I'm working on one of my first large projects using raised panels. I
am using a modification of a cove cut on my tablesaw to make the
raised panels. I've tested this method on one panel, and it seems to
give fair results and it appears to be safe ... but I'd appreciate
Here's the deal: I've got 3/4" thick cherry panels, that I'm raising
to fit into a mortise/tenon frame (dado width about 3/8"). I clamped
a flat sacrificial hardwood fence at about a 45degree angle to my
blade, and running right over the top of the blade. The leading edge
of the fence is forward of the high point on the blade. Then I raise
the blade in small increments and pass my board across the sacrificial
fence. Raising up the blade in steps, I get a pretty good concave
cove, albeit with a little loose fiber on the end grain that scrapes
off pretty well. I've only tried this on one panel so far, but it
seemed to go okay.
My question is, does anyone else use a similar method? And are there
any severe safety gotchas that I may be missing? (I did do a google
search, but just got a bunch of hits related to vertical panel jigs on
p.s. I am doing it this way because I don't own a good router/panel
You go Nate! Yes it is acceptable. It can be dangerous but what isn't. I
have had several occasions for very large cove where I used the same method.
It is SOP, go slow and get ready to sand alot. If you really get into this
kind of cutting call Ballew Saw and Tool in Springfield, MO and you can get
a trim makers set that includes a 10" (I think) TS Blade about 1/2" wide
with rounded teeth that really would do a sweet job. I've been drooling
over that for a while now. I think it costs about $250, which would pay to
have at custom milling prices or even big molding prices, eventually.
Another note - be careful not to cross feed to fast with to much depth of
cut or you could flex the blade and a tooth caught on an insert is not a
good thing. I usually put on my dado insert.
Good luck with your project.
Great, thanks to you and the other responders. I had been using a
homemade zero clearance insert -- I'll pull that out straight away and
put in my dado insert. It gives reasonably smooth cuts on all but end
grain. I do have a good saw blade (Forrest), but of course it is
nothing like the Ballew blade.
I based the idea off of articles where they cut full coves on the
table saw. I thought that was a bit scary because the board rides
over the full blade, and it seems like it would be very easy to get it
to kick back.
However, in this case only the leading quarter third of the blade is
exposed, and it is only about 0.4" above the table at most.
It does make me wish for a better router and a panel cutting bit. Hmm
I've read several descriptions of the approach including altering the
angle of fence to blade for different curves. Authros asserted
performing it many times. Appears tried & true. I've made a tall
fence that I clamp to table then angle blade slightly and make sloped
cuts for raised panels without curves. Fence has several coats of PSL
to improve sliding of stock.
Ok, panels are made and fingers are all still attached :-)
Seriously, no mishaps at all and the operation seemed to be safe with
little load on the blade, as long as the depth of cut was kept shallow
on every pass.
A curved card scraper (is it called a gooseneck?) took care of the
rough surface that would have otherwise been a real bear to sand out.
On 5 Sep 2003 21:15:37 -0700, n email@example.com (Nate Perkins) wrote:
About a year ago, googling the NG, I found strong recommendations for a
classic book, Complete Book of Power Tools by De Christoforo. I got one
used via Amazon's site. Hardbound, printed in '72. In the book, the
technique you describe is shown -- though for what appears to be moulding,
not a panel. So, it shows the cove being cut so that there is wood on both
sides of the blade and the person is working from the clamped-fence side
pulling the stock to the fence. Also, in the photos that show blades being
used on the TS, the examples show maybe 15 and 30 degree angles, at most;
there is a photo showing what seems to be a 45 degree when using a molding
head cutter. Whether any of these details of the examples are
critical/safer -- such as the stock having two "legs" to ride on when
cutting -- don't know. Anyway, FWIW, one recognized expert thinks this is
I just reread the text and here is a suggestion about the angle of the
fence. The point is to determine the correct fence angle. You build a
frame w/ two long pieces on the flat and then two cross pieces near the
ends. Let's say 20"x8" inside dimensions. Screw the top pieces to the
bottom ones so that you form a rectangle. Just be sure that the distance
between the long sides is at least as wide as your cove -- assuming a 180
degree cove versus a 90 degree in the panel. Then, you can flex the frame
from a reg rectangle into a parallelagram so that the distance between the
long sides of the frame is the desired width of the "full" cove. Then
raise the blade to the final cove height you want. Finally, turn the
entire frame at an angle until the inisde edges of the frame's long sides
touch the front and back edges of the blade. Voila. You have your fence
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