Woodworking Element #2 - Beveled Edges




About: Chip's Wood Shop is all about rewarding and enjoyable woodworking projects and ''use what you have''solutions to make all kinds of fun and useful things. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Asso...

Again, what delightful scraps end up on the floor of the wood shop! This time, I'll show you how I used scrap to check the accuracy of the angle of beveled edges I cut in plywood using two different methods.

Step 1: Tools

Circular Saw:

This is good for cross-cutting large pieces that are beyond the reach of a mitre saw.

I use it with a straightedge:

Table Saw:

This is good for ripping or cross-cutting much smaller pieces using the mitre gage.

If you feel like supporting more of this kind of instruction, click any of the pictures above and buy whatever you want!

Step 2: Circular Saw - Set the Angle

In these examples, I set the angle to 45 degrees using the bevel-cutting adjustment knob.

Power tools are no joke. Always use safety glasses and safe practices. Check this out for more tips on keeping your woodworking safe and fun: (click here).

I set a straightedge on a piece of scrap plywood and make a cut as shown.

Step 3: Make Set-up Guides for the Circular Saw

I used some scrap hardboard pieces about an inch longer than needed to reach the straightedge from the newly cut edge. I put them up against the straightedge and glued smaller pieces of hardboard underneath them up against the newly cut edge as shown.

Step 4: Use the Guides to Set Up the Straightedge for New Cuts

At this point, I'm still cutting scrap plywood to check the accuracy of my angle. I use a piece that is cut square and set the guides on the edge I want to cut, then locate my straightedge and clamp everything down. Make sure your piece overhangs your bench enough that your saw won't cut it.

Step 5: Make a Test Cut

Step 6: Check the Angle

In the first photo, I show a bundle of 1-inch (25mm) lengths of the scrap from a bevel cut (with a rubber band). Again, notice the pinwheel shape and the grain direction. This compounds the error, so I get a gap that is a multiple of the angular error. If I want to know how much error I have, I can measure the gap and divide by the number of pieces, in this case 8.

35 / 8 = 4.375

By the direction of the grain, I see I need to tip the saw an additional 4.375 degrees or so away from perpendicular. Of course that's more precise than I can measure, but you get the idea.

After I make the adjustment, I make another test cut.

In the second photo you see a bundle of scrap from a cut that is as close to 45 degrees as I expect to get.

Step 7: Cutting Beveled Edges With the Table Saw

You can also cut beveled edges with the table saw. I show a couple of examples, but unless your table saw is a Shopsmith like mine, your angle adjustment will probably look somewhat different. In any case, you can measure the accuracy of your result as explained in the earlier steps. I use the table saw for ripping and use the circular saw for cross-cutting, but you can also use a table saw for cross-cutting with a mitre gage and a big enough table for the board you want to cut.

Step 8: P.S.

If you like this style of step-by-step instruction, please share and subscribe so you'll be notified when I post more. If you have questions, please post them in the comments. Read about more of my woodworking projects and tools at ChipsWoodShop.com



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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    have you considered finishing the disk of the 8 pieces? I am thinking I would like it as a Christmas ornament.

    6 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    I am making one as soon as I have the time. Stain and a high gloss finish.


    Reply 2 years ago

    unfortunately i am spending all my time in the hospital fright now. My husband has been sick. It is too dark outside (not to mention cold) by the time I get home every day. Besides, my husband made me promise that I would not touch the table saw without a safety lesson first. I spend my days watching him sleep and looking for fun looking projects on Instructables. Little did you know that you are part of what is keeping me sane during all this. Thank you but maybe someone else can submit the project in the contest.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I'm sorry to hear about your tough time. I will be praying that your husband comes home soon to give you that table saw lesson!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you. I have so many projects on my list--he knows that he has to get better soon. He is improving every day--it is just slow.