Tag Archives: jigs

Circle-cut Moldings

High_Res ScrollI’ve returned to the Egerton tall clock this week to begin work on the hood moldings. Due to the dial design selected, this clock has a circular molding that is cut at an angle to fit to straight runs before it turns back the sides of the hood. I’m beginning with the arched section because it’s easier to produce a match when working on the straight runs, than it is to work up a perfect match on the arched section after the straight stock is made.

For this operation, I find it best to use my router along with a circle-cutting jig. You find the radius of the cut, which changes with each router bit used as you make the profile, then swing the setup as you make your cuts. IMG_1128For this clock, because there is a small added inlaid piece up the center of the hood, the arched molding is divided. That allows me to set up the stock as a pair of pieces instead a single piece with the entire arch cut. This translates into stronger moldings because there is no short grain where the piece can easily break.

In the photo above, you can see the setup. I have my router attached to a shop-made circle-cutting jig and yes, that is a drill bit I’m using as a pivot – no right-sized dowel in the shop. (Make do with what you have.) In the photo I’ve made the first pass, creating the thumbnail profile along the top edge of the molding. The workpieces are held with double-stick tape, as is the pivot platform.

The trick to this work is to properly set your router and the length of the jig to cut exactly where you need to produce the profile.IMG_1129 To do just that you need to accurately measure for the hole location (pivot point) on your jig. As you can see in the left-hand photo, you don’t need to be centered of your jig. As long as the measurement from the pivot to the correct edge of your router bit is right, your cut will be in the correct location. There are times when you’ll set to the far side of the bit and times when you use the near side to cut your profile.  Once determined, I use a bird cage awl to start my hole so the drill bit stays put as I drill. It takes some time to get the position just right, but it can be done.

IMG_1131The results are great if you use the correct router bits and get the setups just right. In the right-hand photo you can see the results of three passes using the setup. The first was the thumbnail. For the second cut I used a round-nose bit. The third cut was with a straight bit and it was simply to clear the material for the subsequent passes.

It was after the third pass that I realized I had used the wrong round-nose router bit. The width of the round-bottom trench was too wide for the profile as I had it drawn. You know what that means, right. Yep, start over. I’ll choose the right bits this time, and I think I’ll re-design the molding somewhat; I wasn’t thrilled with how it was coming out. Also, because it is time-consuming to accurately position the jig, I’ll switch to my Micro Fence circle-cutting jig which allows me way more accuracy as I work.

That’s my Sunday (another day in the shop, yeah). What are you planning?

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Filed under Jigs, Routers, Tall Clock

Re-saw Revamped

Over the past few weeks, I think I have changed more of my woodworking techniques than I had in the past several years. Last week I shared my newest technique to hog away dovetail waste. Today I am writing about re-sawing lumber using a band saw. As I ran into a need for thin lumber for a series of bottle dividers for a project I’m building, I decided to try a different technique.

In the past, I used my favorite woodworking jig for any re-saw work. (Read about it, here.) I would set the fence at the natural cutting angle of my band saw, then slice the lumber into the desired thickness – without setting the appropriate angle, my saw would seldom cut straight.

With this new jig, I no longer need to find any cutting angle. The jig is easy to build and set, but this technique does require the operator to keep the cut aligned.

The jig consists of a piece of wood that has an “almost point” on one edge – I cut a 30-degree angle from both faces, but left the smallest section (1/16″) square at the center – attached to a plywood platform that is easy to clamp in place. To set the jig, position the point away from your blade at whatever thickness you need, then clamp it in place. I use a small C-clamp. The height of your jig is arbitrary however, I find that a taller jig better allows me to keep my workpiece vertical to my blade throughout the cut.

To prepare your stock, use a marking gauge to set a scribeline along one edge of your board. (I reinforced the scribe with a pencil to account for poor eyesight.) In this scenario I was looking to simply rip the stock in half, but you could just as easily setup to cut multiple pieces.

The actual cut is dependent on you. That is, you not only need to feed the stock at an acceptable rate for your saw and blade, you also need to keep the scribed line at the blade as you cut. With a sharp blade this should be easy, but if your blade is dull or loosely tensioned you could be in for a constant swerving and a less-than-stellar cut.

As you begin to cut, nudge the stock to your jig. Your workpiece is held straight and the cut is positioned at your layout. Slowly push your board along the cut making slight adjustments to keep saw blade at the cut line. As you near the end of  the cut, make sure you do not locate a finger, hand or other body part directly in line with the blade. I like to reach beyond the blade to grasp the workpiece and pull it through the last couple inches of the cut.

I found this technique easier to set up at the desired thickness and way faster overall because you do not need to find any particular cutting angle before making your cut. That’s “plug and play.”

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Filed under Jigs, Power Tools, Shop Tips