shiplap joint on a curve-need suggestions on how to do

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Forum topic by kevinw posted 11-11-2010 04:33 PM 1860 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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187 posts in 2774 days

11-11-2010 04:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shiplap routing cross joint suggestion need help

I am making a contemporary looking curved cross and need some suggestions on how best to do a shiplap joint
where the cross members fasten together since the intersecting points are not straight. One friend suggested freehand routing but once the first shallow pass is made I wouldn’t have a reference point and if I plough the entire depth out at once I fear it would tear out or be too difficult to control. If I hand chisel it I am fearful it will have a choppy straight edged look rather than the smooth curve I am after

See the attached sketch for an idea of what I mean.


-- Kevin, Blue Springs, MO

5 replies so far

View 489tad's profile


2804 posts in 2046 days

#1 posted 11-11-2010 05:48 PM

Kevin, If I were to use chisels I’d razor knife the edge first. I probably could not cut that curve cleanly with chisels. I’d would make a router templet with the curve pattern. Hope that helps. Good luck, Dan

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View kevinw's profile


187 posts in 2774 days

#2 posted 11-12-2010 06:26 AM

A router template might be best but not sure how to transfer the curves out and keep it correct. Any suggestions? Maybe plot a bunch of points out from the line at the correct distance and then connect them with a french curve? I am doing a prototype out of some scrap pine, so have room for a few errors (not that I ever make any ; )

-- Kevin, Blue Springs, MO

View cabmaker's profile


1399 posts in 1843 days

#3 posted 11-12-2010 06:39 AM

This is where an overhead pin router shines. Freehanding with a router (heavier the better) should do well.

View Broglea's profile


674 posts in 2125 days

#4 posted 11-12-2010 07:06 AM

Kevin – You might consider fastening your two blanks together using a lap joint before you begin shaping the two pieces.

View FredG's profile


140 posts in 2731 days

#5 posted 11-12-2010 07:10 AM

Hi Kevin,
The main idea is using a palm router with a bushing 3 times the size of the router bit.
First (1) route with the bushing on thin mdf through the mdf.
That leaves you with a template in which you can route the exact shape (2).
The larger metric bushings come in the sizes 30mm, 27mm, and 24mm. 30 mm of course the most stable.

-- Fred

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