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Cutting kerfs to curve wood

17351 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  conscious

I'm building an oval shaped table and am planning to put a skirt around the bottom side of the table top. I will be cutting out two matching oval plywood forms that the skirt willl attach to as well as provide support for the four legs. I've never built a curved table before, so I was planning to cut saw kerfs on the back side of the skirt material with about 3/16" between kerf cuts and leaving about 3/32" of the face material. Will the kerfs being this close be enough to leave a smooth curve to the finished skirt?

The table is a 36" X 24" oval with the skirt set in about 2 1/2" from the tops edge.
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granted, the wood fibers are not created equal in plywood, but they vary in "real" wood too. took a master class at a woodshow and you basically want to make it wider than you need it to end up at, and if you bend and glue it up in a form you want to make sure you have some really strong and perfectly 90 degree metal (preferably) braces to form your curve. build it tighter than you need by a little because it will spring when you release it. don't forget to put waxed paper down on places where glue might stick to things you don't want it to. (table, clamps, etc)

i've had some decent luck with kerfing, but you have to keep the kerfs consistent. this way you also have the ability to rip it to your width, at least it doesn't seem to get out of hand until you build up three layers. again, that is what happened to me, others have no doubt had other varieties of fun.

as far as i can tell, i prefer the glued up resawn strips, but you do need to rip it - which can be interesting on a table saw and jointer to get the real world to cooperate with the theories, and do so safely. the kerfed wood is quite a bit easier and if it is going hard, think about two layers of 1/4 or 3/8 rather than going with 1/2 or 3/4.
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