Edited by Jan Carr
Q. I'm stuck trying to copy an old-fashioned cove molding for a new bookcase. I know about cutting coves by angling a board to a tablesaw blade, but I can't figure out how to get the elliptical shape ! need.Any ideas?
A. There are four different settings on a tablesaw that can determine the shape of a cove molding. Two are quite familiar: the angle of the guide boards and the height of the blade. The others are pretty clever and not widely known. You can tilt the blade and tilt the workpiece.
The first two settings make symmetrical curves (curves having the same shape on either side of a vertical centerline). Tilting the blade and workpiece allows you to make more complex asymmetrical curves, where the left side is different than the right side. To make the elliptical molding at right, we set the guide boards at 30 degrees to the blade, tilted the blade 45 degrees and ran one edge of the workpiece on a 3/4-in.-high ledge.
You might go crazy trying to figure out all the combinations necessary to make your molding, though, and chew up a lot of scrap stock in the process. Fortunately, you can buy a pamphlet to give you a head start (see photo, below right).
The pamphlet does not contain any photos showing the general procedure for setting up and using your saw. If this is your first time cutting cove molding, refer to a more detailed how-to story, such as "Tablesaw Coved Panels," AW #95, September 2002, page 34.
Caution: You must remove your blade guard to make these cuts. Be sure to use push blocks and only raise the blade about I /16 in. at a time.
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