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Forum topic by SuburbanDon posted 07-15-2012 05:45 PM 1040 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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487 posts in 2418 days

07-15-2012 05:45 PM

I figure this is the best place to post this. I’m having a heck of a time with curves. I’m working with cherry and trying to make a 4.5” radius curve. I know how to lay out it and used a band saw to cut close to the line. I have a spindle sander but it seems no matter what I do I just can’t keep that arc smooth throughout. I hand sand it then lose my edges and manage to disrupt the arc.

Aside from the obvious “practice”, does anybody have any tips for making this easier ?

Thanks. Don

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

10 replies so far

View jmos's profile


716 posts in 1793 days

#1 posted 07-15-2012 05:52 PM

Make a pattern out of hardboard or plywood and use a router with a pattern following bit. Easier to fair the curve on the thin pattern than the thick work piece.

Other than that, rasp and/or spokeshave and patience.

-- John

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2765 days

#2 posted 07-15-2012 05:53 PM

spindle sanders are a little harder

but make a two part base
with a pin in then

the bottom one clamped to the table
(or sticky tape)
and the part sticky taped to the top one
and slowly rotate it around
till it spins smoothly

should be right on round

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View HerbC's profile


1570 posts in 2283 days

#3 posted 07-15-2012 05:54 PM

Does your spindle sander have either a belt sander or disk sander attachment? if so, make a jig like a trammel circle cutting jig to use on the sander to pivot against the flat surface of the sander. The spindle sander has too small a surface with too much of a curve and it’s cutting into the arc of the workpiece’s curve.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View SuburbanDon's profile


487 posts in 2418 days

#4 posted 07-15-2012 06:01 PM

Thanks. I forgot to mention that this is an inside curve I’m working on. And the piece is only about 6 inches long. I really need the sander on a trammel.

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

View waho6o9's profile


7125 posts in 2000 days

#5 posted 07-15-2012 06:11 PM

Templates are a great suggestion.

View NiteWalker's profile


2735 posts in 2000 days

#6 posted 07-15-2012 07:31 PM

A template and flush trim bit is the way I’d go.

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

View Loren's profile


8174 posts in 3071 days

#7 posted 07-15-2012 07:35 PM

I never sand curves to shape with a machine. Drawfiling
with rasps and files works much better, imo, and the work
goes quickly.

If the work is thick and needs a real 90 degree edge
and/or I want to make more than one it’s usually worth
the trouble to bandsaw and drawfile a hardboard template
and rout the shape. Be aware though that the router
has a higher reject rate than fairing the curve by hand
with the files.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

804 posts in 1658 days

#8 posted 07-15-2012 08:28 PM

A round bottom spoke shane is what I use.

-- Jerry

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 2115 days

#9 posted 07-15-2012 09:25 PM

+1 for the template and flush trim bit, it makes repeating an arc or shape multiple times much easier.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View dnick's profile


984 posts in 1806 days

#10 posted 07-16-2012 03:53 AM

It’s not clear how many pieces need this arc, but if it’s more than 2 I would use a template & flush trim. I’ve had really good success using a drum sander on the drill press. It takes really good eye & hand coordination, but go slow, be patient.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

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