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Forum topic by Rookie702 posted 04-11-2012 09:18 PM 1652 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 2300 days

04-11-2012 09:18 PM

I need to make a lot of these wood handles, and I am having a hell of time figuring out how to round off the edges to give the handle a rounded look. The pictures are of the model that i need to match (with the paint sanded off it). I have been able to cut the basic shape easliy enough using my band saw then cleaning up the shape on a spindle sander.

I have a fondess for my fingers and when i try to round off the corners with my table top router, I do not particlutlary like the method as it seems like the piece wants to catch and pull my fingers into the router. So i have given up on that method for now.

Any ideas?

16 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3132 days

#1 posted 04-11-2012 09:31 PM

Are you making these out of a bendable wood? I would probably round them out on the router when they are straight, steam them, and then bend them into the required shape.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2319 days

#2 posted 04-11-2012 09:43 PM

Wow, that’s a tight radius. Maybe you need to make a jig to hold it in place so you can run something like a Bosch Colt around it. I don’t know if a vacuum hold down would be strong enough, but worth investigating. I wouldn’t get my hands near those and a shaper either.

View Rookie702's profile


43 posts in 2300 days

#3 posted 04-11-2012 09:45 PM

At first i thought they might have bent but the more i thought about it, it seemed to me like the easiest way would be to use band saw or some kind of router template to cut the basic shape out then round the corners. I did make a steam box at first because that’s what i initially thought. I may revert back to that notion. Does the wood need to be of a laminate type to bend easier.

View Rookie702's profile


43 posts in 2300 days

#4 posted 04-11-2012 09:47 PM


—There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

God how true is that statement, i would have never believed in my life that building a simple small box would result in me buying a brand new table saw…LOL

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3777 days

#5 posted 04-11-2012 10:06 PM

Looks like you are using ply….I am assuming you are cutting to shape and then trying to round over. If so cut a circle out instead and then slowly take the edges off on the inside and outside taking very small amounts as you go make sure to flip over each time. If you are using 3/4 thick ply then a 3/8” round over bit will make it a circle with time and patience. Once you get what you are looking for then cut the circle in half (and cut to length) and finish up with sanding.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3671 days

#6 posted 04-11-2012 10:07 PM

Get a couple of de-sta-co style clamps and make a template board
you clamp the workpiece to. You can use a bearing guided
roundover bit in the router table.

There would be a way of working out one template to do both
the inside and outside, but I would trust in simplicity and
make an inside jig and an outside one. Cut the outside
first then move the clamps over to the other jig and cut
the insides.

The jigs just hold the work. The cut would be actually guided
by the bearing.

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3407 days

#7 posted 04-11-2012 10:23 PM

Since you are going to be making holes in them anyway, you could use that spot to put in some screw hold-downs. Use small L brackets, no higher than your handle is thick, so they won’t interfere with the router. Screw them to the inside edge of the handle while you are doing the outside with the router, then move them to the outside while you do the inside. By attaching them to a work surface, it will keep the piece from moving around and the router itself will keep the piece from lifting. Just make another ply cutout with the same thickness as your handles your making with a big hole cutout a little larger than the handle so your router will have a flat surface to ride on.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2295 days

#8 posted 04-11-2012 10:29 PM

Rookie702, (for lack of your real name)

It appears that the one in the picture is made from plywood. That being the case these can be cut with a template, use double stick carpet tape to attach your template to the plywood. With a top bearing pattern bit, plunge the bit through the plywood and follow the template below the handle shape and above the handle shape, leaving the ends attached to the sheet of plywood.
Move your template to the next area to be cut out and repeat the above process, and repeat for as many handles as you need.
When that phase is completed switch to a round over bit with a bottum bearing or (rub collar) and round over above the handle shape and below it on all handles.
When that is completed, cut the handle tips off the plywood sheet with a saber saw and either sand the ends to shape or chuck the roundover bit into your router table, you should be able to, SAFELY, round over the ends while holding the opposite end.
If you have a rubber faced hold down or a grout trowel with a rubber face you can use it to hold the handles down while you route the ends.

Work Safe and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Rookie702's profile


43 posts in 2300 days

#9 posted 04-11-2012 10:36 PM

Would it just easier to start with round stock, like some 1/2 dowel material cut length then steam bend to shape. after bend is dry and stable, take over to a belt sander and sand the faces down a little to give that flat effect you see on each side.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3132 days

#10 posted 04-11-2012 10:45 PM

I never did ask. What will the handles be used for?

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Rookie702's profile


43 posts in 2300 days

#11 posted 04-11-2012 10:57 PM

Your going to laugh but follow the link to my siister’s site..

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3132 days

#12 posted 04-11-2012 11:48 PM

Clever idea and I wouldn’t be one to laugh. Knowing what they would be used for goes a long way towards picking out a method. Purses take a good deal of abuse Plus, this tells me this a production run. I am assuming that you are not going to use ply for the production line handles. I would think chipping would present a problem and production would be complicated. I would lean towards bending but the ideas presented on using a template for clamping on the router sound like a good plan also. Anything that can be standardized and keep your fingers safe should work.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2525 days

#13 posted 04-12-2012 09:41 AM

The technique used by Steve Ramsey to make a chain might be of some use.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2309 days

#14 posted 04-12-2012 12:05 PM

The oblong shape might actually make it easier than if it was a true half circle. Cut the pieces as full ovals first. Drop them into a jig, much like the one in that chain video. Round them over (not on the router table), flip, round over the other side. Cut the oval in half. You now have 2 handles. The oblong shape will keep it from spinning in the jig.

If you have to make lots of these, it might be worth making 2 jigs. One with a flat bottom for rounding over the first side, and then another with the round profile (concave, using a core box bit) so you have a tighter fit when you flip it. You could “production line” it if you have a LOT of them to make. A jig for the outside curve on side 1, then a jig for the inside curve on side 1. Then a jig for the outside curve on side 2, and then one for the inside curve on side 2.

Now you’d cut your pieces, put 1 into the first jig, round the outside curve, move it to the second jig and put another piece in jig#1, round the outside curve in Jig#1 and the inside curve in Jig#2, Move each of the 2 “in-process” pieces to the next jig, add a piece to Jig#1, now you have 3 pieces set up for round over, move each piece to the next jig, add a piece to Jig #1. Now you have 4 pieces in jigs for rounding over.

View Rookie702's profile


43 posts in 2300 days

#15 posted 04-12-2012 02:38 PM


The oblong shape is something that i have already incorporated in my thinking process for sure. After watching that chain video i do think i could do something like that for sure. Thanks for the link.

Wouldn’t be easier to keep the piece the oval shape until it was completely rounded over and finished and then just cut in half and wal-la you have your two handles?

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