Over time, some jigs need modifications and adjustments to give them more flexibility and to work better. Such is the case with my mini log mill for my bandsaw. I have made 3 of these mini-mills in the past few years and this one was made for another bandsaw, but it still works on the one I upgraded to, but I find the base of this one is a bit short because sometimes the logs I am getting recently, are a bit longer.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/QEDeG4WpJTA
I also have a few other related things to do, like cut another plastic miter slot blank for the new base, then I also need to trim the slide on my shop-made ...
.. roller stand which will allow me to try out the new angle grinder blade I got as well.
Upgrading the log cutting mill base is pretty easy but first of all, it requires cutting a new Mitre Slot Blank because the new base is 32 inches long compared with the original at 14 inches.
Plastic Mitre Slot Blanks
These are made from something called UHMW Polyethylene Plastic. It is the same white plastic many cutting boards of made from and some people even make miter slot blanks from new or old cutting board plastic. I use a quantity of miter slot blanks and cut them as I need them on my table saw. If you don't use them very often you can purchase ready-made miter slot blanks from many sources including Amazon US HERE
You can also cut your own on your own table saw with a decent quality table saw blade of 50 or 60 teeth, like a Freud Combination blade D1050, available through Amazon, of readily available through a local tool supply store. You can purchase raw plastic material from any plastics dealer or supplier, in a 3/4 inch thick slab, to whatever length you want, or whatever offcuts they may have. Note: even the offcuts plastic material will not be cheap to purchase, it is sold by volume, so if you don't need many miter blanks, you may be better off buying pre-cut ones as needed, you can check this out in the links below.
I gave up making wooden miter blanks many years ago because unless you like them to be sloppy in your miter slots, very often the wood of a miter blank will expand and either not fit in miter slot, or sometimes one end swells while the other doesn't and you end up trying to push a jig through your table saw and the miter blank prevents sliding all the way through because one end gets jammed in the miter slot making for a potentially dangerous situation. I never use wood for miter blank material any longer.
Attaching the miter blank plastic to the base ...
This sounds easy, but one of the shortcomings of the plastic miter blanks is that they can and do "flex" so you need to make sure they are attached as straight as possible to allow them to flow smoothly through the miter slot. To accomplish this, I use a straight long piece of wood on either side of the blank when attaching it to make sure it is attached as straight as possible.
Next is to re-insert the bolts that attach the base to the log holder
If you have "hanger bolts" you could use these, just make sure they are not penetrating the base of the log holder and jamming into the base of the jig. I will be re-using the bolts for this by drilling first with my Forstner bit, deep enough to sink the head of the bolt, then make a through-hole for the bolt to go through.
Attaching the bold is easily done using CA Glue and accelerator. I add glue to the base, then spritz the bolt head underside and insert this, then fill any gaps on top of the bolt head, spritz again and those bolts are fastened in there tightly. So far, I have never had one break lose.
On to the Roller Stand
I have used this roller stand a LOT in the past, but not so much these days. I really liked it because when I made it, I ensured that it was plenty high to accommodate anything in my shop and it still does. The only problem I have with it is when I made it the slot I cut for the tightening hanger bolt as ... hmmm, well, not as straight as it could be.
The result is that in the higher positions you really have to pull to get the roller up and push hard to get it back down. It should move up and down smoothly. I can fix that now with a new blade I got called the GRAFF "Termit" for my angle grinder. I will work perfect for shaving the roller stand slot, it cuts wood almost like a circular saw and does a decent job of carving ... but it is dusty for that role, so outside work for carving is best.
GRAFF Blades available through Amazon USA -- 4.5 inch diamer or 5 inch diameter
Putting it all together.
Well the Log Mill is fixed, I have a new miter blank installed, and now another spare miter blank with the one I took off, the miter stand works great now and all I need to do is check things out on the bandsaw ... and patiently wait for my new bandsaw blade to arrive so I can finally cut these logs into what will hopefully be some nice spalted make boards.
Copyright Colin Knecht