a family member for a set of those puzzle coasters I made for myself a little while ago. I still had plenty of the same material to use up and I wanted to see if I could make them in a lot less time second time round.

It didn’t take me long to find the flaws in my bandsaw. To adjust the blade guide took forever, and the table was no where near square to the blade. But with some patience and a little creativity, it squared up ok.

A couple of wooden shims jammed behind the angle adjustment clamp helped square up the table.

After sticking on some paper templates to already planed hardwood fence pailing, I moved onto the bandsaw. My new little friend didn’t let me down… for a while that is 😦 It did at least eat through the hardwood with ease, following the curves pretty easily, and a million times easier and quicker than doing be hand with a coping saw like I did last time.

However after a couple of pieces the saw blade snapped on me leaving me high and dry. It seemed this quite old blade had completely fatigued, and me putting a bit of extra tension on it when I was adjusting it earlier, was enough to snap it. The rest if the blade easily broke in my fingers with the smallest of force, telling me it was completely fatigued. I suppose this might be an issue with such a small bandsaw as the wheels the blades spin on are very small which probably pretty rapidly fatigues them compared to a larger one.

This tiny little bandsaw came with a 3mm blade, which cut quite nicely for a while.

Feeling completely frustrated, I naturally immediately impulse bought a scroll saw for $50 that happened to be going of Ebay on the same day. I did also order a replacement blade for the bandsaw but didn’t want to wait the 2 week delivery. I have to say that having things break on you is so very frustrating when “shed time” is so hard to get as a parent of two young children.

My even more recently purchased scroll saw. Another cheap GMC brand, with a  few flaws, but it did ok.

I had mixed results with the scroll saw, given this was the first time I’d used one, I supposed that is to be expected. It cut slower than the bandsaw which is fine, and you could make very tight curves in principle. The only trouble I found was because the timber was both brittle and yet hard, I had trouble steering accurately to the line. This was because cutting across the grain was super easy with the wood fibres basically snapping off, but cutting with the grain was very hard and the teeth had trouble biting into it. So as you rounded a corner the blade wanted to drift all over the place as it found the path of least resistance.

I honestly still don’t know if I need both machines, so I guess I’ll just have to keep playing with them until I work it out. I suspect I’ll end up buying a better quality bandsaw one day, as it cuts just so much faster and I think has more applications for me. We’ll see…

As this set of coasters was going to be a gift, I thought it would be nice to make a storage tray. So I knocked up a simple and rustic looking tray. In future I’d love to make box joins to assemble this, but I’m still not really set up to do that yet. So glue and nails (with some pilot holes to prevent it splitting) would have to do.

Very simple tray glued and nailed together. Love those little clamp
Handy little trick is to fill cracks and voids with glue, then rub in fine sanding dust. Perfect colour matching putty basically

Everything got a once over with my orbital sander, some hand sanding and a couple of coats of linseed oil to finish.
So second time around this all came out even nicer I think, and didn’t take quite as long. If I ever was going to make a whole bunch more, it might be fun to make some wooden templates and use a router with a trimming bit to neaten things up, as I still spent more time that I liked sanding and shaping with my dremel to get all the pieces to fit.

Look out for this one in the mail big sis!



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