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Novice questions - wedges and triangles

4553 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Betsy
Here I am again - showing my novice side. But alas - I'm sure I'm not the only one with these questions--- just brave enough to ask. :)

What is a safe way to cut wedges? I used to have a planer sled that I used a "screw jack" to level out the board while I planed it. When I moved - the sled did not move with me. (some mover has it I'm sure-using it with my 1/2" Dewalt drill as well-but that's another story.) Anyway - I'm thinking that wedges would be a lot easier to use.

So-- how do you cut consistent wedges without wasting a ton of material?

Ok - here's the second question-- how do you safely cut a square into a perfect triangle (i.e. making it a perfect 45 degrees)? Or alternatively, how do you safely cut a perfect 45 degree triangle?

Thanks for not laughing my fellow LJ's!

Now - I'm off to a steak and potato meal--birthday party--it's a tough assignment - but I'll handle it.

Thanks in advance for your help (and for keeping your laughter low enough that I can't hear it over the net!).
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Hmm, well I'm trying to think of a way that I'd do it without any power tools (since I don't have any). So take my comments with a grain of salt. I haven't tried this out.

I think that I might plane a bevel off the end of a board. Put a line about, say, 1/8" or 1/4" down (on the end), and another line on the face however far back you need for your wedge length, and then plane down to those lines.

Now you need to cut the wedges. Put the board up on end, and cut down to the line you drew on the face, starting 1/8" or so away from the end of your bevel. With a good handsaw, this isn't too hard. Then make your other cut (starting on the face line) to release that block, and then cut that into however many wedges you need.

If you need a lot, it should be no problem to make them uniform since you'll be marking the lines at the same points.
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A tapering jig and miter gauge on the tablesaw. Just alternate between them.

Just makeup some type of jig for the tablesaw for either operation.
Thanks guys. On the way home I was thinking about doing this:

angle my table saw blade to rip a board with the angle of wedge I want, then rip it to width - (leaving about an inch for a flat top) - then cross cut to the final size.

What do you think?
What do want these wedges for? There may be an easy way for what you have in mind.

What length and angle, or width?
That would make wedges, Betsy, but I think your grain will be going the wrong way (across the wedges), so they might tend to break easily. I think I'd go with a tapering jig for wedges. Flip the stock end-for-end after each pass so you don't get too far from the grain direction.

What size squares are you cutting into triangles? For little triangles, I usually start with a length of stock the same width as the short side of the triangle, then make a 45 degree cut on the miter saw, move the stock down and make a 90 degree cut. That way you have lots of stock to hold onto.
Gary - I want to make a new planer sled and was looking at the one on Finewoodworking. I'll have to see if I can find the link.

The angle was 15 degrees and they are about 3 - 4 inches long and look to be about an inch wide.
I think I know which sled you are talking about. It's way more complex that it needs to be.

Just a lip on the leading edge and some shims are all you need. You are looking at running
a piece through the planer once maybe twice. That's am awlful lot of setting up for that.
What kind of shims would you use if not the sled on FW? My old sled used a screw mechanism that my Dad showed me that worked pretty well, but I really don't think I could duplicate it - my Dad was much more mechanical that I'd ever hope to be.

Thanks Peter - I had not thought about the cross grain issue.
An easy way to make shims/wedges on your table saw is to make a shim cutting jig. Here are a couple of pictures of one that I use.

Make the riser block just a tad thinner than the thickness of the material you are cutting. Then the top of the jig will trap the cut wedge and hold it as it passes the back of the saw blade. The riser block on mine is 1 1/2 inch so I can use 2by scraps for wedges. (I've also got a jig to hold 3/4 inch material.)
You can cut the angle of the riser block to what ever angle and thickness you want to have your finished wedges.

To cut a perfect triangle I'd make a sled for my tablesaw that is set up to cut perfect 45 degree cuts. Then you can set your square piece of lumber in the sled/jig and cut it across the two corners. I'm sure Niki will chime in here and show you pictures on how to make a perfect triangle jig.
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Thanks Jim - I think that will do the trick. Thanks for the pictures-- it's easier sometimes to see than to read a description only. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I'll let you know how I do on it.
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