Workbench Build #22: Shaping the chop

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Blog entry by Mark Kornell posted 12-21-2014 11:30 PM 1851 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 21: Of Dogs and Deadmen Part 22 of Workbench Build series Part 23: Wrapping it up »

Had about 3 hours in the shop Saturday to shape the chop. The basic shaping is done, just need to fair out a couple sections, sand and finish.

Started out by drawing some curves.

It may not be obvious, but there are two curves on each side. You’ll see why shortly….

I laid out the inner curve on a piece of scrap MDF, which I’ll be using as a template.

Cut that out on the bandsaw

Try to do this in one smooth motion.

Once it was cut out, I sand the bandsaw marks out and fair the curve. There were three places where the bandsaw kerf was a bit deeper – the spots where I paused in the cut to adjust my position. So I mixed up some glazing putty to fill the indentation:

That’s way more than I will need – and way more hardener than necessary for the blob of putty.

Mix it up and apply it. Quickly. Once it is mixed, you have about 3 or 4 minutes to work it.

It is sandable after 10 minutes, but while it is curing, I bandsaw the outer curves of the chop. Check to see what it looks like at this point:

After sanding down the filler, I clamp the template to my marks on the chop and route out the relief detail using a pattern bit. Set the depth appropriately – more on this topic later.

Route one side to the curve:

Flip the template, do the other side, and check the look:

Next, lay out the round over on the top. I just do this by hand, but you could use something like the lid of a jar for a template.

I need to cut this out on the bandsaw, but because the chop is no longer square I need to tape the offcut back on to level it out.

And cut the curve

Next, some hand work. Fairing and smoothing the top curve with rasps goes very quickly. You could sand, I suppose, but this is way more satisfying.

Do the same to the side curves, but start with the spokeshave

Back to setting the depth of the pattern bit. I planned on adding a 1/8” roundover on the inner curve, and the step wasn’t deep enough for the roundover bit. So I had to deepen the step. It is almost impossible to match up the template with the curve, so you have two options. The first would be to set the template to take slightly more from the curve – basically establish a new curve. Easy enough, but there is another option. I have an undercutting slotting bit to which I’ve fit a bearing equivalent to the outer diameter of the bit. This effectively makes it a very short pattern bit. That’s the option I choose, and I deepen the step far enough so my roundover bit fits.

I add a 1/8” roundover to the inner curve, a 1/4” roundover to the outer curve and a 1/16” roundover everywhere else just to protect edges.

Checking the look:

And I had to leave. Not bad for 3 hours of work.

Most of the work on the chop is done. I just need to fair out a couple areas, including where the curves blend together at the top. Then sand and apply finish.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

4 comments so far

View Slyy's profile


2400 posts in 1074 days

#1 posted 12-22-2014 01:24 AM

Gray looking chop Mark. Haven’t seen one quite like that, unique!

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View BigRedKnothead's profile


7862 posts in 1401 days

#2 posted 12-22-2014 07:12 AM

Very cool. I kicked around stepped or layered designs for my chop as well, but couldn’t come up with a method. Now I know one;)

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1057 posts in 1950 days

#3 posted 12-22-2014 08:47 AM

Slyy, Red –

Red – I kicked this around for a while, too. I came up with another way – CNC :-)

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Don W's profile

Don W

17872 posts in 1986 days

#4 posted 12-22-2014 09:46 PM

some fancy foot work Mark. Well played!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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