I want to make about 200 bracelets using wooden "beads" which I will cut from 9mm x 9mm x 2400mm square stock. I have 15 of these totalling 36 meters in length. Once I have profiled the stock, how can I cut it easiest? I cannot use a bandsaw or circular saw, the only power saw I have available is a scroll saw, I have access to hand saws, however. I need to make 5000 3mm slices, preferably within a few hours. I am unsure on the wood, however its very cheap so I assume pine, as the stock is cut from a larger board. What would be the best method?

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    Are you sure you want to do this? I'm seeing prices in the range of 2 cents each, which is about $100 for 5k. (In that kind of quantity, probably less.) I don't know what you're pricing your time at, but ripping and profiling 15 sticks, cutting, then drilling (and possibly applying finish) that many units would certainly take me a while. Aug 14, 2016 at 3:40
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    I agree, when you count the value of your time as well as cost of materials, it is probably cheaper to buy wooden beads than to cut)drill your own, unless you need something exotic.
    – keshlam
    Aug 14, 2016 at 5:13
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    Well, given your budget... see if you can find an old joiner with something like (or exactly like) a Lion Miter Trimmer. (Maybe talk to the hire places around and if they have one, tug on their heartstrings with what good charity work you're doing.) I think you'd get good results with such tiny stock. Aug 14, 2016 at 14:10
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    In addition to the "Ugh, don't do that answers" already given: Consider the possibility that your numbers may be a bit optimistic. 5,000 / 200 = 25. At 3mm this is 75mm circumference. Assume you put some kind of small bead in between as spacer which doubles that, so we have 150mm. My wrist has a circumference of 210mm, and in order to fit somewhat comfortably, a bracelet with a thickness of about 9mm would at least have to be around 250-260mm. Besides, 36 meters divided by 5000 is only 0,72mm per piece, assuming an ideal, zero-width saw. You need at least 4x as much wood for 3mm slices.
    – Damon
    Aug 15, 2016 at 11:19
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    "Diagonal" adds another little nuisance, it will mean you have to drill a hole into an edge, and very precisely (it must come out at the edge on the opposite side, or it will look like crap). That's nasty stuff even with a good drill press and a jig. Be sure to make a jig, doing this "free hands" is totally impossible. I'm not even sure what kind of drill bit I'd use for that... there's no real centering on an edge.
    – Damon
    Aug 16, 2016 at 7:31

2 Answers 2


I need to make 5000 3mm slices, preferably within a few hours.

Best of luck with that! If we assume "a few hours" is three hours that's one cut every 21 seconds with no breaks or pauses. If you decide to go with hand-cutting these ganging the strips up as recommended in rob's Answer is the only way you're likely to be able to do this in the timeframe you've set yourself.

Although I realise you might have no choice in the matter, personally, this is the type of thing I would strongly resist doing to a very tight schedule but instead approached in a piecemeal manner, plodding along at a comfortable pace over a couple of days until you're done. It's both stressful and mind-numbingly boring to power through it in the minimum time possible.

Sawn v. milled
Not sure if you'd thought about the quality of the sawn surface. You mention you're profiling the stock, since you can't or won't want to sand the sawn surfaces you need to be able to use them straight from the saw and not every saw is capable of achieving a cut that smooth. So you might need to buy a saw, or a blade for the scroll saw, specifically for this job.

More work
Sorry, but your work isn't done once you've finished sawing. You don't specify the wood you're using but regardless of the species you're going to get some splintering on the exit face no matter how fine the saw used, so to be realistic you need to factor in not a little extra time for clean-up sanding, unless you can rig up some kind of tumbler to clean up the blocks in large batches or all at once.

Note that tumbling will slightly round all corners and edges.

  • I didnt expect this to be easy, but sanding is a good point I totally forgot, thank you! I'll see if the sand blaster at my school is gentle enough, else I'll just sit there with a bucket and a few sheets of 220 grit I guess
    – Deep
    Aug 14, 2016 at 7:58

The important thing is to set up a jig or fixture so you can quickly and easily make repeat cuts. You could rig up a fence/guide and sled for your scroll saw and use a very fine blade, but for such small cuts I would make a miter box with a stop block set for the proper length, then gang up a few at a time and cut with a 22 or so TPI hand saw.

Because you're working with very small pieces, you could use a small miter box like the ones used in model making.

  • Could a miter box-like set up work with a dremel? Would a metal hacksaw be a good saw to use?
    – Deep
    Aug 14, 2016 at 6:26
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    You could try using a Dremel but you'll need a different setup because the guides in a typical miter box won't help with a rotary cutoff wheel, the walls of the miter box will get in the way of the Dremel's body (unless you use a flexi-shaft), and the cutoff wheel will chew up the guide slots anyway. You'll probably want to set up something more along the lines of a sled that passes the workpieces under or over your running Dremel wheel. Also note that the larger cutoff wheels with the grid pattern on each side do not work very well for wood.
    – rob
    Aug 14, 2016 at 17:00
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    A hacksaw could work, but keep in mind that the finer the teeth, the longer it will take to make each cut. You need to find a balance between a clean cut and a fast cut. If you use a hacksaw, I'd go with a very shallow miter box and a mini hacksaw along these lines: homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/400/76/…
    – rob
    Aug 14, 2016 at 17:08

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