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Make Cove Raised Panel Cabinet Doors with Your Table Saw


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Cut the Coves
Closeup of the Cove Cut

Closeup of the Cove Cut

(c) 2009 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.
After running a series of test cuts, it's time to cut the four coves into the face of the panel. Return the saw blade to a point where it is just slightly above the surface of the table saw. Then place the face of the panel to be raised flat on the table, with the edge to be cut against the temporary fence. Turn on the saw and ease the edge through the blade. Lift the panel off of the table saw, re-position the panel so as to cut the second of the four sides, and repeat until the first cove cut has been made in all four sides.

Raise the blade slightly and cut all four sides again. Continue the process until you reach a depth of 1/4" on the cove cuts. (You may need to make eight or nine passes to reach the desired depth.) Ideally, this should leave 1/4" remaining for the raised panel to fit into the slots on the rails and stiles. When you get close to the appropriate depth, test the fit into the groove, continuing to cut the cove until the fit is clean but not too snug.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when cutting coves on a table saw in this manner. To adjust the shape of the cove, adjust the angle of the temporary fence. A 90-degree angle (perpendicular to the saw blade) will produce a wider cove, where angles more acute than 45-degrees will produce narrower coves.

Also, when making your test cuts, be sure that the shoulder of the cove (that will eventually fit into the grooves of the rails and stiles) is parallel to the face of the board. If the temporary fence is set too far forward or back from the center of the blade's arbor, then the shoulder of the cove may be angling up or down slightly. A move of the fence in the appropriate direction will solve the problem.
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