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  1. #1

    Default Newbie Advice for hardwood box making / resawing / dimensioning issues

    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post. I am fairly new to woodworking (outside of high school some 20+ years ago) but I definitely have the bug again.

    I have started by practicing dovetails, and making rudimentary boxes, first with pine and then with some Tas Oak from bunnings. I'm happy with my progress, and my next project is a bit more ambitious.

    It is a present for a friend of mine, who originates from South Africa and now lives here is Australia. So my idea is to make a box using woods from these 2 continents to make the box.

    I have myself some spotted gum, and some sapele, milled, but both oversized and requiring resawing/dimensioning.

    And here is where I have come unstuck... Ive made some initial inroads into resawing the spotted gum on the table saw, however after careful setup of the cut, and a couple of cautious attempts - I realise that it is too dense for my table saw, and the nature of the timber means it is pinching too much. (Im using a splitter however I feel it is still too dangerous to proceed, and it is stalling my saw).

    So - I was wondering if I could get some help around how to get myself to a point where I have dimensioned and square lumber to use. Specifically:

    - Should I give up on spotted gum and choose another australian wood?
    - Or - any tips on how I could resaw the Spotty? Is there somewhere I can pay someone to help me mill my timber?

    I guess - I am in newbie land and a bit lost. So any and all advice would be graciously accepted )

    Thanks guys n gals

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Leopold, Victoria


    Firstly, welcome to the forum.
    A few initial questions. What sort of table saw do you have and what sort of blade are you using, ie does it have a lot of teeth or only a few? If you are trying to rip the timber down the length you need a blade with a low tooth count and nice and sharp.
    Do you have other machinery or do you intend to do most of your work with handtools?
    You ask if there is someone who might be able to mill your timber for you but unfortunately we don't know where you are.
    Answers to these question will help with ideas that will assist you and hopefully let you achieve what you are trying to.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Adelaide - outer south


    Welcome to the forum Derek, that's an interesting project and you should get some good responses.

    In the meantime, if you edit your profile to show your location (town and state) then you may well receive an offer of assistance from someone nearby who has a suitable bandsaw.

    Good luck with it.
    Cheers, Bob the labrat

    Measure once and.... the phone rings!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Coffs Harbour


    Hi Derek, welcome to this forum. Not sure what size timbers you're trying to mill down on your table saw and what sort of table saw it is. I personally dont have a lot of machinery, but the table saw I use is a De Walt. I have a few blades for it (all 10 inch blades), and for ripping hard bulky timber (as long as its reasonably square) I always use a 25 tooth blade all purpose ripping blade. This cuts through pretty solid sort of timber. Then for more finer cutting I change back to either a 80 tooth blade or a 60 tooth blades. If your timber is stalling your saw my guess is that your saw is also blunt.

    I'm a bit lucky also as there is an excellent Saw Doctor up at Woolgoolga who does amazing sharpening on your blade/s.

    Good luck with your project,


  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013



    Welcome to the forum. That must be some sizable timber to stop a table saw, or just one of a list of issues. blunt blade, ripping with a crosscut, etc

    Please let us know where you are in this vast country or ours and someone should be able to advise you on where to go to potentially get you out of your bind.

    Am looking forward to the cross/country mix as it were.


  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014


    Hi Derek,

    Personally I’d avoid spotted gum in this situation as it is so hard - and tough on the tools. However, if you really want to use this timber I suggest finding a local Men’s Shed to help you with the resawing. Or look for a local cabinetmaker who may be willing to do the job for a small fee.

    As a suggestion, you might consider amending your forum profile to show your location - members will often offer help if they know you are local.

    Enjoy the box making and please show us the end result in our box making forum. Everyone is very supportive and we all learn lots from each other.


  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Coffs Harbour


    Funny thing, I was just looking through my stockpile of timber for a couple of largish ring boxes I want to knock up. And come across 2 good size lengths of Spotted Gum. They certainly do look hard, see how they prep up in the next day or two.


  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Westleigh, Sydney


    As said, spotty can be quite hard, but it also can look very nice. It can also give gluing problems. It's worthwhile wiping liberally with acetone immediately before gluing.

    As others have said, if you don't have the machinery yourself, try a local Mens Shed or woodworking club. I'd use a bandsaw to resaw it, and a jointer to dress it.

    When you say you've been practicing dovetails, are you hand cutting them? If so, good on you. Hand cut dovetails always look better than those done using a jig, and if you do them that way from the start, they won't be much slower..
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