Cutting The Splines

Now all you have to do is cut the splines to fit the grooves. For greatest strength, the splines should be cut so the grain is going across the joint line. Cutting this type of spline is very similar to cutting a rabbet on the end of a board — except in this case, the waste is the part you want.

This is usually a precarious operation because the tiny waste piece (which is the spline you want to keep), usually gets caught by the blade and is hurled across the room, never to be seen again.

After fighting with this aggravation, Ted (our Design Director) came up with a procedure to solve this problem.

CUTTING wegi SPUNE-iffo cut a solid-wood spline, the first cut is made by setting the rip fence the "proper distance" from the inside of the blade. This distance should equal the width of the groove.

What you're trying to achieve is a spline that fits the groove with a good friction fit — not so tight that it has to be hammered in, and not so loose that it rattles around.

The depth of cut (height of the blade) is also important. Measure the combined depths of the two spline grooves. The spline should be slightly less than this measurement so it doesn't prevent the mitered ends fitting together.

If you're working with a stopped groove, raise the blade about V less than this combined measurement. For a through groove, raise the blade about V\," less than the combined measurement. Now, stand the board on end and make one cut on one side of the board, and another cut on the other side, see Fig. 5.

SECOND GOT. To make the second cut, guide the workpiece with the miter gauge and use the rip fence as a stop. This is normally considered an unsafe practice, because the small waste piece can easily bind between the blade and the rip fence, and then is thrown back at you.

However, if the rip fence is adjusted so the cut is made just a tad (about K-a") beyond the end of the first cut, the waste piece (the spline) remains attached to the main body of the workpiece, and doesn't come flying off.

After the second cut is made it's simply a matter of snapping off the spline and cleaning off the ragged corner.

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