Table Saw Cove Cuts

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Forum topic by Mr M's Woodshop posted 07-27-2014 11:34 PM 1437 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mr M's Woodshop

422 posts in 3632 days

07-27-2014 11:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

I’m currently building some serving trays that require cove cuts done on the table saw. The directions with the pattern I’m using recommended making a channel – a top fence and a bottom fence, if you will – to run the stock through while cutting the coves.

That seemed unsafe to me. I did the cuts using only the top fence and my Grrr-ripper, and felt 100% safe doing the cuts.

Is this a standard way to do cove cuts? It just seemed wrong to me, so I didn’t make the cuts that way. Was my gut instinct wrong, or perhaps just more cautious than necessary?

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

8 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3373 days

#1 posted 07-28-2014 01:31 AM

One is sufficient on the infeed bias but I typically use two. Just makes me feel more secure , not for safety but for less chance of unwanted movement.


View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3373 days

#2 posted 07-28-2014 01:34 AM

BTW can u clarify what you mean by top and bottom?

View waho6o9's profile


8803 posts in 3141 days

#3 posted 07-28-2014 02:48 AM

View runswithscissors's profile


3081 posts in 2589 days

#4 posted 07-28-2014 06:49 AM

If you get your eye down at table level and squint at the blade (sighting down the skewed fence), you can pretty well guess what your cove will look like—deep and narrow, shallow and broad, whatever.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View bbi's profile


3 posts in 1969 days

#5 posted 07-28-2014 08:07 AM

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Mr M's Woodshop

422 posts in 3632 days

#6 posted 07-28-2014 02:09 PM

My “top and bottom” reference is how I would describe the set-up recommended in my plans. The “top” fence was on the far side of the blade, and the “bottom” fence was on the near side of the blade, setting up a channel between the fences. I elected to only use the “top” fence … just as shown on the website linked by waho6o9. The video embedded by bbi uses what I would call a “bottom” fence: the fence is below the blade. Personally, I don’t like that set up any more than I do that of using 2 fences at once.

Your mileage may vary (obviously)!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View Ger21's profile


1089 posts in 3695 days

#7 posted 07-28-2014 04:40 PM

Using the “top” fence only is incredibly unsafe. The blade wants to push the board towards you, and the bottom fence prevents that from happening.
If you’re cutting coves with a fence on the back side of the blade only, it’s only a matter of time until your board gets thrown in your face. That’s the best case scenario.

-- Gerry,

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3254 days

#8 posted 07-29-2014 12:24 AM

I gotta go with Gerry on this one. Using only the TOP board is really asking for an injury. I do raised panels on the tablesaw using the bottom board only and feel very safe.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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