I make all but my smallest cove molding at my tablesaw. (The small pieces come off my router table.) As I set up to knock out a few pieces for my clock, I did what I have done from my earliest recollection of making cove. I placed, angled and clamped a fence to the right of my table saw blade. As I make passes with the blade just nipping my stock, I make sure that the stock stays tight to the fence – I have to push the stock into my fence. I like the idea that I’m in control and it is up to me to keep the stock in position as the cut is made.
I have seen other woodworkers set the fence to the left of the blade. The theory behind this setup is your blades pushes the stock toward you as it cuts. Therefore, you simply guide the material through the cut, not having to hold the stock to the fence.
I have tried this setup before. I was not comfortable at all. I’m not sure if my lack of comfort was because I do the operation so differently, or if I felt uncomfortable because I was reaching over the fence to guide my stock.
There is a third method out there. Sometimes two fences are positioned on both sides of the blade. Please don’t tell me you do this. I’m sorry, but I don’t think a fence set to the left and to the right of the blade is a viable alternative. Why? If you set both fences tight to your stock and its width is not dead-on perfect, somewhere during your cut the stock becomes confined. That causes you to force the piece along and we all know what happens as you apply force around a spinning blade. If you tell me that you do not hold both fences tight to your stock, then I can only think that as you make your passes over the blade, the stock wiggles back and forth bouncing, if you will, from fence to fence. The resulting cut has to look atrocious. And sanding those pieces so they are ready to accept finish sucks up valuable shop time.
So which is it? Fence to the right or fence to the left?
Build Something Great!
Please do not write anything about my glove usage. There is nothing wrong with using gloves in the scenario. There is no blade expose any time during the cut!