Rounding over edges

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Forum topic by krisrimes posted 07-04-2012 08:45 PM 5675 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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111 posts in 2531 days

07-04-2012 08:45 PM

I am in the middle of a large order of picnic tables. I need to round over all of the sharp edges as efficiently as possible. I have tried a round over bit in a router and just sanding all of the sharp edges. Neither of these seem to get the job done as quickly as I would like. I am hoping that someone has a technique that I have not thought up, that could be a time saver. Happy 4th

14 replies so far

View Bobmedic's profile


379 posts in 2798 days

#1 posted 07-04-2012 09:52 PM

How can you get faster than using a router with a round over bit? Set up your router in a table and route your long edges before assembly. Assemble the tables and route the ends of the table top and seats with the router freehand. Doesn’t get any quicker than that.

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117090 posts in 3573 days

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

Maybe your using to small of round over bit?

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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2737 posts in 2573 days

#3 posted 07-04-2012 11:02 PM

Router is my choice when doing roundovers. Fast enough for me unless the radius is too big for a single pass.
For a picnic table I’d use an 1/8” or 1/4” bit and call it a day.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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10381 posts in 3644 days

#4 posted 07-04-2012 11:27 PM

I’d generally use a laminate trimmer with a small radius roundover
bit because the tool is easy to handle. A heavy router can make
the job feel like it’s going slower than it is.

If you want to round over all boards, you might try setting
up your table saw with a moulding head and perhaps a
power feeder. The feeder would automate the job
quite a lot. Of course a shaper would work too.

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2544 posts in 2965 days

#5 posted 07-04-2012 11:39 PM

Are you using pressure treated timber? – I only ask because of what you’re making and it’s the only wood I’ve found that won’t rout successfully because its so wet.
Have you tried chamfering with a block plane?

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70 posts in 2605 days

#6 posted 07-04-2012 11:41 PM

My picnic tables all get rounded both top and benches all around. I use 3/8 round over bit in a HF trim router, usually takes 6-8 minutes per table. Quick sanding afterward and tables are much better looking than with square corners.

-- I cut it off 3 times and it's still too short!

View krisrimes's profile


111 posts in 2531 days

#7 posted 07-05-2012 01:46 AM

I am using pressure treated lumber and it does not route very well at all. I feel like the odds are that I am using too small of a round over bit. I am planning on trying a bigger bit tomorrow. I guess I was hoping that there was a technique out there that I wasn’t thinking of.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2244 days

#8 posted 07-05-2012 02:34 AM

1. I built a picnic table today. It sucked! I would never want to make another one. I love woodworking and any excuse to build something and I am all over it! However there is nothing fun about trying to make furniture out of construction lumber, and I hate working with PT.

2. Did something change with PT? I thought it was a big NO to use PT for seating or eating surfaces. I only used PT for the legs and the bench supports. The rest is doug fir which the lovely wife wants to paint.

I wanted to use cedar or Ipe, but the wife insists it will be painted no matter what wood I use, so PT and doug fir 2×6’s it was (which the edges are already eased so I didn’t need to do it)

Now I have to get that sticky, sappy, chemically sawdust off my circular saw and miter saw blades. There is no way any of this was going through the table saw. What a miserable experience.


View Bobmedic's profile


379 posts in 2798 days

#9 posted 07-05-2012 04:02 AM

You could try a technique called bump cutting. You basically go along an edge and keep the base on the surface of the piece and make a series of scallops and come back with a climb cut to clean up the rest of the material. So you would start the cut then skip a section less than the diameter of the cutter cut again and continue to the end. Then go in reverse climb cutting to clean up. It works very well with splintering woods and woods prone to burning. Maybe it will help here.

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2846 days

#10 posted 07-05-2012 04:09 AM

Are you using a good quality, sharp bit? Something like this from Infinity would be a good baseline tool (and tool price).

Point #2: Rate of feed is one of the 5 Considerations in cutting wood, and you have complete control with a router. If you are interested in speed, I’m wondering if you’re feeding too fast to get a quality cut.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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2544 posts in 2965 days

#11 posted 07-05-2012 09:18 AM

I’m not sure bit size will make a difference on this. The fibres rip instead of cut because they’re wet. I think on an industrial scale the way they do this is all the shaping first and then send off for pressure treating. I have had the same issue with PT which will neither rout nor sand well.
The advantage of doing it this way is that you can shape the timber and and have it all cut ready for assembly, the treatment solution will penetrate all the cut edges as well.
I don’t know what’s available where you are. There’s a timber mill in my village that makes fence stakes and rails of all different sizes with a vacuum chamber on site – if you have one locally, ask if you could get a pallet of stuff treated.
Alternatively, if you know a joiner who makes sash windows, find out how they get them treated.
As it’s probably already too late for this consignment, I’d try rounding all the edges first and then leaving them out in the sun for a day or two, then try going over them again. They might take an edge better if they’re drier.
Good luck!

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706 posts in 2495 days

#12 posted 07-06-2012 01:28 PM

Have a look at this Paul Sellers video

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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966 posts in 2326 days

#13 posted 07-06-2012 01:39 PM

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17381 posts in 3002 days

#14 posted 07-06-2012 02:02 PM

A few swipes with a low angle block plane might get the job done.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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