Apologies as I already posted this in Baritone, before realising it probably belonged in here.
My question is, I have a pile of 2x4 pieces from a recent project, I got a jigsaw, a tablesaw and a flat sander (not orbital). I want to join a bunch of 2x4 pieces together to make a body blank, I can get Titebond II by the gallon at the local hardware store. How do I prep the pieces? Just run them through the table saw for flat edges and clamp 'em all together? Do I have to use a special blade, or sand them after cutting or is it just enough to run them through once per side?
I have the neck already, but need a body for it.
Personally, I just check the surfaces I want to glue up with a straight edge to make sure they're nice and flat and the edges are nice and square, then glue 'em up. If they're not flat, or if the corners are rounded a bit, a trip through the tablesaw will take care of them. I use a 40 tooth ATB blade for hardwoods and a 40 tooth Triple Chip blade for cabinet grade plywoods. You do have to feed the stock through the saw a bit slower with those blades than you would with a more aggressive 24 tooth ripping blade, but a 40 tooth blade will give you a much cleaner cut. Just don't sand them after cutting them. That's where a lot of people get into trouble - they inadvertently round over edges or sand a cup into the edge they want to glue up. It doesn't have to be clean of saw marks and ready to apply a finish. It just needs to be straight and flat. I've laminated many a tabletop using stock I've taken right off the tablesaw. I have a jointer, but rarely need to use it for this purpose.
Here's a link to a blade selection page over at Woodcraft. There are a couple of pics that show the difference between the cuts different blades will give you.
Something like this then?
The woodcraft article says ATB blades are marked General Purpose and this one doesn't seem to have any ripping teeth. I don't know what kind of lumber, just general construction lumber, whatever you get when you buy a 2x4 (Cypress maybe?) I've got a stack of offcuts that are between 1' - 2' long. I figure 3 or 4 glued together with the grains alternating, might make a good solid body. It's my first attempt to make a body, generally I frankenstein other parts together, but I want to test the jointing and stuff before I delve any further.
I've seen some guys use 60 and even 80 tooth blades for ripping hardwoods, but I think that's overkill for something like this, unless you're doing some seriously detailed trim work. That's just my opinion - others may disagree. If it were me, I'd give that Irwin blade a shot and see how well I liked it. It might be just what you're after. It's worth trying if it's not an expensive blade. Compare the price to a 40 tooth ATB blade made by Freud. If there's a dramatic difference, I'd give the Irwin blade a shot before spending the extra bucks on the Freud blade. If the difference is just a buck or two, you might consider the Freud 40 tooth ATB. I prefer Freud blades, but that's just me. They tend to run quieter, cooler, and the edge on the teeth stay sharp a little longer. I'm not sure why that is, but it's been my experience - YMMV. They also hold up to resharpening very well, and that's a plus to me.
Well you can click the link it's a $10 sawblade. I just got the tablesaw, so I've no real experience of how expensive blades can get, and I haven't seen Freud blades anywhere round here, just things like Irwin, DeWalt, Milwaukee, and so on. They sell the Irwin's in the local DIY stores, and in the farm supply stores, so it's pretty dang common, at least round here.
They have a carbide GP blade for $20, I understand they warp less and stay true longer?
My plan is to practice running bits of lumber through the saw, and joining them, getting some clamps, and clamping them, and stuff, come up with a few blank planks to play with, but I'm not going into business or anything it's a pretty low usage deal.
For what you want to do, the Irwin blade should do nicely. Carbide blades aren't 100% carbide - just the tips of the teeth are. If you look at the close-ups of the pic of that Irwin blade, you'll see that the tips of the teeth are separate pieces welded onto the teeth - they're carbide. The rest of the blade is high speed steel. Carbide blades don't warp less or stay true any better or worse than other types of blades - that's more about blade thickness and quality of the steel than the tip of the blade.
Milwaukee makes some good stuff, and so does DeWalt. But as you said, you're not going into business, so you don't need a $45 - $60 blade to get going. I'd start with the less expensive blade and see if you get good results with it. If not, look at something a level up. I've seen 10" table saw blades costing several hundred dollars (my Freud 40 triple chip and ATB blades were about $40 apiece,) but that doesn't mean they're "the best." To me, the best blade is the one that works best for you - no matter the price.
I think you're going about this the right way - practice on scrap to get the method down, then go from there. You're going to find that technique is just as (if not even more) important than the blade. Get to know your saw, get into the manual and tune it (and the fence) up so that you're cutting straight and true, then practice on it.
If I were in your shoes, I'd go for the Irwin blade you linked and try it. If it doesn't give you the result you're looking for, it's still usable for other things - try a different blade. You'll quickly find that there are a lot of variables in play here, so there may not be a cut and dried answer. Sometimes trial and error is the only way to figure it out. One tip I'll pass along is to get a can of Johnson's Paste Wax and wax the saw table and the face of the fence with it. That'll keep them from rusting and give you a nice slick surface to run the stock on. Just wax it like you would a car - wax on, let it glaze over, then buff it off. It makes a huge difference.
I do think, however, that if you go with an ATB tooth pattern with 40 teeth or more, you'll be happy with the result - no matter who the manufacturer is.
RE: Getting some clamps. There is no such thing as having too many clamps. I don't care who you are, what you do, or how often you do it - you need more clamps. Ask anybody. My family doesn't even ask me what I want for Christmas or birthdays any more because they know what I'm going to say: CLAMPS!
Thanks for all the help. I will go out and get some bigger clamps, all I have right now are a half dozen 2" C-Clamps.
Got the wax, should I wax just the table and face of the fence, or should I do the blade as well?
I normally don't bother waxing the blade. If you want to, it won't hurt anything, but it's not necessary.