To Roundover or not to Roundover?

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Forum topic by NickyP posted 02-06-2015 04:18 PM 3510 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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179 posts in 1957 days

02-06-2015 04:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: fine furniture furniture coffee table table design

Hello Lumberjocks,

I’m at a crossroads asking myself a question as to weather or not to put a small roundover on my coffee table I am working on. I absolutely love the sharp edge look but do realize denting and pain if the edges are accidentally hit are inevitable. I am relatively new to woodworking and this is my first indoor piece so I’d like to hear the pros & cons from the fine furniture makers. I will post a couple of pictures of the table top.

-- -- "Never underestimate the power of a kind word, a good deed, or a table saw."

21 replies so far

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 3209 days

#1 posted 02-06-2015 04:20 PM

How about a very small chamfer???

View Mark's profile


984 posts in 2208 days

#2 posted 02-06-2015 04:23 PM

Your table top looks great Nick. I would advise a small round over, IMO. The sharp edge looks ok, but just for the reasons you mentioned, a bit of an edging will look that mush better. In my opinion your not looking for a 1/2” round over, but some thing a little more subtle. JMTCW.

-- Mark

View ChuckC's profile


843 posts in 3168 days

#3 posted 02-06-2015 04:34 PM

A small chamfer with a block plane.

View tyvekboy's profile


1829 posts in 3247 days

#4 posted 02-06-2015 04:52 PM

I think an 1/8 in round over would be good enough to break the edge. A 1/4 in round over wouldn’t be bad either. I think round overs give it a more finished look. You could also just use a block of wood and some sand paper to break the edge but a router will give a more consistent round over.

Another option would be to use a 1/2 inch round over bit but only use a portion of the round over to give it a bullnose effect.

Take a scrap of wood and try out the different options and see which one you like best.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2810 days

#5 posted 02-06-2015 04:52 PM

A friendly reminder ^

+1 for a chamfer.

View coachroesch's profile


8 posts in 1442 days

#6 posted 02-06-2015 05:03 PM

Hello Nick,

Great job on the table. I would suggest a small radius, just to break the edge. I find it will prevent pulling off a splinter in the future, especially when you are dusting, you wont catch it with the rag.

-- Brian Roesch Industrial Arts Teacher, Quinter, Kansas, "I didn't realize I was making memories I just knew I was having fun!"

View Patch2020's profile


97 posts in 1475 days

#7 posted 02-06-2015 05:10 PM

A small round over or chamfer will make it look more “finished” when it is finished. If you were going to use it unfinished a sharp edge would probably work, but once it is finished you will probably keep looking at it thinking there is something missing.
Also with sharp corners at that height, knees and shins hurt but a child falling into it with their head will be cut like a knife. I have seen it happen and it is not a pretty sight.

-- Patch2020, Tennessee

View TarHeelz's profile


62 posts in 2314 days

#8 posted 02-06-2015 05:22 PM

Agree with all the wisdom above.

The final reason I would vote yes is for the same reason we use beading on the mouldings around doors. Sharp corners with the grain tend to very weak. They can easily get a tiny splinter running and catch a pant leg and tear apart both the pants and the table edge.

-- Tar Heelz, Durham, NC USA

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2721 days

#9 posted 02-06-2015 05:33 PM

Just an alternate point of view, but your design lends itself to using a guitar style binding. ABS or PVC, a contrasting color.
You could also use a wooden binding of a contrasting wood or even one of intricate design.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View firefighterontheside's profile


19570 posts in 2090 days

#10 posted 02-06-2015 05:42 PM

I would say do something. My vote is for tyvekboy’s suggestion. It will be an eased edge, but not your everyday round over. In some ways it will still retain a bit of the sharp look. Like he said try it with a scrap.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View NickyP's profile


179 posts in 1957 days

#11 posted 02-06-2015 05:44 PM

NickyP here and this is my post regarding rounding over.

I was tinkering out in the woodshop, trying a 1/4” & an 1/8” roundover on some scrap. I preferred and have decided to go with the 1/8” roundover bit but now have a new question for all:

Just the top of the table top or both the top and the bottom?
Again asking for pros & cons.

-- -- "Never underestimate the power of a kind word, a good deed, or a table saw."

View jdh122's profile


1058 posts in 3051 days

#12 posted 02-06-2015 05:47 PM

If you leave it with the sharp edges the’ll ding up easily and show the marks. I’d say you should ease the edges either by router or by plane. Personally I like the small chamfer left by a block plane or spokeshave to a roundover, I think that it reflects the light a bit better than does the radius from a roundover bit (that, plus I don’t like the router and use it as little as possible).

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Patch2020's profile


97 posts in 1475 days

#13 posted 02-06-2015 05:50 PM

I usually just do the tops of table tops; end, coffee or dining. Try just the top and see how you like it. It is hard to say much without knowing the rest of the design.

-- Patch2020, Tennessee

View NickyP's profile


179 posts in 1957 days

#14 posted 02-06-2015 06:31 PM

Well, here it is . . .

1/8” roundover edge on the top only with a light sanding. I could not be more pleased with the look and results. Thanks to all fellow wood workers who chimed into this post on Lumberjocks :-)

-- -- "Never underestimate the power of a kind word, a good deed, or a table saw."

View bonesbr549's profile


1579 posts in 3300 days

#15 posted 02-06-2015 07:03 PM

If you don’t like full round-over, go with just breaking the edges a bit with some sand paper. Looks good though, and either a roundover or chamfer edge would look good as well. I’d take a piece of scrap do all three step back and make a call and go with it.

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

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