Sunday, January 4, 2009

Creating A Cove

The original sawbuck table (pictured at right) has a raised panel on the drawer front, comprised of sloped edges that rise up to a decoratively-shaped field where the date and drawer pull are found.

All of the raised panels I've ever made have had flat slopes, but the sawbuck's are concave (cove profile).

If you don't have a moulding plane that matches the cove's shape (raising hand) and believe it's too dangerous a task to be performed on a table saw (raising both hands), then you need to get resourceful.

It's all about stock removal. How you achieve it depends on the tools you have and your personal preference.

The top edge of the slopes sits a bit lower than the decorative field, so I reached for a tool I'd never used before, a Record 043, to define the depth of the recess and the width of the slopes.

Even though I spent time sharpening the Record's blade and flattening the fence and depth stop, it worked very poorly—tearing up the wood like kids unwrapping Christmas gifts. It was difficult to keep the fence tight against the edge, due I think to the type of wood—curly cherry.

So I employed my Sargent combination plane, which worked superbly.

From there, a block plane, moulding plane, rasp, scraper, and sanding block finished the profile. Some of these steps could have been skipped, but I was figuring this out as I went along.

I'm sure there are a number of other ways to create a cove so feel free to share your own creative methods.