Cutting the backboard

Use a piece of solid wood for the backboard—a Shaker builder would typically have used pine. To mark out the arch at the top of the backboard, first mark a centerline near the top end of the stock and use a compass to outline a circle with a radius of 2% inches in the middle of the stock, centered 2/< inches from the top end. Next, mark a straight line across the stock 33/s inches from the top end. Draw two perpendicular lines as shown to accommodate the notches in the top panel. Use your band saw to cut out the arch. Set the stock on the saw table and feed the piece with both hands, making the straight cuts first and then sawing the semicircle (left).

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