Modern Computer Desk #4: Cutting the bevels for the mitered case corners

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Blog entry by Ron Stewart posted 04-28-2017 05:32 PM 1206 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Gluing up the top/side and bottom panels Part 4 of Modern Computer Desk series Part 5: Assembling the case »

The scariest part of building this desk was making the 45-degree bevel cuts across the 24” wide top/side and bottom panels. In particular, if I messed up any of the cuts on the former, I would ruin the top and both sides in one shot.

I have a nice crosscut sled for my table saw, but it will accommodate stock up to only 21” wide, so it wasn’t an option. I didn’t feel like making a special sled. I’d love to have a Festool track saw, but I couldn’t justify the expense. My only option was my Porter Cable circular saw.

With a circular saw, the cleanest part of the cut is the underside, but I wanted to make my cuts from the top side of the panel to keep the top edge as true as possible. (If the blade fluttered, etc., there might be some wobble on the inside edges, but it wouldn’t be visible after assembly.)

I have a 48” sawboard for making rough cuts in MDF and plywood sheets. I decided to sacrifice it to convert it to a bevel-cutting sawboard. That was easy—just tilt the saw blade and run it across the sawboard. With this new sawboard, I could cut from the top. The sawboard would minimize tear-out on the top side.

To make each cut, I carefully positioned the sawboard using speed squares on each end, clamped the sawboard and panel to my workbench (with scrap between the bench and panel to leave room for the blade). Then I took a deep breath and made the cut very slowly.

Here’s how everything looked right after I made the first cut.

Here’s how the top and bottom lined up after I finished. The reason for the clamp in the first photo is that the top panel was twisted a bit on one corner. (That also explains why I clamped everything to my workbench before cutting—I didn’t want that twist to affect the cut.)

The two top-panel cutoffs formed the sides. I used my table saw to rip the other 45-degree bevels in the side. That part was easy and drama-free.

This photo shows the amount of twist in the top. Aside from this corner, the rest of the panel was flat on the bench.

I’d have to deal with that twist when I assembled the case.

-- Ron Stewart

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