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How to taper 6" x 6" on all four sides?

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Forum topic by nickbatz posted 01-03-2020 09:38 PM 910 views 0 times favorited 50 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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nickbatz

399 posts in 717 days


01-03-2020 09:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

This is a skill question, not share.

So I have a 5.5” x 5.5” x 36” Douglas fir beam (approximate size) that I want to taper so it gets thinner toward the middle – like an hourglass, only the imaginary belt in the middle isn’t as tight and it’s a rectangle rather than being round.

The taper doesn’t really have to be very smooth, because I’ll be slicing it like a loaf of bread afterward and can clean it up with a bench sander.

I have a jointer, and I’m thinking that would be the best way to do it, just like you would with a hand plane?

Any better ideas?

This is the first step in a lamp I’m making.

TIA


50 replies so far

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Madmark2

839 posts in 1225 days


#1 posted 01-03-2020 09:45 PM

Big lathe? Chainsaw? Big chisel and a maul? Belt sander and a dozen 40 grit belts? Rent a beaver?

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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nickbatz

399 posts in 717 days


#2 posted 01-03-2020 09:47 PM

All great ideas except the lathe. It’s not going to be rounded, it’s going to remain a rectangle (probably a square, depending on how good a job I do).

Picture a very long loaf of bread.

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nickbatz

399 posts in 717 days


#3 posted 01-03-2020 09:49 PM

Plus I don’t have a lathe.

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GoingUp

46 posts in 884 days


#4 posted 01-03-2020 09:51 PM

So would both ends still be 6×6? The way I read this is you want it thinner in the middle and thicker on the ends (hourglass). Also, how much do you want to take off?

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nickbatz

399 posts in 717 days


#5 posted 01-03-2020 09:57 PM

Something like this.

Looking at it, maybe I only need to taper two opposing sides, not all four. But the issue/concept is the same either way.

I’m guessing I’ll take off an inch in the middle, since it’s only 5-1/2” to start with (and that’s before I clean it up, which will probably remove another 1/4”).

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jbmaine

96 posts in 106 days


#6 posted 01-03-2020 09:59 PM

bandsaw!

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nickbatz

399 posts in 717 days


#7 posted 01-03-2020 10:02 PM

I didn’t think of using my bandsaw! Do you think a Craftsman 113.24201 bandsaw can cut wood that thick?

I’d have to order a blade with fewer teeth, but that’s not out of the question.

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Axis39

158 posts in 234 days


#8 posted 01-03-2020 10:06 PM

Band saw or hand saw would be the only way I would approach it.

(and I’m lazy, so a hand saw would be a distant second option).

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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Jack Lewis

576 posts in 1715 days


#9 posted 01-03-2020 10:19 PM

Cut it like the loaf of bread first then size each slice

-- "PLUMBER'S BUTT! Get over it, everybody has one"

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jta

53 posts in 522 days


#10 posted 01-03-2020 10:21 PM

You are probably going to need a pretty aggressive blade with lower TPI if its going to be able to cut it at all. The maximum throat depth on that bandsaw looks to be 6 inches without any mods, so this is definitely going to be on the uncomfortable side, and will require significant infeed/outfeed support given the weight of lumber. It would probably be easier on a 14” if you know anyone who could help you out.

In terms of cutting, given you want to taper two or possibly 4 sides – you might benefit from the ‘sticking on’ technique (for want of a better term). E.g. cut one side, then stick that piece back on using tape to give you a reference edge etc. until you’re all the way round. Oscillating spindle sander will probably be your friend if you want the resulting slices to be more clean, as the low TPI might leave it a touch ugly. Definitely don’t try and go for the final cut straight away.

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AlaskaGuy

5539 posts in 2946 days


#11 posted 01-03-2020 10:23 PM

We could get from point A to Point B quicker if you told us what tools you have. Maybe.

I’d band saw then smooth it out (if need be) a spoke shave, file,rasp, sand paper …....depend on what you have.

Do you have a band saw?

Edit to add, I just read the post where you mentioned you have a band saw.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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nickbatz

399 posts in 717 days


#12 posted 01-03-2020 10:33 PM



We could get from point A to Point B quicker if you told us what tools you have. Maybe.

I d band saw then smooth it out (if need be) a spoke shave, file,rasp, sand paper …....depend on what you have.

Do you have a band saw?

- AlaskaGuy

Again, I have a Craftsman 113.24201, a 6” Davis & Wells jointer, pretty much everything except a thickness planer.


Cut it like the loaf of bread first then size each slice

- Jack Lewis

I thought about that, and it’s a possibility. But I’d much rather shape it first so I can make aesthetic judgements about where to slice it then. The slices aren’t going to be evenly spaced.

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nickbatz

399 posts in 717 days


#13 posted 01-03-2020 10:37 PM



you might benefit from the sticking on technique (for want of a better term). E.g. cut one side, then stick that piece back on using tape to give you a reference edge etc. until you re all the way round
- jta

Good idea. Thanks.

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TravisH

704 posts in 2572 days


#14 posted 01-03-2020 10:41 PM

Before I had a band saw I would end up just making a series of kerf cuts with a circular saw and chipping it out then break out the belt sander and get near the final dimension with 80 (or lower) grit then work my way up switching to a less aggressive sanding method like orbital sander and hand sanding depending on how how tight the radius.

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SMP

1779 posts in 542 days


#15 posted 01-03-2020 10:51 PM

I would first cut a 1” deep kerf right in the center all the way around to give you the center baseline. Draw out your curve on all sides. Then cut another 1” kerf all the way around about 1/2” away from the center kerf. Do that on both sides of the center line. This will give you a 1” reference edge all around so the piece doesn’t do weird stuff as you cut the 2nd, 3rd and 4th side. Once all sides are cut then you can clean up that center section.

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