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post #1 of 5 Old 12-10-2008, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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newby with a question

I am new to the site and a total newby to woodworking. I have recently been acquiring some tools and am in the process of so very basic use of the equipment. I have never been arounf tools very much but I truly appreciate fine workmanship and since Iam 60 I need a hobby to keep me busy in a few years. I do have a question that I have been pondering for quite a while and hope someone can help. I saw a cabinet in an antique shop that had a top with a sort of barrel vault appearance that was essentially made by joining 14 inch strips of 1/2 inch stock. I looked at both the inside and the outside of this and the joints were spot on, and I began wondering how anyone can calculate the angles of each strip that actually had to be tapered so the outside and inside of each piece of wood had perfect fit. Iknow this involves a fair amount of geometry but still, it is a question that I would like to know. I used some scrap and a chop saw to cut 1 1/2 inch pieces of trim with a 5 degree taper on each side and Iwas able to get a nice 180 degree arc with 2o pieces of the scrap , but I have no idea how to actually know how big the radius will be other than trial and error. I know I am rambling on, but this is puzzling me. Any info would be appreciated. jim
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-11-2008, 04:13 AM
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Coopers and Barrel makers used to have a long apprenticeship to get this right. Sure there will be a vid on utube somewhere.
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-11-2008, 07:07 AM
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This is really a geometry question as opposed to woodworking. Do you have a friend that is good in geometry? Sitting down with him/her and a piece of paper and a protractor and a compass would be the easiest way to learn. Stated very simply you have to draw an arc of how many degrees that you want the curve. Then divide that arc into how many small pieces of wood you want to use. You divide the degrees in the arc by the number of pieces of wood and you have the angle of each. These would then be cut on your table saw.

Making that barrel is more complicated because they are using wood that is already curved.

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post #4 of 5 Old 12-11-2008, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks George. I havwe gone to a geometry website and re-learned how to calculate this.
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-15-2008, 09:21 AM
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Welcome to the forum. Red

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