Miter Cuts for Very Thick Solid Wood

In the small shop, crafting furniture from heavy stock can be a challenge. Here are suggestions. July 29, 2012

I run a small custom woodworking studio. My customers are increasingly seeking contemporary furniture, often with miter cuts along one edge to make "diving board" or "waterfall" style furniture. Anything deeper than 2" is a challenge for my table saw, or for my Festool TS 75. The table in the photo is exactly 2" thick, and only 11" deep, and it was all my equipment could handle. I would like to be able to bevel cut 3" thick wood, and make the cut at least 24" wide. Any thoughts on tools or techniques?

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor B:
Get a beam saw and put a good, carbide-tipped blade on it. Make a cutting guide out of plywood, and use the saw to cut the base right to the blade. I have used this type of setup for some fairly complex cuts, and you just need to go slow and set things up carefully for accurate cuts.

From contributor C:
I also have the TS 75 and I would make several passes with it. This should work as well with your table saw. Or make a cut as deep as you can and finish it off with hand tools and a sharp plane.

From contributor J:
Keep in mind that the thicker the wood, the more likely it is the miters will open up as the wood moves.

From contributor D:
Good heavy duty commercial tablesaw, I would think, is the best bet. Good bargains to be had these days as well.

From contributor J:
Avoid the headache - use veneer!

From contributor N:
You must be cutting it on a 3/4" sled with a 10" blade? Your best bet would be a sliding table saw that will take at least a 12" blade. It will make all of your work easier, more accurate, and safer. Minimax and Felder make good machines for small shops.

From contributor M:
Radial arm saws are pretty cool too. Remember those?

From Professor Gene Wengert, Sawing and Drying Forum technical advisor:
I also like a radial arm saw, but for wide cuts, you need a really long arm.

I think that a spline would be a good way to join the two pieces using a hot melt PUR so that it will give a bit before it shows an open joint. (Do not use excessive pressure.) Move the spline as far to the outside as possible as an opening on the inside is probably more acceptable than one on the top surfaces.

From contributor U:
I would second the vote for going to veneer as you start going thicker with the parts.