Let's say I want to round the edge of a long board, something like the front and back of the desk I attached.

mid century rosewood and brass desk

What techniques can I use to achieve this? It's obviously too wide to use a router (unless you have a 12-inch round over...), and it's much too long to use a bandsaw. How could you do this?

  • A spokeshave maybe, or a circular saw with mitre adjustment to rough it (chop off edges at 45) then a belt sander then an orbit sander, and an eye for perfection. Or a cnc router. Or a large shaper, like the ones with the 1-1/4" shanks, might have a roundover bit that big.
    – Jason C
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 23:03
  • you could use custom profile knives I guess, and then two cuts making a very large quarter round might work. Very expensive though... and definitely not the technique used here at least, though I guess I'm trying to do something a bit different. Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 0:33
  • It depends on how thick your board is. That looks very thick. For thinner stuff a router table and a round over bit would be perfect.
    – Doov
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 1:46

2 Answers 2


The easy way: Bending plywood over supports, veneered.

The hard and expensive way: Start with angled tablesaw rip-cuts to approximate the shape, refine with planes to create more/smaller facets, sand to final roundness.

  • The table pictured is more certainly veneered.
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 1:07

This sort of bullnose profile is very easily achieved by hand planing, followed by scraping and/or sanding. The bulk of the wood could be removed using a spokeshave, but all the work could be done with one or more planes if required.

After marking your profiles on both ends you begin work by chamfering the corners to take off the bulk of the excess wood, then take the resulting corners off, then take those corners off and so forth until you're nearly at your marked lines. Then you scrape or sand to the final round profile.

  • 1
    For a smaller round-over, sure; planes or routers. Given the size illustrated, preliminary sawcuts to remove most of the waste would be highly recommended ... and a lot of wood winds up in non-reusable scrap and shavings, which is wasteful.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 14:54
  • @keshlam, for a one-off, I would probably not let it bother me. I agree sawing the big chunks off would be nice so that those triangles of wood didn't go entirely to waste (I would find uses for them), but the most important thing here is surely whether the OP has a table saw or bandsaw :-) It is of course possible to do the cuts with a suitable hand saw, but I think it likely those cuts would be too challenging for a woodworker at the level of needing to ask the question in the first place.
    – Graphus
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 20:04

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