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Thread: How do I safely cut a 60-degree bevel on a table top?

  1. #1
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    How do I safely cut a 60-degree bevel on a table top?

    So, I've got a couple of furniture tops for a customer and am having trouble deciding the easiest, safest way to cut the 60 degree bevel on the underside of the tops. 45, while easy to rout or shape in, looks too bulky. These are a pair of 6/4 Cherry tops - both about 6' long, one 15" deep, the other about 25" deep.

    I have a tilting-arbor shaper now, but it tilts the wrong way for a safe cut. The table-saw is an option, but I'd have to stand the top on end?! Somehow this doesn't seem logical, and any table saw cut that requires me on a ladder or a 4' tall fence seems...well...like an ER visit waiting to happen.

    It seems that there's a safe and easy router jig I could make, but it's hard to visualize.

    Same sort of jig may work with the circular saw?

    A jig for the planer seems unsafe. The hand power-planer?

    There's always the hand-plane, but I can't see making a nice smooth bevel all the way down the 6' of front face without some type of jig/shooting board deal.

    The most appealing option is a single correctly-angled router bit, but our local wood-toys store didn't have anything even close, and they have thousands of bits. I don't relish spending $190 on a bit, anyhow.

    Anyone have experience with this and can tell me the obvious "Duh" solution to this that will lead, most likely, to much facepalming on my part? I've gone through all of my power and hand tools in my head, and can't think of a great solution. It may be that a hand-plane (on end-grain. Gah!), card scraper, and fervent prayer are my only options.

    Uh, oh. I may have just answered my own question. At least in my head. Is there any rule that states I can't turn the shaper around? I mean, move the fence to the front and shape from the "back"? That would mean it would now tilt in the correct direction and I could just use a big 45 bit (apparently a future purchase) tilted at 15 degrees "backward"? In fact, the extra extension table in the back that the Incra LS is on would add that much more support to the workpiece, and make the whole operation easier. If this is the obvious solution, let me know, please. For those without shapers, though...how would this be done?

  2. #2
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    Try this on a test piece:
    (Never tried this but it works on paper).

    Presuming the blade is left tilt on the table saw:

    Set blade to 30 degrees. Cut with the top face down on the saw and the top on the right side of the blade. This would be a 60 degree cut if the angle is measured from the bottom.

  3. #3
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    Hi Nathan, of course you can flip the fence. or make a simple wood one to attach to the shaper with C clamps. (NOT wood working clamps).

    Do you have a cutterhead that takes HSS knives such as the CMT unit?

    I find these very handy for specials, and knives only cost $20 to $30 per pair.

    A pair of angle knives and some spindle tilt and you should be OK, after all, that's why you have a shaper.

    Regards, Rod.

  4. #4
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    Hey, Glenn. Boy, I wish that was the solution. Unfortunately, I need the opposing angle - so I'd need to set my saw to 60 degrees tilt to get the effect I need.

    Maybe the angle I defined was wrong? A 30 is way too steep. A 45 is a bit too steep, and the 60 would be just right.

  5. #5
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    Thanks, Rod. No, I don't have a cutterhead like that, but it's on my list of things to keep an eye out for.

    I'll give some test pieces a shot with a 45 tilted backwards and see how it turns out!

  6. #6
    I'm not sure about reversing the fence on your tilt arbor shaper, BUt you would also need to reverse the feed direction to avoid climb cutting and potential self feeding problems.

    On you TS, you won't be able to tilt your arbor 60 degrees. However you can build a temporary table out of plywood or MDF that will sit on top of your table saw. The top of this temporary table should be tilted 30 degrees so that you achieve your 60 degree angle. Or with the blade vertical you can bevel the edge at 30 degrees and have the panel supported. You will want to make a aux fence on the blade side of your tilted table to control the stock. Most likely you will need to raise the blade up through this aux fence to get the finished edge height you are looking for. You will also want to clamp this tilted table to your saw so it doesn't move around during your cuts. Make sure you don't have any nails or screws int eh area where your blade will come up through the aux fence. I would use the miter slots to help align the tilted table to your blade. If you build the table on the other side of the blade you can achieve other angles not normally available by tilting the blade in addition to having the 30 degrees from the tilted surface.
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  7. #7
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    A 30 degree router bit, used "on edge", would give you the same cut as you mentioned with "standing" the piece on edge with the table saw.
    You might need to clamp something to the piece to help stabilized the router by giving it more surface to ride upon, but it will work.
    I think I would saw off as much of the waste as you can with the table saw at 45 degrees first, just to take the load away from the bit.

    You could even go as far as to make a jig to hold your router at a 90 degree angle,so the bit is parallel to the table, rather than perpendicular like a regular router talbe. Then you could lay the panel flat slide it past the bit, which would be "on edge".
    If I had more than one to do, I would go this way.

  8. #8
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    Question How do I safely cut a 60-degree bevel on a table top?

    Nathan,
    Maybe I missed something, but if 45 is too steep, why can't you just clamp a sacrificial fence to your table saw fence, tilt the saw to 30 degrees and have at it. That would, I think, be 60 degrees from vertical. Clean up the saw marks and you should have it. Depends on which way your saw tilts, you may have to cut to the left side instead of the right. Should still work though. Just my 2 cents....

    joe

  9. #9
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    I would use a power plane and then clean it up with the belt sander.
    That way you don't have all that money invested in a bit that you may not use again.

    Make sure you have good layout lines and a straight edge. If you have the room you may be able to taper it further back yet which would give it a lighter look.

    Hope that helps.

    Quinn

  10. #10
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    Bevel

    Maybe I'm not visualizing this correctly (wouldn't be the first time), but can't you just flip them upside down and use a 30 degree, piloted chamfer bit in a hand held router?

    You're not removing all that much wood. You could even do it in multiple passes by changing out the ball bearing guide. Start with one that's wide and step down until you wind up with one that matches the diameter of the chamfer at it's most narrow dimension.

    You can quickly clean up any ripples with a few passes from a spokeshave and you're done!!

    Regards,

    John

  11. #11
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    Boy, you guys like to complicate matters.

    Nathan has a tilting spindle shaper, which means that with a 30 degree bit he can easily achieve a 60 degree angle and feed the table top flat on the shaper.

    The shaper can also reverse spindle direction for grain or feed direction requirements, and if Nathan has power feeder he can climb cut the whole perimeter safely, for a flawless surface finish.

    This is what these machines are for, producing edge treatments on wood, and they do it far more safely than modifying a table saw with sleds, or high fences and trying to wrestle a tabletop along a fence, or balance a router on the edge of the table.

    regards, Rod.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Harden View Post
    Maybe I'm not visualizing this correctly (wouldn't be the first time), but can't you just flip them upside down and use a 30 degree, piloted chamfer bit in a hand held router?

    You're not removing all that much wood. You could even do it in multiple passes by changing out the ball bearing guide. Start with one that's wide and step down until you wind up with one that matches the diameter of the chamfer at it's most narrow dimension.

    You can quickly clean up any ripples with a few passes from a spokeshave and you're done!!

    Regards,

    John
    No john, he is looking for 60 degrees from that plane. As far as I know, no one makes a router bit at that angle.

    I for one had no clue about a tilting spindle shaper being involved in this?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Conner View Post
    Hey, Glenn. Boy, I wish that was the solution. Unfortunately, I need the opposing angle - so I'd need to set my saw to 60 degrees tilt to get the effect I need.

    Maybe the angle I defined was wrong? A 30 is way too steep. A 45 is a bit too steep, and the 60 would be just right.
    Duh...

    Iit was too early in the morning for me - now I know why I haven't tried it.

  14. #14
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    Nathan, I've done this three different ways at different times, all to pieces larger than you are describing. My preferred method working alone is a router and a raised panel bit. I have a bit, Freud I think, that has a 25 degree bevel, which is a pretty decent look in 6/4 for a back bevel. I spin it freehand with a jig that is sort of like a small router table, using a big PC router. I've done similar with a big OG bit. It takes a few light passes, and sometime I have to climb them depending on grain, but it works well. I can hear the safety police cranking up the siren in the back ground. A big cove panel raiser can look good too if you have design options.

    Next is on a TS with a tall fence and SEVERAL HELPERS THAT KNOW THEIR WAY AOUND A TS! Not the guy next door or my mother in law. At work its easy to find these helpers, at home not always easy. The fence I use is quite stout, about 8" tall, and slips over the stock fence with a tight fit. You don't need a 4' fence. I've used it to pass tops as big as 24X80 that were finished at 1 1/2" thick. A few swipes with a smoother and its beautiful. I have done much smaller tops alone and a few with one other guy in between.

    We did a few 16' pieces at work with a shooting board made up of plywood and a jack plane. It goes pretty quick, especially if you waste as much as possible on the TS to begin with. Take your 45 cut first, then there is less to hand plane later.

    One option I haven't tried but have seen is to make a 15 degree plywood ramp, clamp this to the shaper table, and use a 15 degree panel raiser. Voila, there is your 30 degrees. Draw it up quick, it can actually work with stock tooling.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Allen View Post

    I for one had no clue about a tilting spindle shaper being involved in this?
    Post #1, sentence #3............regards, Rod.

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