How does one taper layers for a bent lamination?

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 04-08-2014 08:50 PM 1017 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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316 posts in 818 days

04-08-2014 08:50 PM

I’m interested in trying to make a bent lamination. But I want one end to be tapered. I can’t just make up my lamination and taper it – I’d end up removing the entire outer layer and then some. So obviously I need to taper each layer. I can imagine how to do it using a sled in a planer. But are there other ways to do it as well (seems like in woodworking there always is an alternative). Could it be done with hand tools?

14 replies so far

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186 posts in 862 days

#1 posted 04-08-2014 08:55 PM

I’m not sure I understand but …build the board then shape it seems good advice.

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316 posts in 818 days

#2 posted 04-08-2014 08:59 PM

Bent lamination – a shop-made lamination that is bent around a form. I want it to taper on one end. I can’t do that simply removing material from the glued-up stack, because I’d be completely removing the topmost and bottommost layers of the stack, which will leave an ugly line and an odd appearance as the underlayers are exposed. So, I need to taper my thin pieces before I glue up the stack.

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Mark Shymanski

5170 posts in 2800 days

#3 posted 04-08-2014 09:01 PM

Yes you could hand plane the tapers into each piece. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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3898 posts in 2058 days

#4 posted 04-08-2014 09:23 PM

Build all the layers except the top and bottom.
Taper this stack what ever way is easiest.
Then add the top and bottom layers.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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Jim Finn

2011 posts in 2009 days

#5 posted 04-08-2014 10:18 PM

May not be exactly what you have in mind. I made this sleigh by cutting slots in some oak , soaking it in water, applying glue in the openings and clamped together on a form.

-- "Just my opinion, I may be right"

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7967 posts in 2735 days

#6 posted 04-08-2014 10:36 PM

Of course it can be done with hand tools, but surfacing the
layers precisely by hand will be tricky. Some sort of guide
for a scraper, sanding board or hand plane could be
figured out.

I did some last year using a vacuum pump:

The same sort of jig could be attached to a thing that
rides on a rip fence or in a miter gauge.


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799 posts in 616 days

#7 posted 04-08-2014 11:25 PM

I would use an edge sander.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Yonak's profile


922 posts in 608 days

#8 posted 04-09-2014 02:32 AM

Start with a board with parallel edges. On the jointer taper one edge using graduated cuts (cut 2/3 of the way, lift and start again cutting 1/3 of the way, lift and cut all the way – you may have to make the final cut in two passes) then slice off the strip on the table saw with the other edge against the fence. Clear as mud ?

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1243 posts in 1141 days

#9 posted 04-09-2014 02:46 AM

Build a sled to put the pieces in the planer that allow you to hold one end higher than the other and thus taper the wood.

-- Joel

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2605 posts in 1298 days

#10 posted 04-09-2014 02:47 AM

It will be time consuming but I think you might get the most precision this way…. Glue up the first couple of layers then sand, plane or scrape the taper. Then add the next top and bottom layer and sand, plane or scrape likewise. Continue till you have all your layers. I’ve never done this but just off the top o’ my head it’s what I might do.

-- There are three types of people in this world... those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

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206 posts in 1764 days

#11 posted 04-09-2014 03:49 AM

This guy made a thickness jig for his hand plane to get exact thicknesses something like this with a taper it wouldn’t have to be as elaborate as the video.

-- A friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move a body

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2525 posts in 808 days

#12 posted 04-09-2014 04:09 AM

I was experimenting with this (roughly) by lowering the cutterhead on my planer as it fed. The key was consistent speed. The results turned out better than I had imagined, but it was just on some 2×4s that I wanted to try this with, not any project specifically.

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1650 posts in 1112 days

#13 posted 04-09-2014 04:40 AM

I think Crank49 has a good answer.

But it would help also to know how wide the finished layup has to be. If it’s no wider than 2 1/2” (what your TS could cut), use a taper jig to cut a taper from stock that wide, or as wide as you need. Re set the fence, and cut that tapered piece off. Continue until you have enough tapered pieces for your glue up.

Come to think of it, I made a tapered, gently S-shaped tiller for my sailboat many years ago, and used tapered laminations. But I don’t really remember how I cut them. Probably because my brain’s memory function is merciful.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View markf31's profile


5 posts in 597 days

#14 posted 04-09-2014 12:27 PM

How many layers of lamination will there be? My thought is if you have say 8 layers of lamination, laminate the first seven together leaving off the final show face laminate. When the first 7 are laminated you can sand, cut, trim them down to create a preliminary taper. Then laminate your final show face laminate on. When that is dry you can sand the profile of that final laminate at the end so as to avoid exposing the underlying layers.

Did that makes sense? It does in my head.

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