Beam Saw Cut Quality

Assuming the saw is well set up and in tune, you rarely see chipout when cutting stacked panels on a beam saw. March 26, 2012

For those of you that have a lot of experience with a beam saw, does the quality of cut vary from the top to bottom of a sheet in a stack situation? I have no experience with a beam saw, only with V panel saw and slider. I know on the vertical saw when we stack cut, the bottoms of each sheet are not cut nearly as clean as the tops. Can I assume that the beam clamps the stack well enough to make the cuts clean on both sides? Or is there still an A and B side to the cut in practice? Also I assume the scoring blade can be aligned tighter on this type of machine than on our vertical saw which requires .1 to .2 mm on each side and leaves a visible score line, creating a wider glue line on the bander.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor M:
Stacked panels should come out perfect. Only the bottommost panel will possibly have chipping if the scoring blade is set wrong. I have seen when the main blade is dull and causes chipping on the top of the top sheet, but the stacked sheets are still perfect. This is assuming a good saw with a good press.

Also, I did not realize that vertical saws require so much wider tolerances... That's not good.

From contributor S:
Even with a beam saw, if the boards have hills and valleys or if the edges are very swollen, chipping can occur between the sheets. A damaged or improperly sharpened blade can also cause chipping between the sheets.

If the carriage, and therefore the blade, is not perfectly parallel to the cutting line, then it can cause chipping on the top sheet either behind or in front of the kerf depending on which direction the carriage is out of adjustment.

From the original questioner:

Thanks for the responses. So ignoring the effects of an improperly set up machine, bad blades, healing in cut scoring saw not set up correctly, which would be the same problems for any saw vertical, slider or anything, there should be no appreciable difference in cut quality from one side or the other. A stack of doors, for example, could be ripped on one side, flipped over and cross cut on the other with a perfect edge for banding in both directions. Is that correct?

From contributor M:
Not sure why you would want to flip over the doors after the first cut... But yes, if the saw is running correctly and your panels are okay, the interior faces will be okay.

From the original questioner:
Thanks - that is what I was looking for. I am working on a system of integrating a small crosscut beam saw in our cut area but the panels would be ripped first on a different saw that would cut the panels with a blade overhead and it would not be convenient to flip them over.

From contributor M:
What kind of saw cuts from the top? Is it a beam saw?

From the original questioner:
Actually just our vertical panel saw for now. I was thinking of integrating a small vertical beam saw. It is a Hendrick with a CNC pusher but only has a little over 5' cross cut. Rip the parts first, if need be, because I do most of the cutting in the main vertical position on our saw now, then move on down the line to cross cut saw.

From contributor L:
We've got a good beam saw and the stacked panels come out very clean. Having two saws that do not share the same table seems inherently inefficient? Since a beam saw very tightly clamps the work and at least on the major saws the carriage is very heavy and precisely guided, you will get the best cut possible. The really big saws are designed to cut massive books that will be further edge processed. There are lots of variables that you need to take care of to get the best out of the saw. Almost all are adjustable and once there, stay put. We've moved our saw without outside help, twice, and gone through all the setup processes - not that hard. There is an advantage to stack cutting when it comes to score lines - there aren't any, no matter how sloppy the operator.

From contributor S:
"Having two saws that do not share the same table seems inherently inefficient?"
Yes, this idea seems somewhat convoluted.

From contributor D:
Both saws would be in the same plane and share the same bottom roller fence height, so essentially they would have the same table, just vertical instead of horizontal.