It’s not a secret that woodworking tools sometimes cost us a fortune. In the case of routers, the price is not too high. As for handheld tools, it’s just above $30 for one of decent quality and up to $90 for high-quality products coming from famous brands.
A CNC one, however, costs us hundreds of bucks. Therefore, if you don’t plan to become a professional carpenter, or use the tool often enough, you should save the amount by learning how to round wood edges without a router.
Actually, when you are trying to do something without a tool, and said tool is often necessary for similar works, some sacrifices will be made. You will need to spend more time, work with more concentration, and risk ruining the woodwork. However, we are trying to make you succeed no matter what, so try to follow the tutorial below.
Why should we round the edges of woodworks anyway?
In general, for protection. Sharp edges can cause accidents for your children, pets, and even yourself if you don’t pay attention.
Rounded edges surely look more stunning than sharp ones. If you have tried painting a table or chair surface, you may note that the paint sticks more efficiently and beautifully on round edges than on the other.
Last but not least, rounding wood edges will protect the woodwork from physical damage. Unrounded edges are easy to chip when taking an impact from a crash. Rounded ones are much more durable.
The most common case of woodworks that need rounded edges is table and chair legs. You can learn how to attach table legs on this site, too.
How To Round Wood Edges Without Router – The Ultimate Guide
The best tool recommended in the post is the hand plane. Before the era of automatic routers, hand planes are what people use to round the edges of woodworks.
Normally, when being asked about the tool, carpenters often say that it is used to trim the end grain. It’s true, though, there are many other tasks you can trust a hand plane to accomplish. Shaping or rounding edges is one of them.
In fact, a plane in the hands of a good woodworker can round over or chamfer an edge more quickly and effectively than a router bit does. Router, as modern as it is, has a minus feature. It takes much time to install and require you to arrange an attachment.
Choose the right hand plane for your job
There is more than one type of hand planes. The tools come in many sizes and purposes, and the most noticeable feature the differ them is the size. The longer a plane is, the more efficiently and accurately it will work. The great length allows the tool to bridge peaks and dig in the wooden surface.
Shorter planes are easier to control, especially when you are a newbie, or you are working on detailed woodwork. You can check the types of hand plane below to know which one you should get, in case you haven’t had that tool already in the storage.
The longest: jointer planes. They are typically at least 22 inches (56 cm). The long tools are useful for straightening or trimming long wood pieces, such as boards or doors.
Jack planes, which are slightly shorter than jointer ones. They are of the length of 12-17 inches (30 to 43 cm). Owing to the length, jack planes are more versatile, and can be used for both longboards and shorter woodworks. They are easier to handle, too.
Smoothing planes, about 10 inches (25 cm), are the most versatile ones in the family of hand planes. They are mostly used in general smoothing and straightening. In fact, all projects can be done with a smoothing plane, but you have to spend more time with larger works.
The shortest: block planes cannot work effectively on long and large projects. However, they are ideal for shaving thin wood pieces and making details. Learn how to use hand planers here.
Rounding over wood edges – Step by step
Step 1: Use any circular, having the right radius, to mark the depth of the round-over you intend to break. It’s essential if this is the first time you try the task. When you are more familiar with it, you can skip the layout planning.
Step 2: Use a hand plane to cut a chamfer (about 45 degrees). Keep your move straight and cut most all the way down the layout lines you have marked out. A long plane will help you do the task easier, and give you a neat chamfer.
Step 3: With the same tool, plane down the chamfer’s each corner. The edge looks rounder now. At that time, instead of 2 corners, the edge has four.
Step 4: Use the block plane to lightly pass over each of the four corners, if you are careful enough. If the wood of the board is soft, you can just sand them smooth to get a rounded appearance. Some light passes will be necessary if you are crafting hardwood, or if you are a perfectionist.
If you want to round wood edges by the router, can check here to choose a good router to act
If you plan to round over more than one edges, always maneuver the end-grain one first. The wood fibers on the board’s exit-side will be blown out, but don’t care so much. The overall appearance will not differ much. While rounding over the long-grain, you will surely plane off the splinters.
Some experienced woodworkers claim that they don’t need layout planning before rounding the edges. Instead, they just count the plane strokes. The first chamfer, which creates the 45-degree corners, need 20 strokes. The following bevels take about 5 strokes each. Then, one slight pass for each of the four aforementioned corners.
By doing as how professional often do, we save a lot of time and create nearly identical edges. This will help the overall look of the woodwork appear better.
Other tools that can be used to make round edges
If you don’t have a block plane, search your storage for those listed below:
- scratch stock
- rasp and/or file
- card scraper
- cornering tools
- chisel or gouge
Sometimes, you should combine the use of the tools the gain the best look of your woodwork. The rounding method is rather similar for the use of each tool: Make the biggest chamfer first, create two more corners, then pass them slightly and sand or scrape the edges if you are maneuvering hardwood.
Use the suitable sandpaper to sand the edges at last. Start with one of 80 to 100 grit, then move on to 150. Finish off the task using 220 or any softer kind of sandpaper.
Making rounded edges without a router is not something too complicated. In fact, it’s pretty simple, given that our ancestors have used the method for so long prior to the invention of the modern tool. All you have to do is get the right plane and follow the disciplines. Once you have done the task for two or three times, you will hardly need a router, except when the edge you need to break is too large and long.