Triangle Table


My daughter had asked me to build a small triangle table (16 in on a side). It is equilateral 60, 60, 60. The problem that I have is that the angles that I used, when cutting on my RAS are slightly off as one can imagine. I now have three triangles that are 30,30,120 or so that don't exactly meet in the middle. There is about a saw blade gap when I try and put the three together to make the larger triangle. I was making the table to use a bit of extra boards from a previous project.
My request is for suggestions on how to eliminate the gap and get the three pieces to fit together tightly. I knew that this was a possible problem when I started. One of the problems that I face is avoiding any movement of the wood when I cut the angle using my RAS.
Hoping to learn more.
Al Holstein
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Al Holstein wrote:

You might try filling in the gaps with strips of a contrasting color wood. Also invest in a triangle or some such accurate angle device and set your RAS more exactly. Buena suerte.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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Aren't you answering your own question? Assuming your saw will cut accurately, you need a hold-down clamp or two. Otherwise another cut will give similar results.
These are not large triangles. Use a sliding jig to hold them, and clamping is also a lesser problem if you use a table saw. The clamps can be an integral part of the jig.
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To helps avoid movement along the miter fence, besides the already mentioned hold down clamp. Glue some fine grit sandpaper (200-400) to the whole front of the fence. The work piece won't slide anymore, even when hand held.
JeffB
Al Holstein wrote:

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You power tools got you close, now fine tune it by hand. This is a perfect situation for a block plane. And an excuse to buy one if you don't already have one. Just fit your pieces together and mark one edge of 1 piece where you need to trim it off. Trim a little, test the fit, trim some more(maybe a different piece), test, ... You'll have it fitting perfectly in short order.
Art
My daughter had asked me to build a small triangle table (16 in on a side). It is equilateral 60, 60, 60. The problem that I have is that the angles that I used, when cutting on my RAS are slightly off as one can imagine. I now have three triangles that are 30,30,120 or so that don't exactly meet in the middle. There is about a saw blade gap when I try and put the three together to make the larger triangle. I was making the table to use a bit of extra boards from a previous project.
My request is for suggestions on how to eliminate the gap and get the three pieces to fit together tightly. I knew that this was a possible problem when I started. One of the problems that I face is avoiding any movement of the wood when I cut the angle using my RAS.
Hoping to learn more.
Al Holstein
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If you've got a table saw, you could do it on that instead. Get a piece of plywood and glue or screw a couple of straight boards to it at a 60 degree angle (if you need to lay it out and don't have an equilateral triangle handy, just draw a line, set a compass to the length of said line, and make an arc from each end. Where the two arcs meet is the peak of your triangle.) Then glue or screw another piece of scrap parallel to the centerline of the triangle on the bottom of the ply to ride in your miter slot. Make the first cut on one side of the jig, and the mating piece on the other side. Even if the jig isn't perfectly straight, you'll still have a perfect 60 degree corner, because the imperfections will cancel one another out.
Same principle as a square miter jig, just with a different angle.
Hope this helps!
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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If you have a table saw, you're better off to use it instead of the radial arm saw: the precision is inherently greater. Cutting a dead-on accurate 60 degree angle (or any other angle) is a piece of cake with a precision miter gauge on a table saw. Check out www.incra.com for one line of such gauges. I like the 3000. Google-search this group for other opinions.
If you're stuck with using a radial arm saw, there are a few things you can do to improve the cut, though. First, go to an art or drafting supply store and get a plastic 30-60-90 triangle. These are cheap, and surprisingly accurate. (While you're there, pick up a 45-45-90 also. You'll find it useful later.) Use this, instead of the angle gauge on the saw, to set your cut angle.
Second, test your cuts on pieces of scrap, and adjust the saw setting as needed.
Third, use that plastic triangle and a good sharp block plane to make final adjustments.

A change in design would make the tables easier to build. It's pretty awkward to cut a 30-degree angle (60-degree miter) on a board on either a TS or a RAS. 60-degree angles (30-degree miters) are much easier. Consider making the tables out of *four* pieces: a small central equilateral triangle surrounded by three 60-120-120-60 trapezoids, like I did with these tables I made a few years ago:
http://www.milmac.com/Furniture/SycamoreEndTables.JPG
Clamping was a bit tricky... Of course, it will be with your original design, too. I used purpose-built jigs. I'll dig them out and post photos later today or sometime this weekend.

That's a big problem. You can't possibly make accurate cuts if the wood is moving around. You need to clamp it to the table.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Thanks to you all of the good suggestions. I had used a plastic triangle to set the saw up, and had made a sample run. It had the same problem that I thought I could overcome. I think that the wood creep when I was cutting it was the problem. The suggestion of using sandpaper on the fence was I that I hadn't thought of. I had thought about clamping and should have done so. It isn't too late to do a recut of all the angles anyway.
I was thinking that if I could clamp two pieces together on a sheet of particle board I could make a new cut down the middle of the joint and thus remove a bit from each side that was close together and even the spacing out. The gap that I am facing is about the width of a saw cut. Then do it on a second side and it would then fit.
Thanks for the picture of the end tables.
Regards,
Al Holstein
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Nice tables. What kind of wood?
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Doug,
That was my problem. I got the pieces cut close enough using a 60 V jig like was suggested. I didn't go ahead and make a good jig to use to put it together. I had thought about it but thought that I could get by without it. Lesson learned. Will likely start over.
Regards,
Al Holstein
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