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Bevel Basics and Beyond

Woodworkers have used bevels for centuries, and with good reason. This simple hand tool transfers and duplicates angles with dead-on precision. In this article, we ll show you how to set the bevel for angles taken off workpieces, full-sized plans, and written instructions.

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How a bevel helps you install trim
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How a bevel helps you install trim

Woodworkers have used bevels for centuries, and with good reason. This simple hand tool transfers and duplicates angles with dead-on precision. In this article, we'll show you how to set the bevel for angles taken off workpieces, full-sized plans, and written instructions.

If all wall, tabletop, and cabinet corners measured exactly 90°, installing trim moldings would be a snap. You would simply set your saw for a 45° angle and start cutting. Of course, few corners meet this description. Fortunately, with a bevel you can duplicate any angle and transfer it to a sheet of paper. Then, with a few simple procedures you can cut matching mitered trim pieces. Here's how.

First, you need to "bisect" the angle, meaning that you divide the angle into two equal angles. To do this, loosen the bevel's wing nut, lay the body along one edge of the corner, and position the blade along the other edge of the corner as shown above. When the bevel hugs the edges, tighten the wing nut. (You can do the same on inside corners, too.)


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Now, align the edge of a sheet of paper with the straightedge of a work surface, and transfer the bevel's angle to the paper as shown left. (You can mark the line using either side of the bevel's blade.)


Continued on page 2:  Bisect angle with a compass

 

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Comments (4)
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pf2 wrote:

Easiest and quickest way to bisect an angle on paper is to fold the paper such that side A lines up with side C. The fold will be at B.

8/1/2013 12:19:55 PM Report Abuse
BobWoodworker wrote:

Very useful explanation of how to determine and reproduce an existing angle. Thank you!

9/16/2010 05:21:16 PM Report Abuse
Jig User wrote:

Great tip, all woodworkers should know some basic geometry. There is probably some $500 tool out there that will create this angle for you.

2/25/2010 04:07:44 PM Report Abuse
ironhat wrote:

This is one of those operations that beginning to intermediate WW'ers sometimes never learn because it's assumed to be too basic for magazine coverage. I, for one, am glad for the review.

12/17/2009 07:36:58 PM Report Abuse

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