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Help with cutting very low miter angles on staves

Kyle Stubbins

PRO Member
Hi all;

I've been designing a table base for a client that wants to cover a well (42" in diameter) with a large oak barrel looking table. I'll attach the project.

I bought 65 board feet of 8/4 oak. So when I was designing, I tried to figure out the best way to cut up the wood for efficiency and to get the overall look I was after. I ended up with 90 segments (staves) to give me and edge length of 1-3/4", so I cut the 8/4 on edge into 3/4" strips. That gives me 2" wide strips, which I cut 42" long. I have 90 pieces like this.

The plan, if you look at the project files, is to create 4 staved rings to give it a "barrel shape". The darker rings (marked as African Blackwood, but they will be oak as well. It's just for visual reference.) are there simply so the staves don't align. They will be covered with steel rings (like a barrel), which will hide those seems and give the appearance of a single stave, top to bottom. That's why I cut 42" lengths. Each length will be marked and cut into 4 pieces, which I'll have to keep track of so the grain matches down the entire stave.

It won't end up on a lathe, but the plan is to hand (tool assisted) carve it into a more round, barrel-like shape.

So, where I'm at, and my question is, how to I cut a sub 1 degree miter angle on a stave? I need to cut 0.12, 0.25 and 0.37 degree miters (the 0.37 isn't as important as these are the spacer rings... I could play with the design on those to reduce pieces, etc. and get the miter angle above 1). My digital angle gauge is only a single digit after the decimal. I never really gave it a lot of thought while I was designing, I figured I'd work it out later. I really hope I don't end up regretting that with $1000 with of oak cut up.

If you have any suggestions, I'd really appreciate it! ;-)



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Super Moderator
Staff member
Hi Kyle:
It has been years since I have worked with staves. Looks like a fun project. I will have to give it some more thought on how to cut such small degree miters.

- You attached pdf files which are great to look at. It would be helpful if you posted the WTP file. That way the project can be brought into WTP for us to look at without having to recreate what you have done.

- the accent ring (blackwood) is only 1/2 " tall. It might make things easier for you to make those rings as a flat segment ring. The rings could be sanded to match the slope of the staves after construction.

Here is a link to a discussion of cutting staves for your consideration.

Kyle Stubbins

PRO Member
Sorry, should have thought of attaching the wtp file. I was also looking to see if I could export an image to show the vessel view as well, but I didn't see one.

Good idea for the accent rings. That simplifies it.

Thanks for the link. I read that one yesterday and was interested in the wedge method, but from what I read, it can only be used when your ring height is less than the height of your fully extended blade (~3"). I thought about compound rings for the accent rings, but what you suggest seems more simple.

Thanks for looking!


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Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the wtp file

You may need to build a compound miter sled to cut the staves. Here is a link to a plan.
it is for a 12 sided 50 degree. you would have to modify the plans for your situation.

Kyle Stubbins

PRO Member
Thanks for the link. I have a stave jig / sled that I use and don't really have any problems cutting them. It's just that I can't figure out how to measure less than 1 degree accurately to set the miter.

The staves for these were 1.1 degrees. Easy to set and cut.

Which brings me to another question (let me know if I should start a new topic). I've never used WTP to produce cutting specs for staves and wanted the make sure the miter angle is "per side". For example, the stave I have as a pattern in my picture is 1.1 degrees, as I write it. I set my sled to 1.1 and make the miter, then I *double* the miter (1.1 * 2 = 2.2), set my sled to that and make the cut on the other side.

I wanted to make sure WTP and I are speaking the same language and 0.25 is one side and I can double it to 0.5 for the second side.

Still doesn't really help me get accurate, but I think it gives me 2 options; adjust the design to see if I can get the miters to better numbers, such as 0.25 to 0.5, and I might be able to fake it by *roughly* setting 0.25, but what ever it ends up as it's the reference for doubling it to 0.5, which I can measure accurately. Still doesn't help for the 0.12, but maybe I can get that to 0.25 and at least it's half of the ones above. Maybe I can use that to get a reference to make a jig. Just throwing it all out there.

Oh, option B, buy a double digit angle guage.


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