Raising Panels On The Tablesaw

Tedswoodworking Plans

16.000 Woodworking Plans and Projects

Get Instant Access

The usual technique for raised panels on the tablesaw involves running the panel vertically across an angled blade, while supported by a high auxiliary fence. I prefer to use a jig that enables me to keep my hands well-away from the high, unguarded blade, while the workpiece itself is securely clamped and supported.

The jig is made of Va-in. plywood, and like the tenoning jig, it should ride smoothly but snugly over the tablesaw fence (see photo). It should be approximately 20 in. long and 12 in. high. Make sure both sides rest firmly on the saw table.

To cut the panels, tilt the blade 12° away from the fence and raise it 1 in. Position the fence so the blade just barelv cuts through the outside of the panel leaving a Vs-in. shoulder between the bevel and the field as shown in the drawing (the field of a panel is the front-raised face). Clamp the work piece securely to the jig with C clamps and feed it slowly through the saw. Cut the end grain first and then the side grain.

The angled blade will leave an angled shoulder. Clean it up with a rabbet or shoulder plane. The tablesaw blade will leave some marks on the bevel which need to be sanded or scraped clean. For panels that will be enclosed in a frame, you need to cut a '/i-in. deep, 3/«-in. wide rabbet on the back edges, otherwise the panel will not fit into the grooves in the rails and stiles. This rabbet will set the field of the panel a '/s in. proud of the frame. For panels where both sides will be seen, (as in door fronts) another treatment would be to bevel both sides of the panel. For drawer fronts, all you need to do is soften the front edges with a plane, file or sandpaper. —M.M.




Groove fits over tablesaw fence.

Clamp your panel to the panel-raising jig and push It slowly over the saw. Cut the two end-grain edges first, then the long-grain edges, and, presto, you've raised the panel.





1. Start with a l1/« In. x 3 in. x 30 In. board (extra width for safety).

3. Use a '/«-in. core box bit in tha router to form tha inside radius.

Rip here

5. Form the outside radius with a spokeshave and sander.



1. Start with a l1/« In. x 3 in. x 30 In. board (extra width for safety).

3. Use a '/«-in. core box bit in tha router to form tha inside radius.

Rip here

5. Form the outside radius with a spokeshave and sander.


You can also use the tenoning jig to cut twin tenons. H the board Is too wide for the toggle clamp, use C damps to hold K in place.

handles to length (6 in.) and form the end radii on the bandsaw.


You can also use the tenoning jig to cut twin tenons. H the board Is too wide for the toggle clamp, use C damps to hold K in place.

and the bottom rear rail can be slipped into place after the others, so you have three fewer pieces to contend with during the frenzy of the glue-up.

Making the Drawers

Once the case is glued, you can get dimensions for the drawers. I have given the dimensions of the drawers in the Bill of Materials, but, as with the panels, you will need to measure your drawer openings for precise dimensions. The drawers consist of a standard drawer box, each with a separate raised-panel false front attached (see Fig. 2). The drawers need to be 1 in. narrower than the front opening to allow for the l/i-in. drawer slides on each side (check the instructions that come with your drawer slides). For maximum strength, I dovetailed all four corners of each drawer.

Make the drawers out of '/¿-in. stock. I used a combination of poplar (for the sides) and Philippine mahogany (front and back) because these woods are cheaper than oak and readily available in my area. The contrasting colors also highlight the dovetails nicely. You could also use Vz-in. veneered plywood. If you do choose plywood, skip the dovetails; use rabbet joints reinforced with nails and cover the edges with veneer tape. Before assembly, plow a 'A-in. deep, '/4-in. wide groove XU in. from the bottom on the sides, front and back to hold the plywood bottom (see Fig. 2). Glue the drawers together, remembering to include the plywood bottoms.

Raise the false fronts the same way you raised the side panels, but round them over slightly on the front outside edges with a block plane or file. Refer to the Bill of Materials for drawer-front dimensions.

Make the drawer handles next (see Fig. 3). Then attach the handles to the false fronts from behind, using countersunk 1 '/«-in. #8 wood screws. I used a simple positioning jig to ensure consistent placement. The jig is a piece of plywood 5 in. high and 12'/« in. long with two holes drilled in one corner (see photo). Position it at the lower-right corner of the inside of the false front and drill pilot holes through the false front. Keep the holes in the jig small for greater accuracy. Enlarge the pilot holes in the drawer front to accept the counter-

6. Cut the individual handles to length (6 in.) and form the end radii on the bandsaw.


Cut this 3/«-in. wide, '/4-in. deep rabbet on the rear stiles for the back plywood panel.

Next, cut the front and rear rails. You'll need ten pieces. Refer to the Bill of Materials for dimensions. Remember that six of the rails have twin tenons, four have single tenons. Cut the twin tenons on a bandsaw or tablesavv. Note that if you cut these tenons with the tablesaw tenoning iig, your back-support strip will need to be close to 1 '/j-in. wide for the toggle clamp to work; however, a C clamp will work. With a 'A-in. dado blade this is a quick operation—you'll need to readjust the blade only once. Make the outside cuts on all six rails first, then flip the pieces to cut the opposite sides. Once the outside faces on all your rails are cut, move the fence for the inside cut (see photo). Cut these tenons a bit on the heavy side, and fit each one individually, paring them down with a file or chisel if necessary to fit the mortise. Then label each set of joints.

After all the pieces for the carcase are cut and fitted, you can glue up the carcase. Glue the side assemblies first. When gluing the two sides together with the rails, it's helpful to have assistance in aligning the rails into their mortises. The top front and rear rails

Table Saw Raised Panel Jig
This very basic jig will ensure that the handles are uniformly positioned on the drawer fronts.

sunk screws. Clamp the handle to the upper-left corner of the jig and drill. Remember, always keep the same side of the jig toward you when drilling.

Install the 20-in. long, full-extension drawer slides (available from Constantine's, 2050 Eastchester Road, Bronx. NY 10461) in the cabinet and on the drawer boxes according to the instructions. Attach the false fronts to the drawers using six 1 in. #10 wood screws and washers for each drawer. Locate these in two horizontal rows of three, the first row 2 in. from the outside bottom of the drawer, and the second 4'/j in. from the outside bottom of the drawer for a neat, finished appearance (sec Fig. 2). Do not glue the false fronts on the drawers. Position the false fronts on the boxes so that the fronts overlap the rails by 'A in. on top and bottom and Vs in. on the sides (see Fig. 2).

The Final Stretch

Next, cut and shape the top and bottom trim pieces that will attach to the top and bottom rails on the filing cabinet's front side (see Trim Detail, Fig. 1). The bottom trim has a V2-in. chamfer routed deep enough to leave an '/«-in. shoulder on the top and sides. This piece is glued to the front stile edges at the lower portion of the bottom front rail. Because the top trim piece is only '/i in. thick and 1 in. wide, I put a very narrow chamfer on the sides and bottom edge with a block plane. This piece is glued to the front stile edges at the top rail, flush with the top.

Glue up the top so that the grain direction runs from side to side, not front to back, with the end grain on the sides of the cabinet. The top should overhang the cabinet bv xh in. on the sides and the back and Va in. in front (measuring out from the top trim) as shown in the Front and Side Views in Fig. 1. Use the same edge treatment on the top as you did on the bottom trim piece—that is a '/¿-in. chamfer with an '/«-in. shoulder. Put a very slight chamfer on the underside edge.

To fasten the top, attach mounting strips on the inside of the sides, front and back (see Mounting Strip Detail, Fig. I). These strips arc screwed and glued to the inside top rails of the cabinet, flush with the top. Drill slotted holes in these strips to allow the screws










Vx3". 567."



V x 3* x 16 V/

Bottom Rails


Vx5V* 16V




V/x 10V x 15V



Vx 10* • 15V

Front Sack and Top:



V* 17/x 1BV


Ptywood Pane*


V» 18V > 567/


Top Tnm



Bottom Trim


V x 4* x 1 !>•


Side Strips



FrwitBacfc Strips







False Froms


V* 18'//x 127/



17/x 17/ x 6"


Dra*w Sides


V x 57/ x 2CT

Drawer FfontBacfcs


Vx 57/x 16V




V/x 16" * 19'//



Full Extenscn

Drawgr Sloes

4 pair


F4e Folder

Support Frames


legaJ size

that attach the top to move with the wood. The holes should be slotted lengthwise (with the grain) in the side strips, and crosswise (across the grain) in the front and rear strips (see September/October 1988 AW, Fastening Table Tops, for more on slotted holes and fastening solid wood tops). Attach the top with 1 '/4-in. #10 round head wood screws and flat washers. Finally, cut the plywood back, then attach it with glue and finishing nails.

I finished the cabinet with a couple coats of Mc-Closkey's Tung Oil Stain, followed by two coats of McCloskey's Tung Oil Finish (manufactured by Mc-Closkev Varnish Co., 7600 State Rd.. Philadelphia, PA 19136), and finally, two coats of wax. Whatever finish you choose, be sure to finish all the wide panels (the top, side panels and drawer fronts) on both sides to prevent warping due to uneven moisture absorption.

Finally, insert support frames and standard, legal-size hanging file folders, both of which arc available at anv good office supplv store or bv mail from Office Utilities, 1221-27 Sumner Ave., Allentown, PA 18102. ▲

Mitch Mandel is a professional photographer and a wxxxiworker in Allentown, PA. This is his second article for AMERICAN WOODWORKER.

An American Woodworker Profile

Colonial Lathe

One Man's Exploration of Early Country Woodcraft


Bodgers Camp
"Bodgers" were itinerant turners who set up shop in the forest and mass-produced chair parts with primitive lathes and tools. This is a typkal bodger's camp in the early 1900s.

on Weber has always fell most at home in the forest. His fondest boyhood memories are of fishing and hiking in the countryside of his native Wales. His deep kinship with nature, along with his interest in the old-fashioned self-sufficiency of his Welsh ancestors have, over the years, propelled Don along some of the lesser-trodden paths of craft exploration. So I wasn't surprised when, during a recent visit to his shop in Northern California, I found him turning chair parts with an antiquated spring-pole lathe. "I'm learnin't' be a bodger," he said in his lilting way. A bodgcr? I began to suspect that he had slipped a cog. Perhaps he was feeling older than his years, or maybe this was just his artful way of dodging serious work that could be paying the rent and putting food on the table.

As I soon learned. Don's "bodging" was serious work. He is reviving the craft of the "bodgers," woodturners who flourished in rural Britain until early in this century, turning spindles, rungs and legs for chairs on spring-pole powered lathes.

Though Don makes the bulk of his living repairing and restoring antique furniture, he has also, for the last eight years, taught and demonstrated the techniques of early English and American woodcrafting at shows, conferences and fairs. He dreams of reviving these forgotten arts, and currently his life is dedicated to making this dream come true.

For Don, it has always been the process more than the finished product that has inspired his best labors. The intimacy of choosing his raw materials from the living forest; felling, planking and riving out billets with axe and froc forged by his own hand; the satis-

Raise Panel Table Saw

The bodger's spring-pole lathe Is sack a gentle machine even children can work on it Here's bodger-craft revivalist Don Weber showing a few how.

1920s Woodwork
Up until the 1920s, legs turned by bodfert were in great demand due to their durability.

Bodgars started with billets which they spltt out of select logs. This gave the legs a strength that billets ild have lacked.

The Mock knife b a traditional tool used in roughing the billat to shape before It is mounted on the lathe, but a hatchet or a draw knife will do tha trick.

Bodgars started with billets which they spltt out of select logs. This gave the legs a strength that billets ild have lacked.

The Mock knife b a traditional tool used in roughing the billat to shape before It is mounted on the lathe, but a hatchet or a draw knife will do tha trick.

Cuboard Tools

faction of turning spindles and rungs on a primitive lathe —these, more than money, are the rewards he finds in the ancient crafts.

And then, there is the grander process of earning on the knowledge of the past. It's so easy for us to get caught up in our work-a-day concerns and to forget the important role that tradition plays in our craft. The brute power of modern technology is not the only way to get something accomplished.

Don gained early experience with hand tools when he was briefly apprenticed in an English joinery shop before his family moved to the U.S. in 1962. He also worked for an old New England timber framer soon after arriving. The demands of modern production carpentry went against Don's grain from the beginning. But it was a serious hand injury on the table-saw—caused by working too fast under pressure-that convinced Don that production woodworking was not for him. After his injury, Don decided to find a way to make a living at a slower pace and began looking for opportunities to learn about, teach and practice the traditional crafts of rural Britain.

Don has since built or collected many of the tools and machines that were used in various woodworking trades before the industrial revolution: spring-pole and treadle-powered lathes, shaving horse, block knife, sash saw, post auger, froe and broad axe, forge and anvil. All these and many more have been bought with earnings from furniture repair, built when time could be spared, salvaged from the junk pile and restored to working condition by a sharp eye and a caring hand.

"It was not easy making the transition from modern carpcntry to ancient craft." reflects Don. "With my strong background in the use of hand tools, I was often hired by the 'back to the land' people of the last decade because I could do good work quickly without power tools." During that time, Don also taught classes at the local art center on the care and use of hand tools. His real break came in 1979, when he was hired by the California Renaissance Pleasure Faire to act the part of an Elizabethan woodcrafter.

The fair, held annually in Thousand Oaks and No-vato, gave Don a paid excuse to research and build the tools and implements that interested him, and it put him in contact with other people who were practicing similar early crafts. As a part of his act, he made and sold bowls, stools, chairs, rakes, pitchforks, tool han-

Pole Lathe Center

Don't let the rustic appearance of the homemade pole lathe fool you. The end result is as fine as can be.

The Bodger's Craft

Bodgers Bowl Lathe

Don makes bis own turning tools for working on the pole lathe. Their special shapes maximize his own power since that is what he's relying on.

Don't let the rustic appearance of the homemade pole lathe fool you. The end result is as fine as can be.

Don makes bis own turning tools for working on the pole lathe. Their special shapes maximize his own power since that is what he's relying on.

dies and other items that he produced himself.

Don's fair exhibit began with draw-knife and spoke-shave demonstrations, but it has grown over the years to include many of the English country crafts. His booth at the fair is a half-scale "cruck" frame, a primitive form of timber frame construction commonly used in the 14th century. A cruck frame employs book-matched beams from a curved oak log to form an "A"-frame hut. At the fair, Don makes wooden rakes and pitchforks from green willow poles, woven fences or "hurdles" from hazel, wooden shoes or "clogs" rough-shaped from green hardwoods with a shearing tool called a block knife, bowls on the treadle lathe and more.

As Don is quick to point out, "It's not all just for show." Don and his wife Lilly, a prodigious gardener, have built a traditional hurdle-type fence around the beautiful flower garden adorning their home and workshop. There, they use Don's rakes, baskets and other items regularly. Their home and garden, nestled by a small stream in the backwoods of Mendocino County, are testimony to their self-sufficiency and decision to live lightly and in harmony with their wooded surroundings.

Bodging currently interests Don the most. He contends the building of a spring-pole, or bodger's lathe, is a simple enough project and a good way to learn turning skills on a very basic machine.

Bodgers spent their long workdays in the beech forests turning the resilient, straight-grained English beech into the legs and rungs for Windsor chairs. Rather than move heavy, green wood to the workshop, the bodgers worked where the trees were felled. They set up their shaving horse and lathe in the open or under a crude shelter, working through the summer months when they weren't needed on the farms for planting and harvesting.

The wood was selected for straightness, and the billets were split or "riven" out with a froc. Then, they were roughly shaped with a broad hatchet, which, like the broad axe, has one flat and one beveled side. Next, the shape of the billet was refined with the draw knife. They had to shape the billets carefully, because one couldn't easily "hog" the waste off with the foot-powered lathe.

Bodgers used a very efficient device, the shaving horse, to hold the billets while they shaped them. The shaving horse is basically a low bench about 3 ft. long, with a foot-operated vise at one end. The vise can be quickly opened and closed to hold pieces that are being shaped with the draw knife.

Speed was essential. Labor was cheap and a slow bodger wouldn't earn enough to keep himself in tea and biscuits. Making rungs as well as the legs, bodgers sold their work by the gross (144 pieces). A pair of

Colonial Lathe
Bodgers usually set up their lathes in rustic huts that offered minimal protection from the elements.

bodgcrs, working 12 hours a day, five-and-a-half days a week could expect to make four or five gross of parts a week, earning 12 to 14 shillings per gross.

Generally, bodgcrs worked in pairs. They would buy a few selected trees from a landowner, move in their equipment and set up camp until the stand was exhausted, then move to another area. Trees were selected with a care for perpetuating the forest. Every part of the tree was used including the chips, which were gathered for the charcoal makers. The bodgcrs themselves used only the straight, clear sections of the trunk and larger limbs.

Because the wood was carefully chosen and split out instead of sawed, hand-turned legs were of superior quality. This created a demand for hand-turned legs lasting years after machine-turned legs came on the market. As late as the 1920s, the British War Department still specified hand-turned legs for its chairs. When the war department changed its specifications to allow machine-made legs, the bodger went the way of the wheelwright and the cooper.

The bodgers' spring-pole lathe is one of the most primitive mechanisms for turning wood. It dales to before the time of Christ. Its power source is a foot treadle. Downward pressure on this treadle is transferred to the work through a cord wrapped around the work. The other end of the cord is tied to the tip of a long, springy pole. When the foot pressure is released, the spring pole pulls the treadle back up into the ready position, and the stroke is repeated.

This causes the work to revolve first forward, then backward with a reciprocating action that is character-

Spring Pole Lathe
Not every bodger worked in the wood«. Pole lathes were also used indoors by mounting the spring pole on the ceiling.

The spring-pole lathe is designed for outdoor use, but for those of you who prefer to locate it in your shop, I have included modifications in the design for indoor use. So, before you begin construction on your bodger's lathe or "loom" as it was called, you'll need to dccidc whether you want to locate it permanently or make it free-standing.

The drawing shows the entire assembly with a base attached, but should you decide to permanently locate your lathe in your backyard grove, simply omit the base and sink the posts about 16 in. into the ground. Note that there are two sets of posts. Two of these posts form the base of the lathe bed, while the other two posts support a "butt board" for you to lean on and steady yourself as you work.

The bed of the lathe consists of two horizontal timbers or "ways," which fit in notches in the upright posts and are pegged or bolted. The head stock is one of these posts while the tail stock, a wooden block called a poppet, can be moved along the track formed by the two timbers. A wedge slides into a mortise at the base of the poppet to hold the poppet securely to the ways.

Make the poppet from a solid block of wood, and cut the tenon so that it fits snugly between the timbers and extends below them with enough space for the wedge. Just below the timbers, cut a mortise in the tenon itself for the wedge. Attach two metal brackets to the poppet k

INDOOR SPRING-Attach mounting Mock to POLE SETUP

rafters with lag screws.

Corner Pole For Block

INDOOR SPRING-Attach mounting Mock to POLE SETUP

rafters with lag screws.

through mounting block.

Designs Cuboard


Was this article helpful?

+1 0
Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment