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Making Square Poles Octagonal

Poster: rmhowe <magnusm@ncsu.edu>

This was written to tell someone how to make square poles octagonal
for plain use or in turning to use in a tent or yurt. They intended to
use a lathe. This is an old trick. May as well share it.

Well, whether you use it like this or not, knocking the corners
off couldn't hurt. Use a pushstick. Octagon is fairly close to 
round, then again you could knock a further set of corners off - 
but at sixteen sides it gets awful round and might flip on you.
I've still got *all* my fingers and I've done way more than a hundred
thousand board feet of wood easily.

You can go from square to octagon two ways fairly easily - on the 
table saw or band saw.

On the table saw tilt the blade 45 degrees. Put your SQUARE blank
up against the blade and still sitting on its edge on the table.
Now move the fence over against it's opposite side. Lock the fence.
Placing the blank flat down against the table saw and the fence,
you will now be able to saw a fairly good octagon.

I recommend using some feather boards to keep it against the fence.
You may need to put a spacer under them to raise the feather boards
and stay on the vertical side of the blank / octagon.

Feather boards are those which have a number of slots sawn in them
leaving long teeth about a 1/4" wide, generally angled on the end,
and clamped to the table, and or fence to push the stock against
the fence or table. They hold the stock firmly in position and 
prevent kickbacks also.

P.S. It helps to turn the saw on first. ;)

     /\   ___ 
    /  \ |   |<Fence  
 \\/    \|   |  Set up like this. Saw flat.
  \\    /|   |  Kinda hard to draw 45 degrees in ascii.
   \\  / |   |  Imagine a square workpiece.
____|\\|___________________ Table Saw Table
       \\ Blade goes just a little past the stock, not a lot.
          Move it down after you set your fence for safety.

On the bandsaw you would usually have to tilt the table.
Do the same setup. Saw flat to table.

Use a guard if at all possible. Watch your fingers, especially when
the stock goes past the bandsaw blade. Keep them out of line with
the blade. I've seen an amputation this way. When the blade comes
through the release of pressure can make your hands move rapidly.
Use a pushstick when you near the end.

M. Magnus Malleus, Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia; Great Dark Horde
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