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Old 11-18-2009, 07:56 PM   #1
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What Tool should I use for this?


I am resurfacing my fireplace with Tile and will be building the wood surround/mantle. See photo of design.

The apron (is that the right term for the wood centered above the firebox/below the mantle?) will have an arch and the arch will have trim on it. I've never done this before. This is my thinking -- please correct me if I'm crazy...

I'll cut a rectangular piece of oak plywood for the apron then screw a 1x6 oak board to it, draw on my arch and then cut both the apron and the trim piece. I'm wondering what will be the best tool to do this cut. I'm a gal and don't have the upper body strength you guys do so I really need to depend on a good power tool and not my brute strength .

I really have no one I can ask this question of so I asked someone at Lowe's. I'm not certain it is a good answer though. He said to use a jigsaw. What do you recommend? Suggestions? Thoughts? All is greatly appreciated! TIA Roxanne
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Old 11-18-2009, 08:24 PM   #2
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What Tool should I use for this?


A router and a mdf template would be the best with a topmounted bearing flush cut bit. Maybe a jigsaw to roughcut.

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Old 11-18-2009, 09:22 PM   #3
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What Tool should I use for this?


Quote:
A router and a mdf template would be the best with a topmounted bearing flush cut bit. Maybe a jigsaw to roughcut
How would you cut the template??

Freehand jigsaw is pretty rough. If you have some kind of flexible trim I suppose it would work. Hehe heh....he said wood work.
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:22 PM   #4
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What Tool should I use for this?


If you are looking to cut an arc, you can cut it with a circle cutting attachment for the router. There are many different models out there, or you can make your own circle cutting jig by using a spare router base attached to a 1x6 piece of wood. However, if you don't have a router, it won't do you much good. You can do a reasonable job with a jig saw with a fine tooth blade, however cut it a little big and hand sand down to the line using 80 grit paper to start, then finer paper to finish.
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:38 PM   #5
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What Tool should I use for this?


Here's a router circle jig in use. The more shallow the arc, the longer the jig.
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:58 PM   #6
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What Tool should I use for this?


Thanks all for responding to my query.

I have a router but have never had success using it as I find it takes more muscle/strength than I have to operate it.

In the past I have used my jigsaw like Daniel had suggested and with very good success however never with oak - just maple, pine, etc.

I've been told that oak is MUCH harder/more difficult to cut. I have no experience with oak to know if that is correct or not. Is it that much harder than maple?

I have to admit this arch thing has me a bit intimidated. I'm thinking I may give it a try on some scrap (non oak) wood to see how it goes.
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Old 11-19-2009, 09:21 PM   #7
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What Tool should I use for this?


Router, jig saw, drill whatever tool is being used slow and steady is the correct way, muscleing through a cut is not proper technique.
I understand what you are saying though. But with a router often times I will make multiple passes to perform certain cuts. The router can be a bit intimidating to use, but try not to avoid using it. A router has so many possible uses.

I think you have the right idea to make a few practice cuts. Get a feel for it, practice, have fun. Before you know it you will be sitting in front of your new fireplace!

Hard Maple is more difficult to cut than Oak and soft Maple should be similar to cutting Oak.
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:29 PM   #8
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What Tool should I use for this?


Thank you Armchair - so nice of you to reply with encouraging words

I don't let too much get the best of me, but between my carpel tunnel/wrists, arthritic hands and rotator cuff the router does me in. (Getting old sucks!) I still want to get the hang of it and be able to use it but I've been doing a bit too much so it'll have to wait for me.

Thanks again - Rox
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Old 11-22-2009, 07:02 PM   #9
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i would cut a template out of 1/4" masonite or plywood---easy to work with.

then use it as a template. attach it to your wood, cut out as close as you can to the template with a jigsaw then use a router with a bearing to follow your template for a perfect replica.
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Old 11-22-2009, 08:29 PM   #10
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What Tool should I use for this?


WHID,

Thanks, I have a paper template, thought I'd draw on the wood then cut. It sounds like your suggestion of 1/4" template would give a little something (other than good eye/steady hand/cooperative tool) for the jigsaw to ride against, thus aide in a better cut. Am I thinking right?

Ah, the router.. that sucker is HEAVY -- I just don't have the upper body strength to hold it for long, let alone guide it! Me is not big and strong like ox

I thought I'd cut with jigsaw, then sand for finished edge. Sounds like my idea might not be so good. I may have to find someone with router skill to hire this done. I KNOW I can't do it. Dang, I hate saying can't.
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Old 11-23-2009, 12:02 AM   #11
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What Tool should I use for this?


the 1/4" cuts easily with a jigsaw and sanding. Draw your template on the 1/4" then use jigsaw and sanding to get it to shape.

then use this to trace onto the wood you plan to use. use the jigsaw to get close to the line.

then use a bit like this one
http://www.sommerfeldtools.com/Patte...tinfo/151901B/

picture it upside down of how it is pictured on the link (how it will be in your router) The bearing you see will ride along your 1/4" template and make a perfect replica.

If you take the majority of the stock away with the jigsaw the router wont be to hard to hang on to.
Im sure there are some good links on youtube for using a router
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:27 AM   #12
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What Tool should I use for this?


or you could get crazy and get a router table. the router mounts upside down in the table and you just have to guide the wood your using across the table. 90% of the router work I do is on my router table.

if you have the plan drawn out I would find a local woodworker and have the run it acrossed their router then you can do the rest. Wish I was closer or you were doing this in JUNE. We are going camping in various parts of Michigan in the summer. Once the template is made it is about a 15 minute job to set up the router and make a replica.

search out a woodworker in your area. Im sure they would be willing to help out. You could defiantely do the rest

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Old 11-23-2009, 06:47 PM   #13
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What Tool should I use for this?


Ah, yes a table would make a world of difference!

I have sketches of several items I want to build for my garage to house my saw, mitre saw, band saw, drill press, router, etc etc. Maybe next spring I'll have time to work on them. I have to make everything so it can be rolled out to use and back when done as space is very limited. Right now I have to carry every item out, put it onto a folding table to use, then haul it back. Not very efficient but you do what you have to do, eh?

Thanks for taking the time to give me the steps -- that is really helpful. Hmmm Now you got me thinking maybe I can do it... even without a table???

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Old 11-23-2009, 07:41 PM   #14
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What Tool should I use for this?


Rox,

If you're carting tables and tools around as much as you describe, I bet you could handle the router without the table! Particularly following a template, it doesn't take much muscle to use. Sounds like you have the abililty to lift the router into place, which is most of the muscle effort needed. Rest is guiding it without too much pressure -- letting the bit do the work, and keeping the router pressed against the template (without tipping the router).

If doing a big piece, you might need a helper to hold an end, or just use clamps and some imagination; but you shouldn't need too much muscle to get this done.

I suggest giving it the ol' college try. You certainly seem to have the right can-do attitude, as evidenced by this thread and others you've posted.

Looking forward to seeing the results!
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:26 PM   #15
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What Tool should I use for this?


Okay, so Dan and WHID are ganging up on me, eh?

I promise I will give the router a try, but not for a while. I'm hobbling around, hurting from this tiling job.... killer! But tonight I finally finished laying the tile. I won't be able to get to the grout for several days... too much going on.

I'm sure in a week or so I'll be ready to tackle the next thing but for now... a little R&R

Thanks for all the encouragement, and I will post photos. Rox

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