Friday, January 10, 2014

Cove Molding Jig to make a Picture frame

I came across a cool article on Marc Spagnuolo’s great website of The Wood Whisperer. I enjoy watching his videos as they are incredibly informative and I like his sense of humor. While on his site, I came across a video on making a parallelogram jig for coves on the table saw. Using Google, one can find many other websites with similar information and one site can even give you a program to determine any cove you want.

With that, I decided to make a picture frame with a large cove molding that I have wanted to do for a long time. Using the information from his website, I built a simple parallelogram jig as shown in the first picture. In the picture, you can see how I tried to raise up the arms (and for the wood to slide under) to keep it parallel and the clamps to keep it on the table saw.

In the second picture, the outline of the picture frame that I was trying to make is visible. I drew the rough profile of what I was looking for in the frame. Then I lined up the jig and set the blade at an angle to get everything to line up. After this, I lowered the blade and started to make the cuts. I would run it one direction and then back over the blade for each piece. Only after each one was cut, I would raise the blade. When raising the blade, I would only do it about 1/16” at a time, so I long lost count of how many passes I would make to get the desired shape. 

Once the cove was cut, I cut the dado where the picture would lay (the upper left corner of my test piece). I then cut an angle (the lower left corner of my test piece) on one side to slope towards the picture. The final cut was down the center of the cove to create the frame. After sanding, cutting 45’s, and finishing the frame, I then put the picture in it. Below are two pictures of the final product.

Three final thoughts on the jig, as there were things I did not like on it. First, getting close to the blade, made me really nervous. When I go to use it again, I am going to create some sort of a cover to go over the blade. I am thinking of clear plastic about 8” long that can have the height adjusted on one side. I also see it having an integrated feather-board to ensure the cut is repeatable.  When I do that, I will add a picture. The other thing that I did not like about the jig, was the amount of dust it would create. I would like to add a feature to collect the dust with possibly a 2” vacuum attachment on one side near the blade. Then to help keep it in, maybe take some part of a soft broom and put it across the front & back of the guard. Also, I think if I do it much more, I would get a one of the stiffer table saw blades designed for cove molding that could better handle the force or the more cost effective stabilizer.

Lastly, I have to say what that is a painting of as some out there will recognize it. The picture is of the “Tooth of Time,” which is located in Cimarron NM at the Philmont Scout Ranch. I painted the picture in some art class I took. I have always loved that landmark, which said you were 7 days to Santa Fe when on the Santa Fe Trail.  I went to Philmont twice as a scout and then was on staff there for 6 summers. Two top memories were cooking French toast at sunrise one summer and feeding a crew and then watching the sunrise & being the first one on the summit on January 1, 2000.

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