Tapering a thin piece - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-18-2020, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Tapering a thin piece

I’m planning (hoping) to taper a 1” wide piece of ebony. The piece I’m starting with is already tapered, but one side is rough.

The piece is currently about 40” long and tapers from 3/16” to 1/16” at the narrow end.

I want the resulting piece to taper from 1/8” to basically nothing over a length of 31”

I expect to cut a taper on a separate board, attach the ebony to it and then cut the taper.

I’m looking for any suggestions/tips/advice on:

How do I attach the ebony to the other board? It needs to be held well enough that it doesn’t come loose during machining, but I do need to get it apart later.

How should I machine it? Ebony has a tendency to splinter, so I’m a little hesitant to run it through the planer. That said, my planer does have a shelix cutterhead, so maybe I get away with it?

I’d welcome any thoughts on how to pull this off.
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-18-2020, 09:20 AM
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Are you wanting to attach the smooth side and machine the rough side? If that's the case I would use blue tape and CA glue.

Here's a quick video if you're not familiar with this method -

David
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-18-2020, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by difalkner View Post
Are you wanting to attach the smooth side and machine the rough side? If that's the case I would use blue tape and CA glue.
...snip...
David
Nice trick. I will definitely use this in the future. I have both products, but the CA is in much smaller quantity. I'll find the stuff shown in the video or something similar.

I took some notice of his comment of not using too much CA, however, and that there did appear to be some on the right end of the workpiece after he took the tape off. See photo clipped from the video.

Residues on the workpiece would not work well for many projects.
Emphasizes the need to be careful about how much CA is used.

Also interesting is the accelerator he used. I have some, but in a small pump aerosol, consistent with the size/quantity of CA that I have/use. (Holdover from ancient days of balsa model airplane days.)

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post #4 of 17 Old 02-18-2020, 09:56 AM
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A drum sander would be the best machine for this IMO. Double sided tape will hold well enough. If I didn't have a sander I would use a hand plane.

The one time I tried the CA/tape trick with a router task turned into disaster. Maybe I didn't do it right.

Robert

Last edited by DrRobert; 02-18-2020 at 10:13 AM.
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-18-2020, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
A drum sander would be the best machine for this. Double sided tape will hold well enough.

The one time I tried the CA/tape trick turned into disaster. Maybe I didn't do it right.
"drum sander" ...

If you have one. I don't and won't until I get a bigger shop.

What was the disaster? Use too much? Got it on other stuff? Curious as I want to try this method and being forewarned is good.

Rick

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post #6 of 17 Old 02-19-2020, 09:27 AM
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post #7 of 17 Old 02-19-2020, 10:49 AM
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Be aware that different brands of tape have different holding strength, we use carpet tape to fasten carpet pads to our wooden stair treads for our dog to get traction, a white colored brand will release from the tread quite easily when we change it, a brown colored brand we used is almost impossible to remove.

If the tape has too great of a holding strength the very thin end may break when removing it so it may be wise to check it with scrap first.

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post #8 of 17 Old 02-19-2020, 10:55 AM
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Personally, I'd use a long strip of double sided tape (the thin type, not the foam) to hold the ebony to your pre-tapered "carrier" board. I'd use featherboards before & after the blade, & use a good push block, i.e., Grr-Ripper, to keep the whole thing snug against the fence while I made the cut on the ebony.

When I've used the double sided tape for similar processes, a good squeeze with clamps, vise, or whatever, can help ensure good contact between the tape & workpieces.

If the tape proves to be too grippy when you try & separate the pieces later, a heat gun would probably help, then some solvent to remove any residue.

Just my $.02. Good luck!
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-19-2020, 10:59 AM
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Piece is 1 inches wide. You can make a drum sander with drill press, sanding cylinder, and fence. Use double stick turners tape to mount ebony to tapered holder, not blue tape and CA. It come apart later, but start on fat part and use care on zero thickness part.

Run drill press on slow speed. Pull board through sander next to fence against cylinder rotation direction. Take many thinnest possible passes. Beware for kickback and stand out of the way. Have padded backstop in case cylinder grabs and throws piece, but if your passes are thin, this wont happen.
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post #10 of 17 Old 02-19-2020, 11:44 AM
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Exclamation Separating the piece afterwards ....?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevedore View Post
Personally, I'd use a long strip of double sided tape (the thin type, not the foam) to hold the ebony to your pre-tapered "carrier" board. I'd use featherboards before & after the blade, & use a good push block, i.e., Grr-Ripper, to keep the whole thing snug against the fence while I made the cut on the ebony.

When I've used the double sided tape for similar processes, a good squeeze with clamps, vise, or whatever, can help ensure good contact between the tape & workpieces.

If the tape proves to be too grippy when you try & separate the pieces later, a heat gun would probably help, then some solvent to remove any residue.

Just my $.02. Good luck!

Yep, that double sided sticky tape can be a bear to separate. Especially in this case where there is a taper to zero thickness, it may just break off. It would probably be best to make a catch edge or lip on the thick end, on the pre-tapered board to prevent the Ebony piece from moving in that direction rather than counting solely on the tape to hold it in position. My experience with sticky tape is that it lives up to it's name..... LOL.

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 #11 of 17 Old 02-19-2020, 12:28 PM
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Quickstep, Here is my way of making very accurate wedges for hand planes. In your case... the jig would be longer, but the principle is the same. and will cut a taper ending at flush if needed.
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post #12 of 17 Old 02-19-2020, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmercer_48083 View Post
Quickstep, Here is my way of making very accurate wedges for hand planes. In your case... the jig would be longer, but the principle is the same. and will cut a taper ending at flush if needed.

Very nice, Gary. I have a couple of those digital angle gauges. They work well.



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post #13 of 17 Old 02-20-2020, 06:04 PM
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Count me out on this one.
I would not trust the adhesive power on masking tape to hold a woodturning to a wood chuck or a template for template routing.
Then again, it would never occur to me to use 2 sided tape for template routing. An accident waiting to happen.

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post #14 of 17 Old 02-20-2020, 06:20 PM
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Well, you just need to experiment then ^

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Count me out on this one.
I would not trust the adhesive power on masking tape to hold a woodturning to a wood chuck or a template for template routing.
Then again, it would never occur to me to use 2 sided tape for template routing. An accident waiting to happen.

Get a roll of carpet tape or other double sided tape of a known brand and stick two piece of 1/2" ply together and press them down. Use as much or as little tape as you think appropriate. Maybe make two long strips and another with smaller patches. Now try to pry or pull them apart. I'll betcha you will have a tough time. Much less for than a bearing bit would have against the template edge.... that's my experience at least.

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 #15 of 17 Old 02-20-2020, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Get a roll of carpet tape or other double sided tape of a known brand and stick two piece of 1/2" ply together and press them down. Use as much or as little tape as you think appropriate. Maybe make two long strips and another with smaller patches. Now try to pry or pull them apart. I'll betcha you will have a tough time. Much less for than a bearing bit would have against the template edge.... that's my experience at least.
I wrote too quickly and made a mistake. That tends to happen when my internet keeps kicking in and out. Then it synchronizes with my brain kicking in and out. Anyway, what I said was "it would never occur to me to use 2 sided tape for template routing. An accident waiting to happen." What I meant to say was "it would never occur to me to use masking tape for template routing.An accident waiting to happen." In the past, I have used 2 sided tape in wood turnings. I just would never try it with masking tape and CA glue. Double sided carpet tape is very tenacious.
I just gotta stay off of here on my slow internet days - which is most of the time. Living in a state park is great, but the internet always sucks. I guess the carriers are not that concerned to set up some extra towers in out of the way places.

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post #16 of 17 Old 02-20-2020, 10:23 PM
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Back on topic, if I am reading the original post correctly..............I would edge glue the workpiece to a scrap of wood. Do my tapering or whatever, then run it through the table saw and separate the two.

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post #17 of 17 Old 02-20-2020, 10:45 PM
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This is very easy to do with a hand plane if the piece is longer than you need, which yours is. If you plane right to left, set the thin end at the left end of the bench. Clamp the thick end to the bench way back at the thick end. Then just plane right to left--thick to thin. If the finish is rough, turn the piece over. The plane is pulling the wood into tension, so it won't buckle. I don't work with ebony, but I've planed hard maple to a tissue thin point this way. A #4 or #5 plane works well. Practice on a scrap piece. You can plane a straight taper any length and taper with a little practice.
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