By Bob Moran

Discovering a good, new technique always makes my day. I recently made such a discovery while bandsawing identical arcs in a batch of small furniture pails. I noticed how the sawdust on the handsaw table accumulated everywhere except where the pieces of wood passed. Because I was cutting arcs, the pieces of wood followed a curved path and the clcan part of the handsaw table had a curved edge.

"Hmmm...," 1 thought. "A curved fence right where that sawdust lies would guide these pieces through exactly the same path." In less than five minutes I had cut out my first curved handsaw fence, clamped it in place, and stalled feeding the rest of my furniture pails through the saw. The photo on the opposite page and Fig. 1 show the setup. The results were not only faster but also more uniform than marking each piece and carefully sawing to the line. I was sold. Curved bandsaw fences now have a permanent place in my "bag of tricks."

To get the correct fence curve, I lay out the line of cut directly on a piece of V* -in. hardboard, then place a work-piece in position over the line of cut and trace around it. Finally, I draw the curve for the fence so it touches the cornet's of the traced workpiece. I usually make the fence about two-and-a-half times as long as the length of the pan to be sawn. I saw the curve in the fence freehand, then smooth the saw cut with a spokeshave, clamp it in place on the bandsaw table, and I'm ready to feed the parts through the saw.

Notice that the setup shown in Fig. 1 will cut the curve at the midpoint of the workpiece; that is, the finished piece will be symmetrical. That's fine for aprons, rails, door frames and so on, which are usually symmetrical. If vou need to cut a curve of this sort in a non-svmmetri-

• w cal part, you'll have to make a carrier like the one shown in Fig. 2. The carrier and workpiece move together along the fence.

If you want your workpiece to have a convex curve instead of a concave curve, you can plan things so the concave piece against the fence is the waste piece. The only drawback to this approach is that the concave waste piece must be wide enough so it won't flex and cause an inaccurate cut. This may mean wasting a bit more wood than you would otherwise need to waste.

I use a similar technique for sawing curves on the front face of chair rails as shown in the photos above. By tilting the bandsaw table, the blade cuts a curve in one edge of the stock but exits from the face of the stock without cutting the second edge. 5 Sawing curves with a curved fence on a bandsaw is as | easy as sawing a straight line with a straight fence. Try it. 5 I guarantee, you 11 like it. A

* Bob Mo ran is assistant editor of AMERICAN WOOD-I WORKER.


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