Fun with the bandsaw

Browsing in the store the other day, Debra showed me a set of bamboo toast tongs that she liked. I suppose I knew such things existed, but I never considered using them. I do, however, like a challenge.

So yesterday I pulled out the bandsaw (now on wheels, so it’s easy to move around) and experimented with a piece of scrap lumber. Sure enough, if I cut it right the wood would flex and not break.

I ended up making two sets of tongs. The set on top is made from mesquite and is nine inches long. The other set is mahogany, a little over eight inches long. The thing at the bottom of the picture is a simple spatula made from mesquite.

I’m beginning to believe that it’s impossible to cut a straight line with a bandsaw. At least, I haven’t figured out how, yet. Maybe I just need more practice.

The tongs are easy to make. I’ve made a simple pattern for a set that’s nine inches long. The hole in the center is 3/4″ in diameter, and the arms are 3/16″ wide. I made these from wood that’s 3/4″ thick.

Tape or glue the pattern onto a piece of wood. Then, clamp a piece of wood to the back side and drill the 3/4″ hole at the top. The second piece of wood is clamped there to keep the piece from splintering when you drill through it.

After you’ve drilled the hole, cut the outside pattern first. Then cut the inside. If you cut the inside first, the wood tends to flex a bit when you’re running it through the bandsaw to cut the outside.

If you want to create more than one set of tongs, you can save some wood by laying them out interleaved. I’ve created layouts for two sets and three sets. If you want to do more, just continue the pattern.

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