A bevel is one of two possible angle cuts a woodworker can make. Unlike a miter, which is an angle cut across the face of a board, a bevel changes the angle of the board edge. Woodworkers bevel boards or sheets of plywood along their lengths or on their ends in order to join them to create geometrical shapes, and they also bevel board edges for purely decorative reasons. It is difficult to cut bevels with any degree of precision while using hand tools. Consequently, woodworkers turn to power tools like the table saw, compound miter saw and router.
Bevel a board or sheet of plywood along its length with a table saw. The blade angle is adjustable for this purpose.
Change the blade angle by turning the angle adjustment control on the front of the machine until the arrow points to the correct angle. Many saw gauges aren't very accurate, so if you need an exact bevel, it's a good idea to check the blade angle with a protractor or sample of wood that is beveled to the correct angle. Unplug the saw when you do this for safety.
Set the fence so that the blade tilts away from it. If you set it on the other side of the blade, wood can bind at the point where the blade intersects the table, and the wood may kick back.
Measure the width of the cut from the fence to the far side of the blade. Tighten the fence and turn on the saw. Push the board about three-quarters of the way through the blade by hand, then use a push-stick to push it the rest of the way.
Bevel board ends with a compound miter saw or a radial arm saw. Loosen the angle adjustment nut on the saw, pivot the blade until the arrow points to the appropriate angle, and tighten the nut. Hold the board against the saw fence and align the cut-line with the saw blade.
Turn on the saw and make the cut, either by lowering the compound miter saw blade or pulling the radial arm saw blade toward you.
Use a rotary or multipurpose tool fitted with a routing bit as an alternative to a table saw to make bevel cuts along the length of a piece of lumber. Choose a chamfer-style routing bit with the angle you need.
Clamp the board to a workbench with the edge to be beveled facing you. Hold the tool at one end of the board, turn it on, press it against the board edge and move it steadily toward the other end. Move the tool in the direction that allows the bit to bite into the wood as it spins.
Tips & Warnings
- You can also change the blade angle on a circular saw to cut a bevel. The cut usually isn't any more difficult to make than a square cut, but it won't be as accurate as the one produced by a stationary tool.
- Don't try to bevel the ends of solid boards by routing them. Routing bits bite unevenly into end grain and chip the wood.
Things You'll Need:
- Table saw
- Compound miter saw
- Radial arm saw
- Rotary or multipurpose tool
- Chamfer bit
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