MDB #1: Milling S3S ...yes, triangles.

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 1457 days ago 2049 reads 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of MDB series Part 2: Shave and a Cut - Cross Cut that is »

Disclaimer: This blog follows my Magen David Board that is already finished and posted here

In Highschool I always doodled (I still am). and one of my favorite things was to use the squares on the math papers to form different geometries – mostly with triangles. as I was playing along, I discovered that I could form a star of david (Magen David) and that formation has stuck with me ever since.

When I was introduced to the idea of making cutting boards out of wood, I always wanted to incorporate my sketches and designs into that.

I finally got a chance to put my ideas into motion, and came up with the following design in SketchUp:
original design

SketchUp TIP: Using components you can quickly see how many of a certain component you have in the model by selecting the component. In the Entity Info, it’ll clearly show you that the selected item is a component, and will also show you how many of that such components are in the model.

Using the above model, and the above Tip, I was quickly able to tell that I needed 80 mitered cubes, and 60 regular cubes to make the board. Now it was just a matter of getting it milled.

I figured since the board is mirrored left<->right, I could make strips for half a board twice as thick, and prior to final glue up rip them in half to quicken things up and make alignment easier.

This is where the trouble started :).

All the lumber that I have consists of cutoffs and shorts that were left over from a shop that closed, and since I wanted to get the largest possible geometry, my options were rather limited. I did not have full width boards that I could easily bevel rip to size, but had narrow boards that I could only bevel rip in the middle – with the hopes of using both parts – I was that limited with lumber….yeah.

My next mistake was approaching this project with automation, and mass production in mind. instead of making many small and clean triangles and glueing them one at a time, I figured I could created long beveled glue ups and quicken the creation of the triangles geometries. looking back – considering my source of lumber, I should have cut a massive amount of perfectly shaped triangles and with patience glue them one at a time.

So, after jointing and planing all the lumber I had could yield squares larger than 1” I bevel ripped them to get the triangles. I left a bit extra width on both sides (as much as I could) as I knew those rips would not be clean and will be in need of a cleanup:

Next was the attempt for cleanup. I made the following sled for the planer which would hold the parts at 45 to plane the top flat while still keeping the essential 45 angle:

As you can see, I was focusing on making things fast, dirty, but efficient. unfortunately this was more dirty and fast than efficient as the lack of full support for the parts made the planer lift the parts as they passed the 2nd roller. so my cleaned and flat planed parts – were not so clean, not so flat, and well … not so so.

All aside, and for lack of any additional lumber suitable for this, I decided to move forward and attend any parts that require it as they call for it. I glued up the beveled strips and got this material that I will work with:

Lessons learned:
  • Do not Mass Produce a One-Of design – not until you are actually mass producing them :)
  • Planer sled should have full base support – I will update my sled to accommodate for that.
  • Glueing up beveled strips requires a lot of patience, self control – OR – a set of precut cauls that would hold the parts at the set angle – I didn’t have such, and had to rely on patience and self control – good thing I have those at hand, but for future use – I’ll make myself some guides.

Next up, Super Cuts!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

13 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11639 posts in 2290 days

#1 posted 1457 days ago

So far , so good …keep it coming : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View patron's profile


12964 posts in 1943 days

#2 posted 1457 days ago

well done , sharon ,

and lesson learned and conveyed ,

thanks .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6646 posts in 2581 days

#3 posted 1457 days ago

Hi Sharon,

Nice work! If I needed to glue up these triangles, I would approach it the same way we make mitered posts. Lay the pieces to be glued together, edge to edge, on blue painters tape. Brush on the glue, and pull the pieces together with the blue tape.

I did a blog on this method a couple years ago. I hope this helps you out.

Very cool sketch up work.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2250 days

#4 posted 1457 days ago

Thanks Lee… now I DID glue up mitered posts before with blue tape… not sure why I didn’t use it this time around – would make the alignment nightmare go away :)... next time I’ll have to remember

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 1897 days

#5 posted 1457 days ago

Sharon I actually bought clamps for gluing two 45’s together.
They were a bit expensive, but they are handy to have.
I posted a review-

They work perfect. No slipping and sliding, dead on glue ups.


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2250 days

#6 posted 1457 days ago

sweet Lisa- thats exactly what I was thinking about – didn’t know it’s commecrially available (although – why wouldn’t it). I was thinking about making wooden version of the clamp faces that will fit on a regular clamp.

those miters on your post look so good.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jack1's profile


1907 posts in 2629 days

#7 posted 1457 days ago

Thanks for sharing this. The next time I screw up will probably be tomorrow… If we all did it right the first time no one would bother trying new things.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 1897 days

#8 posted 1457 days ago

Thanks Sharon.
I had forgotten about these, I will have to dig them out and do a board.
Thanks for bringing up the topic.
And thanks for the sketch up TIP : )


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2250 days

#9 posted 1457 days ago

True that Jack – what I like about woodworking – is that even when (and you do) screw up, you can move on, and that imperfection becomes a perfect one of a kinda product.

for what it’s worth – I like to aim for perfection, but I am well aware it is nothing but the light the guides us through – the end result, is somewhat different at times.

Lisa- you are welcome. I’ll probably try to come up with something at some point and post my doings.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Karson's profile


34860 posts in 3002 days

#10 posted 1456 days ago


Thanks for the tour and thought process.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2250 days

#11 posted 1456 days ago

My pleasure Karson

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4340 posts in 1638 days

#12 posted 1456 days ago

I recognise the ends of those triangles, lol. Takes me back to the snakes board!

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


112000 posts in 2179 days

#13 posted 1456 days ago

That’s a wonderful a design and a great approach. Look forward to the rest of the story Sharon keep up the good work.

-- Custom furniture

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