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Curved Corner Edging
Curved Corner Edging
3 templates produce a flawless round-cornered solid-wood border on a veneer top.
by Jon Stumbrus
Have you ever marveled at large, expensive conference tables with thick, solid edging and curved corners? The center of the table is usually a beautiful veneer surrounded by solid-wood edging that not only looks cool but can stand up to a lot of abuse from chairs. It doesn’t take long for a woodworker’s eye to stray from the beautiful looks to the daunting joinery on those rounded corners. “How did they do that?” we wonder. To cut these parts, big shops use a computer-controlled router that costs more than most luxury cars. Here’s how you can get the same results in your garage shop with a few simple templates and a handheld router. The templates give you an automatic fit between the inside curve of the edging and the outside curve of the tabletop.
The next challenge is fitting all those edging pieces around the table. I’ve got a neat trick to help you out there as well.
Although these are not difficult techniques, you must follow the steps carefully to get good results. I used these techniques to make a 26-in. x 50-in. tabletop that has a 1-in.-thick by 2-in.-wide edge (Fig. B, page 75). The techniques can be used on any size of table or edge molding (see also “ Teak Coffee Table ”).
Build the Templates
Templates 1 and 2 (Fig. A, above) produce the curved outside corner on the tabletop and the matching inside on the solid-wood edging. To make the matching templates, you first need to make a one-time pattern to cut the profile on Template 1 (Photo 1). That template’s profile is cut from a 10-in.-square blank that yields an offcut. The offcut in turn is used to make Template 2, ensuring a perfect fit.
To make the one-time pattern, use a compass to lay out the corner arc radius you desire on a 10-in.-square piece of 3/8-in. MDF. Saw and sand the corner to final shape. Attach the pattern with screws to another 10-in. square of 3/8-in.-thick MDF. Use a 3/8-in.-dia. bottom-bearing flush-trim bit to cut out Template 1 on the router table (Photo 1). Add guide strips to the sides to complete Template 1.
Use the offcut from Template 1 and a 1-1/8-in.-dia. bearing on your 3/8-in.-dia. bit to make Template 2 (Photo 2). Use a corner blank as a spacer to locate the guide strips on the bottom of Template 2 (Fig. C, page 76). The strips center the corner blank in the jig. You’ll need to build a hold-down jig (Fig. D, page 77). Template 2 is used in conjunction with the hold-down jig to rout the curve on the inside of the corner edging. You may have to adjust the cutout and/or the height of the spacer blocks on the jig to accommodate different radii or edging thicknesses.
Template 3 is used to create the outside curve on the hardwood border. Simply saw and sand it to final shape and add guide strips.
Rout the Parts