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Cove and Bead Confusion

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Moz, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. Moz

    Moz New Member

    I apologize to you all in advance. I am here from a Web Search, because you folks are about the ONLY source of information on using Cove and Bead bits...

    I am wanting to use these bits in a table router to build beehives. A far cry from canoes, but the bits will be used the same way, except with a differently shaped outcome.
    I will be mainly making box cut joints, and want the Cove and Bead to make curved roofs, and box bottom/top interlocks on 2x4 hive boxes.

    The actual routing is not so much an issue for me, as much as "how to effectively apply the cove and bead."

    How do you choose which size bit(s) to use? I am assuming a 3/4" profile for 1x boards, but does that make the edges of the cove too fragile?
    Can I use these same 3/4" bits centered on 2x4's, so that the top/bottoms of hive boxes 'nest' against each other when stacked, or should I be looking at another type of bit, like a tongue and groove?

    I am a 58 year old crazy woman, who never got to take a shop class, and really sucked at Home Economics back in school. I know enough about giant power tools like our table saw, router saw, drill press, and miter saw, to be VERY careful, with full eye and ear protection, feathercombs, guards, etc.
    I just don't know how to choose the proper bit size to get the desired outcome. And Cove and Bead bits are the only style of joint that fits my weird imaginings.

    Everything on the web just uses these bits for canoes or making hot tubs...and I haven't found a Hot Tub Construction forums to pester, so you kind people are my only hope.

    Thank you for your time!
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Others may jump in here with more information & opinions (I'm hoping!). Here's what I think, which is worth what you paid for it.

    The cove and bead concept was created to allow the two boards being joined to not lie flat, creating a semi-coopered joint. That only works if the cove & bead are as wide as the boards being joined. Using a 3/4" bit set, on boards wider than 3/4", creates flat surfaces around the shaped ones, which will probably create a decent glue joint, but it will only lie flat -- you won't be able to get the boards to turn against each other, assuming the C&B are centered. If you set the bits up to shape off-center, right to the edge of the wider boards, you'll be able to rotate them one direction only, but it'll leave a gaping opening in the convex side. That may not be the look you want.

    Yes, the edges can be fragile. Given that they're usually used with a fiberglass overcoat, that becomes irrelevant.

    I hope this helps... Feel free to post more questions!
  3. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Congratulations on your mental illness. We generally refer to ours as more of an addiction than craziness.
    The above comments by Paul seem pretty good to me too. BUT
    Have you considered just tilting the saw a few degrees to make the angle you want to get the curved roof you're loking for?
  4. OP

    Moz New Member

    Thank you for your replies!
    "Addiction is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences."
    I'm full-blown crazy, in that consequences, adverse or beneficial seldom to never influence my engagements with Life. It's all a glorious happenchance to me!

    I've thought of making angled cuts, yes. But with a new Router Table, which will mostly be used to round edges for beehives, I love the organic shape of bead and barrel work, compared to the "hard edge" of just straight cutting it with a saw... I'll get enough of that learning Finger and Dovetail joinings for the boxes.

    While I briefly entertained the idea of making a 'barrel-shaped' hive (why? Just because I could with a bead/barrel bit combo!), it would be too problematic to maintain as a beekeeper. But the cover/roof I can be as creative as I like - hence the half circle roof.
    Having seen some interesting curved roofs on birdhouses, I am also envisioning a "Dr. Seuss" type curvy roof, which I believe will be much easier to make with canoe joints.

    The fragile edges may be somewhat problematic. Epoxy coating is good advice to protect them. Thank you.

  5. Paul Scheuer

    Paul Scheuer LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I believe that the beauty of bead and cove is that it allows for the preparation of many, many pieces of identical slats that are to assembled at an any angle (within limits) where that angle is likely to change along the length of the joint, (like a canoe), without having to fit each piece. Self alignment is also a benefit. There would be many other, only slightly more complicated, methods to form a curved roof that maintains the same intersection angle for all joints along their entire length. For example; you could use your router to first bevel the edges of each slat, with a minimal fixture to hold the pieces at the required angle, then if desired for self alignment, another fixture to cut tongues and grooves. There might also be some version of a lap construction that would shed water without additional coating.
  6. OP

    Moz New Member

    Thank you, Paul, for your alternative approaches. I have found in Life that the old saying "there is more than one way to skin a cat," to be very apropos.
    Part of this insanity, is the desire to play with my new router table, other than grooving out wooden signs. Part of it is the artist in me who has always loved curvy things rather than straight edges. And part of it is the simple "cool" factor of that changeable angle of the joints.
    I just received some 100 year old pine heart tongue and groove flooring scraps, and I was thrilled to see that they were made using bead and cove. But the size was such, that they nested together, but the surrounding butt under the bead prevented any hinge effect. That answered a question I had as to whether this wonderfully pliant joinery could, via sizing, be a more stable effect, as I am considering parallel sides on the beehive boxes, to better stabilize them from winds and shifting. If it worked for flooring a century ago, I expect it to work for me now! :D

    Moisture is always a major consideration with bees, as is a leaky canoe, I would suppose. Epoxy coating, aka fiberglass, although there is no fiberglass in it, yellows, but it a superior sealant. I have used it in my art assemblages for many years. Depending on how well the joinery looks, I may stain and epoxy. But, I am also considering copper, or even aluminum sheathing, as the solid surface will be the most effective in preventing seepage.
    My desire is the curved joints, to allow me to make a "Garden Hive," with a half moon curved roof, and possibly in the future, a "Dr. Seuss" type curvy, crazy roof...Thanks to all help from the patient and friendly members here, I may try to make a "mini-canoe" shape for one, With dangly things hanging from the points...Crazy can be SUCH fun! It's just you have to know what you are doing with power tools. Hand sawing and drilling has gotten old, as have I. A drill press, router table, and table saw are long overdue in my life, but the learning curve is steep...

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