Author Topic: Cutting The reclaimed beam  (Read 2108 times)

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Offline CopperKris

  • Posts: 17
Cutting The reclaimed beam
« on: April 20, 2018, 09:23 AM »
So, I'm GCing the refinishing of a master BR for a couple and the centerpiece of the room is their new gas fireplace, and the floor to (vaulted) ceiling faux chimney.  The chimney is real field stone veneer and will have a reclaimed American Chestnut beam as the mantle.  My inquiry is about the beam. 

The beam is 6.5" x 10.5" x 14'.   Only one of the 6.5" edges is laden with old rusty hand pounded nails made in 1873.  And the owners wants that nail laden surface as the face of the mantle, the rest of the details are up to me.  My idea is to split the beam down the middle, on the 10.5" dimension,  so I can mill the half of the beam with no nails into dimensional lumber.  With the nail laden half that will be used for the mantle, I want to miter it so I can return the 140 year old surface to the chimney, rather than having fresh cut ends on one or both sides of the mantle...I was then planning on planing and finishing the top and bottom of the mantle, so there is a contrast between the 140 year old surface, and a newly smooth, finished, and polyed surface...also highlighting the miter...

My quandary is how to make that miter. 

I currently do not have a band saw, but I am planning on buying the very cheapest one I can get my hands on that can handle that 6.5" thickness, to split the beam between the piece for the mantle. and the the stock for dimensional lumber.  Currently my plan is to use a miter gauge on the deck of the band saw, to make the miter through the nail laden wood.  But that seems clumsy to me. I have almost no experience with a band saw, so I am not aware of the nuances of using one, nor if they will be capable of cutting nail laden material. I'm sure this would be easier were I not buying the cheapest band saw I can get my hands on, but I have no permanent place for it in my trailer, nor my small shop, that is already too cluttered.  So, I'm planning on just selling the band saw after for whatever it takes to make it go immediately...hence, the cheapest one that can handle it. 

Has anyone ever tried to make miters using a band saw?
What should I watch out for?
Aside from having the right blade, any nuances of cutting nail laden material with a band saw? 

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Offline Master Carpenter

  • Posts: 104
Re: Cutting The reclaimed beam
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2018, 09:59 AM »
First thoughts, I wouldn't miter the ends. A timber without end grain looks fake.

If your set on mitering, simply solution is cutting as deep as you an with a skill saw with a demo blade and finish the cuts with a handsaw.

Or sub the cutting out to a shop that has the equipment. If you add up all your time buying a bandsaw and reselling it, the job probably isn't worth your time.
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Offline CopperKris

  • Posts: 17
Re: Cutting The reclaimed beam
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2018, 11:58 AM »
First thoughts, I wouldn't miter the ends. A timber without end grain looks fake.

That was why I wanted to plane and finish the top surface, to demonstrate mechanically what was done...But, yeah, I am concerned about that as well...the mechanical demonstration might not land on the everyday person.  Also the end grain is another unique surface of this beautiful timber that can be finished and demonstrated. 

I think I'm still going to buy the cheap band saw (only $250) because whatever material I don't use on their project, they said I could keep...So I want to mill down the nail free half of the beam for some furniture.  But I think you convinced me...I'll just embrace the end grain. 

Offline lwoirhaye

  • Posts: 252
Re: Cutting The reclaimed beam
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2018, 12:30 PM »
While the resawing and miter cuts could be done on a band saw, the amount of time you'll spend setting up the saw for the first time and getting the outfeed supports secured will add up.   The miters will still require additional work  if you want them to be tight.

Another approach would be to use a beam saw  to cut kerfs in either edge of the beam and split the rest using a reciprocating saw with a long blade on it.   A table saw may work too.   If you can get your hands on a steel rip blade without carbide teeth I think that would be a good choice considering the nails.

In terms of mitering, I might approach that by cutting to within 1/2" of the final miter and try to push out the nails that are going to interfere with the final cut.    Once the ends are mitered to final dimensions  some hand work may help get tighter joints.  Reinsert the nails after.  While you can just have at it and try cutting through the nails, they will interfere with an sanding or planing after the cut is made.

Offline CopperKris

  • Posts: 17
Re: Cutting The reclaimed beam
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2018, 08:47 PM »

I bought a Jet 14" band saw.  I decided that this is the proper way to resaw wood, I want to be resawing wood in the future, and if I'm going to be resawing wood, I'm bot going to be doing it with the "cheapest saw I can get my hands on".

So, I realize this is a starter saw, but at least it's a decent brand, and I can expand it to a 12" resaw if I want.

I decide not to do the miters.  I'm going to clean up the cross cuts and polish them.

So I ended up solving the problem I originally had, and decideing to do it in a way that I could have without buying anything...yet I still spent $700 on a band saw.

Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 348
Re: Cutting The reclaimed beam
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2018, 10:54 PM »
I suggest that you buy the riser block now, before you collect a few different blades. Put it on now and convert the saw forever. That way you only have to throw away (or give away) one blade.