Double Bevel frustrations

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Project by Philip posted 01-21-2012 01:47 AM 4596 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Double Bevel frustrations
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These are test pieces to try and hone the double bevel technique.

I have a plywood birdsmouth set at an 8 degree angle and I cut out the design with a .016” blade in a fretsaw.

For some reason I can’t seem to dial it in. The maple inset in walnut is too loose and visa versa. The instructions I have are to shim one way or the other but that seems like it would only go to one extreme or the other and I want to be able to use both pieces.

Is this problem caused by the thickness of my pieces? (about 1/8”) I should probably build a birdsmouth that can be adjusted to any angle…then again I may as well give up double bevel and use the boulle technique with Shipwrights chevalet!

-- I never finish anyth

12 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3774 days

#1 posted 01-21-2012 01:55 AM

Interesting design , I hope you get it worked out.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View KnotCurser's profile


2027 posts in 3265 days

#2 posted 01-21-2012 02:45 AM

Good start – the idea, as I understand it, is that you won’t be able to use both pieces.

The piece on the top will slip into the piece underneath it with no gaps. Try a 2-3 degree bevel for a quarter inch thick piece and see what happens.

BTW, the bevel should ALWAYS face towards the center of your piece.


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View shipwright's profile (online now)


8162 posts in 2995 days

#3 posted 01-21-2012 02:50 AM

You can’t use both parts with double bevel.The price you pay for one set fitting perfectly is that the other set will have a two x kerf gap.
If you want to use both, your best bet is Boulle style where you will get a “perfect” fit but you will have a one x kerf width all around. This is often useful with a contrasting filler as a “trap line” or can be completely lost with a neutral filler.
Membership in the chevalet club is open if you decide ;-).

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View SteveMI's profile


1123 posts in 3491 days

#4 posted 01-21-2012 03:02 AM

This is on my list of things to try. I would think that the angle would be different for each thickness.

For 1/4” material, I have seen it recommended to use 2 – 3 degrees.

Fine Woodworking had an article May/June 1995 on it and that author recommended “a jeweler’s saw or a scroll saw, use size 2/0 (2/0, not 2).” and “If I’m cutting 1/16-in.-thick veneer… I tilt.. 8°”.

Hope that helps.

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3233 days

#5 posted 01-21-2012 04:33 AM

I use a scroll saw for my double bevel inlays. If you decrease the angle, it will recess the inside piece down further into the outside piece. If you increase the angle, it will raise the center piece up. You have to cut in a clockwise rotation on every piece. If you start out on a counter-clock wise motion, continue it. DO NOT SWITCH! I usually set my scroll saw table at about a 2 to 3 degree angle. I use a 2/0 double skip blade. The angle of your cut depends on the thickness of your wood. Make several small test cuts to ensure that you have the correct angle. I hope this works out! Take a look at my projects. I have done a number of these. Also, look at this blog.

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View mauibob's profile


236 posts in 3264 days

#6 posted 01-21-2012 05:08 AM

Hi Philip. For 1/8” pieces, your bevel angle is much too large. I typically do all my double bevel marquetry designs with 3/32” veneers, and use a bevel angle of 4 degrees. For 1/8”, you will need to go slightly below 4 degrees. Just remember, that even a tiny change in angle at 4 degrees can be a LARGE percentage change!

I would try 4 degrees, and then fine tune in 1/8 degree increments below 4 to get the final fit. Also, remember that the angle measurement device on most scroll saws is pretty inaccurate, so a little trial and error will definitely be needed.

One of the problems with 1/8” veneers (and I have also tried these) is that very tiny changes in angle make a huge difference. If you have a drum sander, take your pieces down in thickness to 3/32” and you will find that the tolerances are nowhere near as critical. I have never been happy working with 1/8” thick pieces because of the tolerance problem.

Anyway, in summary, you definitely need to decrease your angle and, to ease the burden on tolerances, try using a slightly less thick veneer (3/32” I have found to be nearly optimum).

Good luck!

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View Woodenwizard's profile


1347 posts in 3240 days

#7 posted 01-21-2012 05:20 AM


I do the double bevel on a shop built saw. See my posted video. I use very thin veneers and use a 6/0 blade. the angle on the saw is 12 degrees. The saw is easy fairly easy to build and it is amazing how easy it makes cutting the veneer.

Good luck

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2686 posts in 3119 days

#8 posted 01-21-2012 06:00 AM

I do a lot of double bevel inlays. Sometimes 10-12 a day. I use 3/8” stock and use a FD #5 polar blade at 3 degrees. Arrived at this angle using the trial and error method. I use a Wixey angle gage to set it up and I then leave that scroll saw set to that angle and do straight cuts on my other saw.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 3723 days

#9 posted 01-21-2012 06:27 AM

When I do double bevel I always test my angle by cutting circles of the same material. After I cut a circle i check the fit adjust the angle and try again. Usually the angle is between 2 and 4 degrees. I know with my scroll saw it is important to keep from pushing the wood sideways and bending the blade, or the angle can change a bit. I can’t cut straight with a fretsaw, so I admire your efforts. Is anything like blade flex or changing angles adding to your difficulty?

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2736 days

#10 posted 01-21-2012 07:42 PM

Everyone, thanks for your comments- they are very helpful!

I cut these by hand with my fretsaw, and it sounds like I should make a birds-mouth that is adjustable. I don’t have a scrollsaw or drum sander (someday). In the meantime I rip the thin pieces to width on the tablesaw.

Shipwright- how do you apply the filler to just the kerf?? Do you use the filler as the glue and then sand? That has always seemed sketchy to me since marquetry is done with such thin veneers and oftentimes glued up with surface glue and a veneer hammer.

-- I never finish anyth

View shipwright's profile (online now)


8162 posts in 2995 days

#11 posted 01-21-2012 09:16 PM

Gluing marquetry should (almost) never be attempted with the hammer veneering technique. It would all come apart and make a horrible mess. I know this :-(

The filler is applied to the glue side of the marquetry after assembly of the marquetry but before it is applied to the substrate. This piece has been filled with a dark filler to add detail (trap line) and is about to be applied to the piece on the left.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2736 days

#12 posted 01-22-2012 08:21 AM

Looks great! I will have to try this sometime.

-- I never finish anyth

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