Cutting a Partial Sphere Safely

Putting the final touches on an install that I did recently, I had to cut some bun feet to size.  The tile floor had been installed after the vanity cabinets, and the bun feet were now to tall to fit under the cabinet, about 3/8″ of an inch needed to be cut from the top of the feet.

The bun feet were not a complete sphere as they had a flat section.  While I was able to put this flat section on the bed of my miter saw, the rounded section of the sphere was up against the fence.  The potential for the piece to rotate as I cut it was high.  As well as ruining an expensive fixture it could have caused a dangerous kickback.  As expensive as the bun feet were, my fingers are worth more, so I needed to figure out a way to hold the bun feet so that the cut could be performed on my miter saw accurately and safely.

Cutting a Partial Sphere

A couple of pieces of scrap wood screwed together made a jig which allowed just that.  The bun foot is secured to the jig by a 1 1/2″ screw through the jig and into the base of the foot as well as an additional screw through the base of the jig and into the flat section of the bun foot These areas would be against the tile floor and the toe kick  so the holes formed by the screw would be hidden after installation.  The screws, as with the screws used to assemble the jig, would also be out of the way of the cut so the blade wouldn’t be damaged.

Cutting a Partial Sphere

As you can see in the image below the bun foot is now held securely and square to the base and fence of the miter saw.   There is no danger of the bun foot moving or rotating in any direction or axis.  The jig also allows me plenty of room to hold it with my fingers far from the spinning blade.

Cutting a Partial Sphere

The cut complete.

Cutting a Partial Sphere

The bun foot installed.

Cutting a Partial Sphere

Typically a miter saw, table saw and band saw are used to cut objects that sit flat on the bed and have a square edge that will ride against the fence.  However, with the use of simple but effective jigs it is possible to cut round and irregular shaped objects.  When designing the jig keep these points in mind:

  • The jig must be large enough to allow you to hold/guide it and keep your hands/fingers away from the blade.
  • The jig must hold the workpiece securely so there is no possibility of rotation or movement while performing the cut.
  • Any fasteners used to assemble the jig or hold the workpiece, screws, nails, clamps etc, need to be positioned so that the blade is not cutting into them.

Above all, if there is any doubt in your mind at all about the safety of the cut, then don’t make it.  There is no cut that is worth bleeding over!

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