How to get Curved Moulding

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Forum topic by JeremyT21 posted 11-07-2016 07:10 PM 769 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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60 posts in 1612 days

11-07-2016 07:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: molding curved mold

Hey everyone, I’ve searched but haven’t found something that works for me. I’m trying to recreate this wardrobe for a friend, and have no idea about how to create the curved moulding on top. Any idea’s?


10 replies so far

View Texcaster's profile


1287 posts in 1819 days

#1 posted 11-07-2016 08:36 PM

I don’t know how big the molding is, if small enough it might be possible on a router table. Whether you use a router or shaper, be aware the timber can fail along the short grain while cutting, even with a pattern screwed to the bottom. It’s open shaper work and inherently dangerous. Have a long lead in and exit and a pivot point to start.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 793 days

#2 posted 11-07-2016 08:40 PM

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3793 days

#3 posted 11-07-2016 09:28 PM

Build it up out of pattern-routed 3/4” MDF.
You’ll need several unusual or large bits. is a good source.

You’ll need some custom sanding blocks – they
can be made out of auto-body filler.

The curved moulding is by far the most interesting
part of the piece and will by far consume most
of your build time in making it.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3793 days

#4 posted 11-07-2016 09:30 PM

Another option that may help come up with
a solution for you:

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1066 days

#5 posted 11-08-2016 02:09 PM


I suspect the arched trim must be two work piece milling operation. One operation produces the arch. The second operation produces the straight section that emerge from the ends of the arch. The straight milled work piece would then be cut in half and mitered to the arched work piece.

I like Loren’s idea of gluing up MDF as the blank if the project will be painted. Otherwise, a bent lamination would be yield the strongest blank and greatly reduce the problem of the blank disintegrating as mentioned by Texcaster as well as tear out, which can occur on arched workpiece cut from a single board.

I would think that using a router with the router bit oriented vertically would be a very difficult operation, especially when several lighter passes are likely necessary to achieve full depth. Also as the profiled portion emerges, the profiled face may not be fully supported by the fence. The alternative would be to rout the work piece by feeding the work piece between the router bit and fence. I would strongly recommend against this approach since the work piece would be trapped between the router bit and fence, making this an unsafe operation.

The first alternative to the vertically oriented router is a horizontally mounted router. With proper hold-downs, the setup could cut the blank in several passes. The router bit would need to be above the work piece otherwise the work piece could rock as it emerges from the router bit. Attempting this approach would concern me since again because the work piece is trapped between the router table and the router bit. Also the set up would have to be robust to prevent the work piece from shifting through the cut and ruining the profile, since multiple passes are required.

The second and perhaps the best alternative is to use a moulding machine with a knife cut to the profile in one pass. Woodmaster Tools produced a step by step video on making curved moulding. While the video promotes Woodmaster equipment, I am sure the same set up could produce similar results on a dedicated moulding machine.

As Ron Aylor suggests, producing the arch with hand work, while requiring more effort and time, is a peaceful and less stressful way of producing the arched moulding.

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2442 days

#6 posted 11-08-2016 02:24 PM

View JeremyT21's profile


60 posts in 1612 days

#7 posted 11-08-2016 03:51 PM

Thanks everyone! Not sure exactly which way I’m going to go. Definitely gonna check out the flexible molding to see if that would work. It isn’t imperative that this is perfect, so the flexible stuff might work.


View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2256 days

#8 posted 11-11-2016 01:42 PM

If you look closely at the transitions from straight to curved on the cove, the coved section can be (and probably was) done with one pass. A shaper rub collar simply follows either the inside or outside curve, depending on the setup. The “bejeweled” part is simply a square section cut in the curved shape and applied on top.

As Loren suggested, use MDF. You can buy very thick MDF, but if you only need a small amount, simply brick up a blank with multiple layers, and carefully shape the inside edge curve and transitions to straight, and have that be the pattern to cut the molding. Depending on the setup, you may need to make a pattern than attaches to the blank with screws or tape. If you use screws, you’d leave “ears” in place that will be cut off later to accept the screws. In the second case, you can let the shaper trim the inside edge smooth.

For stuff like this in this size, I’m a big fan of white pigmented, shellac-based BIN as a primer. It fills the routed MDF nicely. Just apply it with an inexpensive synthetic bristle brush. There’s no reason to clean the brush using this stuff, just wipe the brush dry between uses and let it harden. Just soak it in denatured alcohol or more BIN before the next use. Once you’re filled and sanded nicely, do the last coat with a rattle can of the same product, then move to any top coat you’d like.

View Lazyman's profile


2526 posts in 1533 days

#9 posted 11-11-2016 02:52 PM

If you are trying to get an exact or close match, perhaps you could use Bondo (I think they make a wood filler too) or some other type of filler. Build up several layers of PW or MDF that are close to the profile as the base, make a trowel with some plywood, MDF, etc. of the profile and use it to shape the profile. You might need some removable guides on both edges to get a consistent shape. Once it is dry, use sand paper to smooth it and do final shaping.

Not quite as gratifying as milling it by machine or hand and not exactly wood working but if you want to get it identical or even close, this may be the easiest and cheapest way.

If it doesn’t have to be exact, I would find several router bits, route different profiles on 3 or 4 different layers and build it up that way.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View bonesbr549's profile


1576 posts in 3213 days

#10 posted 11-11-2016 03:24 PM

You need to go to Charles Neils web site he had a video and a bit just for making curved modling Highly reccommend.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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