Cutting out handholds for V-shelf in 3/4" cherry

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Forum topic by Endgrain posted 04-04-2010 07:14 PM 1723 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Endgrain's profile


14 posts in 2953 days

04-04-2010 07:14 PM

Greetings to all,
attached is an example picture I got off the internet of someone who did a great job of making a v-shelf bookcase that I am trying to build and I have already cut the sides but now need to cut handholds and an arc at the bottom. The instructions say to use a jigsaw but I wanted to consult the collective on how begin. I have bought a set of drum sanders for my drill press at Rockler in preparation of smoothing the arcs. The instructions in the plan say to start by drilling a large hole. I can see using a straight edge and router to clean up most of the straight bottom but the corners seem to be a challenge along with a clean arc. Flush trim bit with a template? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
v-shelf bookcase

4 replies so far

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2551 days

#1 posted 04-05-2010 03:12 AM

I’d make a template from masonite. Then rough cut your parts slightly oversize with a jigsaw, and route to final size with the template. I’d probably leave the corners rounded from the router bit.

-- Gerry,

View bladeburner's profile


88 posts in 2507 days

#2 posted 04-06-2010 02:49 PM

I attack a problem like that by first making as perfect a pattern as I can from 1/2” MDF or as mentioned, 1/4” hardboard. I do prefer MDF myself. I drill 1/2” holes at places where I find sharp radius to give relief for the jigsaw blade, both in the pattern and the work. Lay the smoothed out pattern down and draw a line with the pencil angled slightly away from the edges. Cut to that line. Tape the pattern down. Using a pattern following bit finish off the outline. For a handhold, I’d follow up with a 1/4” bearing mounted roundover bit. Same advice as Ger21, except I’m a little wordy this AM!

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2901 days

#3 posted 04-06-2010 03:07 PM

I agree with what has been said. I did something like this on the trunk that I have in my gallery. The shelf that fits inside has some cutout handles. I did it with a jigsaw freehand, then sanded with the drill press sanding drum and then I used my router to slightly round the edges with a roundover bit. I cut about a 1/8 inch inside the line, then sanded to the line. A template will work great too to at least you will get started with both handholds exactly the same size. If you do it without a template, you could use a fine rasp to file the square corners.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View andyboy's profile


557 posts in 2693 days

#4 posted 01-31-2012 09:28 AM

woohhhhh, it was 666 days ago you posted this….joking aside. I have been making this little beauty over the last few days. I have taken the plan from the Bookcases book by Niall Barrett. I certainly used my jig saw for the handles and my band saw for the whale tail shape at the base.
I just put the stain and a coat of organ oil on today and have videoed most of the process. I don’t like biscuit machines so I used tenons on mine. I just followed the recommended radius’s and got something that resembled the picture…a whales tail.

I used the round over bit straight off the jig saw and band saw. It was easy to clean up for a one off.


-- Andy Halewoodworker. You can't finish if you don't finish. So finish it, because finish is everything.

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