Cutting lots of arches: Long but essentially foolproof technique

Hello All:
I'm a big fan of Harvey Ellis design furniture so all my work has at least a couple of arched cuts. My current project has 12. After botching several pieces of nice oak I have arrived at what I think is essentially a foolproof technique for cutting uniform arches. The set up seems a bit time consuming but I am confident that it is faster from start to finish and with MUCH better results than other methods I have tried.
Step 1: Lay out the arch on a piece of inexpensive hardwood that will be your template. Of course this involves some geometry but I'll leave that out of this post. Step 2: Use a 1 x 2 or 1 x 1 to make a bow. Run a wire from one end to the other and devise a way to tighten the string to get exactly the bow or curve you want. That is, tighten it to make it match the curve you laid out on your template. Step 3: Rough cut your template on the bandsaw. The rule I use is "don't remove the pencil line" and I find that this give me the most consistent results. Step 4: Align your bow with the pencil line curve and screw it in place at 3 points minimum. Depending on the length, more may be better. Step 5: Use a flush trim bit on your router table to clean up the bandsaw cut to match the bow. Remove the bow and you have a perfect template. Step 6: Use the template to scribe the curve on each work piece. Step 7: Rough cut each work piece on the bandsaw as in step 3. Step 8: Mount the template on a work piece with double sided tape or screw it in place. DO NOT scrimp on tape!!! Don't ask me how I know this :-( Step 9: Clean up the cut on router table as in step 5.
This technique was my own idea but it may be well known and old news to some of you. If you already knew about it please don't make fun of those of us who are still in the process of discovery.
Cheers,
Jim
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Jim, are you a attorney? :)
and thanks for sharing your process.
dave
Jim Martin wrote: snip
If you already knew about it please don't make fun of those of us

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oops! I changed "litigator" to attorney just before I hit send. "a attorney" is the grammatically incorrect result!
Bay Area Dave wrote:

snip
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On 17 Nov 2003, Bay Area Dave spake unto rec.woodworking:

Gesundheit.
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Comesoutloose
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Nope. My profession is much more obscure than that; I'm a biomechanist.
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Whatz a "biomechanist"?
On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 09:31:28 -0700, "Jim Martin"

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I am a professor and I study neuromucular fucntion. My specific interest is in the mechanics of repetitive muscle contraction. Beats workin for a livin ;-)
Cheers,
Jim
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Ahhh! Now I know the answer to "Is 'neuromuscular' in the spell check dictionary?" :)
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On 17 Nov 2003, Jim Martin spake unto rec.woodworking:

    It's probably unnecessary to add this, but this will only work if the batten you are bending is of uniform grain and density. Before continuing with your other steps, flip your tensioned batten over and make sure that the arch is symmetrical. Otherwise you could end up with twelve identical uneven arches.
Scott
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Good point and one that I had not considered. I just went out the garage and checked. Seems that the poplar I used was uniform enough to do be symmetrical. Whew....
Thanks,
Jim
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Jim Martin wrote:

Have you seen Tom Plamann's curve & arch work? I drop by his site almost every day for inspiration and motivation. <g>
http://plamann.com/sys-tmpl/door /

If the arches are based on a circle you could cut the template from 1/4" hardboard using a router and circle jig.
-- Mark
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Jim what you have discovered is called "Pattern Cutting" There are numerous ways to make the pattern. When doing any kind of freeform curve ie: not a radius, you make only half the arch then use the same method to make the full arch. Actually you ar making a pattern to make a pattern. in some complex situation i have had to make 5 or 6 patterne to make the final pattern. If your arch is a segment of a radius then swing your router like a compass to make the pattern.
Pattern cutting is used when you have many peices to make of the same size. Heavy pattern cutting can be done on a shaper, but i shouldn't mention that here.
Gooid Luck, George

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I use ply for templates, make the 5/8 variety for symmetry. Do yourself a favor and make the template long enough to rest on your pattern bearing before the bit engages. Else, starting pin. They run fast away....
NB, save the patterns. Just your luck someone'll take a fancy to the piece the week after you pitch 'em. DAMHIKT

numerous
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