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I have made a curved top for a letterbox by mitering and gluing the edges of narrow pieces. I've then used my spokeshave and sandpaper to get a smooth outside surface. I intended to smooth the inside using my round card scraper but have realized it's not really practical to take that amount of material off with a scraper.

Curved Surface

There is a similar question here. My question differs in two ways. Firstly, I'm not asking specifically about 'old school' techniques. If someone has a way of doing it with a router then I'm all ears. Secondly, the suggestion of using a compass plane in the accepted answer wouldn't work for me as the curve is too tight and I would be planing against the grain. A scorp would probably be perfect for this but unfortunately I don't have one and would prefer not to get one for a single project.

Any other ideas for how to get it smooth?

  • I guess that depends on how curved/accessible the surface is, a picture of the piece would help to get better answers. – Stoppal Aug 2 '16 at 6:35
  • Possible duplicate of What is the old-school way of smoothing a curved surface? – Graphus Aug 2 '16 at 7:29
  • @Stoppal I've added a photo. – sprinter Aug 2 '16 at 11:17
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    You have this tagged hand-planing. This dupe would work well with that. This question would not be a dupe so long as you specifically look for power tool answers. Feel free to remove my edits if you would like. – Matt Aug 2 '16 at 12:06
  • are you really adamantly opposed to doing it by hand? I had a king sized bed headboard with a cupped back surface that I planed by hand... really not that hard once you have the right tool....which you pretty much have to make by hand. I made a convex scrub/molding plane to accomplish this: lumberjocks.com/projects/240626. I say you have to make it by hand because it really does have to be about as long as a jack plane in order to create a flat, level surface. You can then customize the radius of curvature to perfectly suit your work. – aaron Aug 2 '16 at 12:52
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This may or may not be a duplicate. I think the best solutions were already covered in the "possible duplicate candidate". I'd go for a thick scraper.

The only other things i can think of from the top of my head that use power tools are:

Flap Sanders

Image from Instructables

There is an Instructable (picture is taken from there) and John Heisz has a pretty good video about it. That may be worth your while as it's not only usable with this particular project.

Handheld Spindle Sander

Izzy Swan has a video about making those yourself for a couple of bucks and I think those could work for you as well. Start with a pretty rough one(~ 60 grit) and progress to however fine you want it.

A Round Surform

I think surform is a term created by Stanley and I myself only own a plain old plane one (there might be a pun in there somewhere). They are available in round and half-round as well and this might be an option to pursue as they are not too expensive and are quite versatile. (Basically those surforms are bigger, fancier, lightweight files that pack quite a bite)

  • Handheld spindle sander is a great idea. Will definitely give that a go. Thanks. – sprinter Aug 2 '16 at 12:31
  • The flap sander reminded me of an angle grinder disc: amazon.com/Angle-Grinder-Flap-Discs-Flat/dp/B0089F2OJI (not a recommendation -- just the first one that jumped out in search...) If you don't already have an angle grinder, consider one. They're super-useful. (Although somewhat dangerous!) – Aloysius Defenestrate Aug 3 '16 at 2:02

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