Professionals and Amateurs Together

Cutting Figured Wood


I recently cut some tiger maple on my table saw and got a lot of chipping. What is the best way to cut figured wood on a table, band or scroll saw? – Dave Frechette


Marty Milkovits replies: First and foremost your blade must be sharp and properly set. On the table saw, use a blade designed for plywood or melamine with a zero clearance table insert. I use the Forrest HI-AT veneer blade. On a band saw or scroll saw, try backing up both sides of the wood by gluing on heavy craft paper and then carefully scraping away the paper afterwards.

Al Breed replies: I’ve never had the actual sawn edge get chipped while cutting, so let’s assume that the bottom face where the saw exits is the problem. In that case I would make a new insert for the saw and then carefully wind the blade up into it to the height that you’ll be cutting at. Having the down side faced will also help. In this way the area that is not being actually cut by the blade is backed up by the insert and should be less likely to tear out. Figured woods don’t always behave the way you’d like, so expect to do more scraping, finish planing and sometimes even filing to get the surface you want.

Tags: Wood