Round edges not only ensure a clean and sophisticated look but they are also much safer, especially for homes with children and pets. They also significantly reduce the chances of furniture breakage due to dropping or bumping.
If you are a DIYer, spending on a tool that you will barely use may not seem like the wisest decision. So, although a router is the best solution for having round edges, it is not the only one.
There are many tools that can get the job done. Most of these tools are also multipurpose, so you may already have them. Or if you do need to buy them, you will be able to use them for many other projects as well.
In this article, we will explore the different ways on how to round edges of wood without a router.
How To Round Edges Of Wood Without A Router
To round the edges of wood without a router, you can use either a hand or a power saw. Use a circular saw with the blade set at a 45-degree angle. Cut along the edge of the wood in a clockwise direction. You can use a jigsaw or a handheld router for a power saw. Set the blade of the router to a 45-degree angle and ensure that the wood is securely clamped before beginning. Cut along the edge of the wood in a clockwise direction, careful not to go too deep.
Tools Required to Round Wood Edges
Round wood edges are a preferred style of many who love the cool and smooth feel of furniture with round edges.
Achieving round edges is also not a difficult task when you have the right tools. A router is the best tool to get that smooth finish, but not all woodworkers have this tool.
Thankfully, there are many tools in your workhouse or toolbox, including good hand tool brands and power tools, that are a perfect replacement for a router and can help you get round wood edges without a router.
Methods to Round Wood With Hand Tools
Round edges of wood using a chisel
A chisel is an efficient tool for removing large chunks of wood, so you may not think of using it to round off edges. And if you are new to using one, it won’t be easy.
But, chisels are handy tools for woodworkers and DIYers, and using them does not involve any rocket science. However, it does need practice and patience to achieve perfection. If you are new, try practicing on a scrap of wood first.
- Use a chisel vertically to chop off the extra wood. Try to achieve as much of a round shape as possible.
- Remove small pieces of wood and take your time.
- Make sure the chisel is sharp, but do not strike it too hard or with too much pressure.
- Once you are done, you will need to sand the edge for a clean and smooth finish.
Creating rounded edges on wood using hand plane
If you have too much wood rounding to do and don’t have a wood router, a hand plane is the next best option. It efficiently removes excess wood, giving a clean, neat, and accurate edge.
Using a hand plane is easy and does not require any skill or practice, so even first-time users can do a great job.
- Hold the hand planer with both hands and place it at a 45° angle.
- Sweep it along the edges to achieve the desired rounding.
- Change the angle at tilts and bends according to the design.
- For a smoother finish, use sandpaper to round off any rough or irregular edges.
Hand planers have a flat blade, so they are meant for removing wood from flat surfaces and straight edges. This means you also need to be careful to continually work the hand plane at an angle to achieve the desired rounded edge.
Round edges of wood using sandpaper
Sandpaper is not the most efficient method and you will not be able to remove big chunks of wood. However, when only finishing touches are required, sandpaper can do the job well.
While it does not require any skill, it does need you to invest a lot of time and energy.
- Use the sandpaper directly or attach it to a sanding block or a scrap piece of wood.
- Sand at an angle of 45° to get clean round edges.
- Just keep rubbing the sandpaper over the rough surfaces until you achieve the desired finish.
There are many types of sandpaper and you can choose the one according to the finish you desire. For better and more efficient results, start with a low-grade sheet and move your way up to a fine-grit finish.
Rounding wood edges using a wood file
If you want something more aggressive than sandpaper but less aggressive than a chisel or a hand plane, a wood file can be the right choice.
It won’t remove large chunks, but a wood file is good for rounding off the edges of smaller projects that need finishing touches. They remove a decent amount of wood each time and are more effective than the coarsest sandpaper.
Use the wood file the same way you will use sandpaper, by rubbing over surfaces that need finishing. It’s best used for more detailed work.
Wood files come in many sizes and are easy to use, but you need to have an incredible amount of control. It also requires a lot of time and energy, just like using sandpaper.
Rounding off wooden edges with a surform
A surform is a hand tool that has handles like a hand plane and a blade similar to those found in a grater.
You use the surform in the same way as a hand planer, with both hands gripping the two handles and making smooth movements across the wood at the desired angle for rounded edges.
The blade grates off the wood as it slides over the surface, leaving it clean and smooth without any rough edges. Surforms are easy to use and maneuver, and allow you to exert the right amount of pressure to achieve the desired results.
Interesting read: What router bit to use for door hinges?
How to Round the Edge of Wood Using Power Tools
Round edges of wood using a jigsaw
Mostly employed by professionals who need to get the job done quickly and efficiently, a Jigsaw is used to remove large chunks of wood.
However, using a jigsaw requires skill and practice to keep the blade under control. So, it’s not suitable for beginners as there is a high risk of damaging the project and of accidents.
To use the jigsaw, place it at the desired angle and switch on the machine. Advance it till you have cut the required portion and stop. A jigsaw will give you rough edges that need to be smoothed with sandpaper or a wood file.
Round edges of wood with power sander
A power sander is the same as using sandpaper but it’s much quicker since it’s an electrical device. And just like sandpaper, you can achieve smooth and clean edges.
When using a powder sander, you need to take care that the edges are not ground too much. Using a power sander requires skill and practice as a small mistake can ruin the entire job.
To power sand, switch on the machine and wait for it to reach its maximum speed. Apply it to the area to be sanded and move it back and forth along its edges. Sand until you achieve the desired finish.
Rounding off wooden edges with a dremel
A Dremel is an effective but aggressive method of achieving round edges. Although you can quickly achieve round edges, controlling the machine is not easy.
Novices, for example, often make the mistake of applying too much pressure. This ruins the flatness of the finish. Switch on the device, and once it reaches its maximum speed, use sweeping motions to remove any sharp wood corners.
Follow the design and move the Dremel along the edges. Once done, sand off the edges using sandpaper for a smoother finish.
Benefits of Using Rounding Edges of Wood Without a Router
A router is an excellent choice to round edges as it works quickly and efficiently to give you a professional finish. A router is a great addition to your toolbox if you are a professional or a regular woodworker.
However, if you are new to woodworking or are a DIYer, you probably won’t be using a router too often. In such cases, a router can be an unwanted expense.
But, there are still numerous benefits of having round edges even without a router. Some of them are:
- Round corners ensure safety. With sharp edges and sharp corners, there’s a risk of hurting kids, pets, and even elders.
- Furniture with sharp edges can be easily damaged. They can also damage other house items like carpets, other furniture, etc.
- Round edges look elegant and add an aesthetic element to the space they are in.
- Round edges offer smoother planes that provide an excellent surface for the paint to stick compared to sharp edges.
When done with precision and care, there are many other tools in your toolbox that can give you the same finish, durability, and style as a router. Plus, many tools don’t even require any skills and are quite easy to use.
Interesting Post: How to Make a 45 Degree Cut
Precautions and Safety Measures
Working in a wood workshop has its hazards and risks. You are surrounded by sharp edges and complex tools while you are working with sharp and rough wood surfaces.
Following proper precautionary measures and wearing safety clothing and gear is thus crucial to maintain overall safety in your workspace.
Safety wear you need
- Safety glasses
- Dust mask
- Protective gloves
Precautionary Measures you must Ensure
- Always wear a face mask and safety glasses. Since you will be using tools that will sand down or grate over wood, there will be a lot of dust in the air. You want to protect your eyes from all the dust and small wooden particles.
- You will be working with sharp tools and rough wooden edges, so make sure you have protective gloves on to avoid accidents and injuries.
- If you have small kids or pets at home, it’s recommended that you round the edges of wood outside the house. Or make sure you close off the area you’re working in. The sharp tools and wood edges can cause injuries.
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Do wooden edges need to be rounded?
Yes, it is recommended that you keep round wooden edges. Wooden edges that are rough, sharp, and pointed pose various safety risks. They are not suitable for homes with kids and pets as they may get hurt while playing. They can also cause tearing and scratches on other surfaces of the home and are more prone to damage than rounded surfaces. Rounded surfaces offer a more soft and sleek finish, adding an elegant aesthetic to the home.
When do you need to round wooden edges?
If you have kids or pets in your home, it is better if you have rounded furniture. Kids are not careful while playing and can hurt themselves with the sharp edges. Rounded wood edges are also a good choice when you desire a smooth and classic finish.
How much rounding of wood edges is sufficient?
The amount of rounding will depend upon your design. While some designs require only a slight smoothening of the edges, other designs offer very soft and curved designs with well-rounded edges. Such designs will require more rounding to achieve the desired aesthetic.
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Round edges have been in vogue for a long time. People have been opting for round designs not only for safety purposes but also for the soft finish they offer.
However, achieving round edges is not that easy. It requires skill and practice and a lot of hard work. While tools like routers can offer efficient results in less time, not everyone has access to a router.
Thankfully, there are many other tools that can do the same job, and you probably already have them in your toolbox.
We hope this guide on rounding edges of wood using hand tools and power tools when you do not have a router helps you achieve that perfect finish.