How to cut these post details? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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How to cut these post details?

Hello,

I'm new here but not new to woodworking. I usually work with sheet goods and stuff under 8/4. Our mailbox post is rotting and I'm not about to pay $250.00 for what literally amounts to a 10' pressure treated 6x6 with 2 dado cuts and some detail that I can make and set in a weekend. Our HOA demands a particular style as I'm sure most do. The detail at the top of the post is similar to the attached picture (almost identical, just a tighter radius at the top).

The semicircle notch on ours is 2", which I'm guessing is done by router with a round nose bit. One could also clamp the to another piece of stock and use a deep hole cutter and put the bit right on seam. Either way, easy peasy lemon squeezy...

The rounded bevel/chamfer at the cap is what has me baffled. I'm guessing a bandsaw was involved, but this is going to be heavy 6' post. I know that there are longer reciprocating/jigsaw blades, but I'm guessing they flex and drift too much to make this kind of cut.

I could also remove as much scrap as possible and sand it on the disc/drum/belt sander, but that seems like a massive waste of time.

I'm sure that the actual answer is simple, which is why I'm not seeing it. Suggestions anyone?
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post #2 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 12:57 PM
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I've seen the flat staves cut like that with a dedicated guillotin machine. The blade was mounted on a cam and made that cut. I imagine that there is some machine driven device for this nowadays.

I think you probably should design a top that is more easily made with your current equipment.

But here is results for "French gothic fence post machine". Some are listed. But it is not going to be cost-effective.

The machines appear to be in an Amish factory. I don't see this as a home owner produced item.

https://www.google.com/search?q=fren...hrome&ie=UTF-8

Last edited by Packard; 04-18-2019 at 01:04 PM.
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post #3 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 01:09 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Make them separate pieces .....

Using a bandsaw would be easier IF the pieces were a managable length, say 18" or less. A router would not be my choice. The separate pieces could be tenoned together or doweled with a reveal/parting line to conceal the joint.


Same topic started here before:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/h...st-caps-53814/

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #4 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 01:10 PM
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I need to make a couple posts just like that. 7-1/4 circular saw for the arcs. That will be a multiple of 8 cuts, two for each side, so maybe 16 or 24. After the circ saw work, then finish the cuts with a sawzall, then belt sander. Lastly, hole cutter for the scallops. It'll be fast. It ain't cabinetry.
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post #5 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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@Packard, thanks for the quick response. I've definitely seen those.

I'm still determined to do this myself. I'm going to try carving up some rough-cut 4x4 this weekend with a 6" jigsaw blade and see what I can do. That should give me an idea of deflection. Worst case is I have an extra blade laying around best case, it works.

The post top detail is different from any of the prefab gothic caps I've seen in that it comes to a point and has no other detail.

That same treatment also appears on both ends of the mailbox support/crossbar as well as some fancy detail on the decorative brace that looks like a colonial door casing profile enlarged.

If I were to buy 3 caps, I'd already be about $45.00 in without any materials for the actual post. Money aside, I'm doing this to do it. LOL, I'm doing it myself even If I have to remove material with a drill or circular saw and chisel it.
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post #6 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 01:39 PM
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General way to do it:

Semi-circular notch could be made with forestner bit, clamp two posts together and drill, turn and drill again, etc., if it is not a complete half circle add a sacrificial spacer between them. Tops would be cut on a band saw.

How you do it will depend on the tools you have available.
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post #7 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 01:56 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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If you had one of these ....

On large timbers, you move the saw, not the timber. Falbergsaws our member, make these unique bandsaws for making complex cuts on large timbers:


http://falbergsaws.com/index.html

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post #8 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
On large timbers, you move the saw, not the timber. Falbergsaws our member, make these unique bandsaws for making complex cuts on large timbers:


http://falbergsaws.com/index.html

@woodnthings, don't make me want to buy more tools! My dinosaur craftsman bandsaw could make the cuts... I can see myself clamping the post to the outfeed table, leveling the floor, and rolling the saw around on casters... LOL!

Too bad the handheld portable metal bandsaws we use for conduit and pipe can't cut these curves. The capacity is there.
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post #9 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankC View Post
General way to do it:

Semi-circular notch could be made with forestner bit, clamp two posts together and drill, turn and drill again, etc., if it is not a complete half circle add a sacrificial spacer between them. Tops would be cut on a band saw.

How you do it will depend on the tools you have available.
@FrankC, I agree. Just need someone to show me how to squeeze the fish. LOL. There has to be a way to manhandle this thing around. Multiple cuts with circular saw and then hitting it with the sander would work too, as suggested above. Not sure a 12" blade will cut all of the way through, could just feed it through the table saw at multiple angles clamped to sled and supported by roller stand.
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post #10 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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@Packard,

I forgot to mention, these aren't Amish made. They're mass produced by a business using tools that fit in a garage or small shop. The difference between them and us is that they know of an easy and reproducible way to make these cuts and we don't.

Most of the HOA's send people to the same shop here in Indy, which happens to be an expensive place to buy posts because of all of the new developments and the fact that their nearest competitor is an hour away (i.e. whatever the market will bear). Everyone who makes these has the same templates on their website, generally the same stock photos, and can look up your style by subdivision name. I think they're the mailbox post mafia. LMAO

I'd actually found my post for $100.00 less out-of-state and was gong to buy it until they refused to ship unassembled... which tripled the cost.

I'm not starting a business, although I'll probably make 2 or 3 in case mine is ran over and to give to my neighbor to replace his since he's a heck of a nice guy... So, efficient and reproducible aren't really concerns for me. Fun, however is mandatory!
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post #11 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone who replied, you've given me some solid ideas. I'm going to give this a shot this weekend and post some pictures of the results!
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post #12 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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This post cap is exactly the shape. Just FYI
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post #13 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 02:57 PM
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is your final going to be 4x4 or 6x6 ?
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post #14 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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@unburled,

Has to be 6x6. I think I could probably manhandle a 4x4 on the bandsaw.

I'll let you know how it all works out. I don't have any date by which it has to be done, I'm more interested in how easily I can accomplish it.
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post #15 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 03:59 PM
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Cutting the top on a bandsaw is not that difficult, the curve is not that great so the timber doesn't have to be swung that far. I would use an outfield table with a pipe fastened on top if it for the timber to slide across.

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post #16 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 04:04 PM
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i'm still debating 4x4 or 6x6 for here. they'll be gate posts. so just 2-off here. so I'll just do it. i'd rather just cut square then build custom lights to go on top, but she's of other mind (so far :))
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post #17 of 68 Old 04-18-2019, 06:34 PM
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The real question is how many posts will you be making? Crude methods of making the posts could be very labor intensive.

There are a number of different ways that cut could be done on the top of 6x6 posts. You could make multiple cross cuts with a circular saw of varying depths and finish the cut with a gouge chisel. I don't know if you can get 5 1/2" depth of cut to use a forstner bit. There are large router bits that would do that but they have large prices to go with them. If you have a radial arm saw they make a molding cutter which you could make the cut. The cutters are only 1" wide but you could make two cuts.

The acorn shape top could be done with a sawzall and a belt sander. Shape it as best you can and finish it with a belt sander with a coarse belt. The rough shape could also be done with a carving blade on a angle grinder. It's the blade that looks like a chain saw blade wrapped around a wheel.
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post #18 of 68 Old 04-19-2019, 05:32 AM
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I made a mailbox post from 6x6 cedar with cedar 2x6's on either side, with stainless steel through studs to hold them. After six years, it is drooping a bit. I wish I had cut tight-fitting rabbets in the post to hold the 2x6's better. My top was just a pyramid, so it was easier than your top.
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post #19 of 68 Old 04-19-2019, 08:47 AM
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I did the same shape for a mail box on a 4x4 pressure treated. On a drill press...used a forsnter bit for the radius and finished with a drum sander. Marked lines on all four sides for the pointed top...roughed the shape with a chisel, then finished with a hand plane (skewed at 45 degrees) planning from side to side (not down the length).

I spent the most time wrestling the 4x4 on the drill press...but the chisel and plane work went fast.
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post #20 of 68 Old 04-19-2019, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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I watched a youtube video of a guy using a cheap walmart black and decker jigsaw cutting 6+ inch stock with a bosch 9" blade. I think that's actually going to be the ticket. Stopping by big box to pick one up on the way home tonight. I just need some dry weather to go outside and make a template.

@Steve Neul, 3 at the most. 2 for me and one for the guy next door. I could use a drill, chisel, and sander to do 3 of them. They don't have to be precise as long as it looks presentable. I was just curious about how to do it quickly with my old delta or other power tools given the weight of the 6x6 timber at 54" - 60" long.

I still need to pick up a 2" roundnose bit. I see some for less than $15.00 on amazon. Doesn't have to be carbide for < 10 minutes of use.
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