How to Round Wood Edges without a Router

When building furniture, most people will round off wooden edges. Because edges are dangerous and can be harmful, it is quite common practice. Although, along with other methods, the easiest way to do it is with a router. In case you don’t have one, here is a guide on how you can round wood edges without a router.

Everyone knows what a versatile tool a router really is. Whether it is to create grooves or to make joints, a router makes the job easy. But what if you do not own a router? After all, the router is a power tool, there must have been a way to do all that before power tools were created.

In this guide, we will not be focusing on how to perform all of the functions a router can without it. Rather, we are going to discover different methods on how to round wood edges without one. And there are quite a few ways you can go about it.


Why Round Wood Edges in the First Place?

It is quite common practice to round wood edges when it comes to making furniture. Although edges do provide a sharper look, they can be quite dangerous. For instance, you made a bed and left the edges of the wood sharp. You did so to improve the look of the bed. But what if you were to stub your toe on a sharp edge of the bed? You would not only hurt your toe but might even tear it open.

Sharp edges on furniture are a recipe for disastrous injuries. It is not only dangerous for children but pets and even adults as well. Accidents happen, they are unavoidable even by the most experienced person. Even on the road accidents happen, even though adults are driving cars. But safety measures are there for a reason, like a seatbelt.

That is why you round wood edges on most wooden furniture. This avoids any accidental injuries or at least dampen the effect of those accidents. Since rounded wood edges will not tear open skin or seriously injure someone. If you stub your toe into a rounded edge, chances are you will be left with tons of pain but no bleeding or tears.


How to Round Wood Edges without a Router

We will be discussing at least 2 methods on how you can round wood edges without a router. The first one can be done without a power tool. The second method requires a power tool to do more efficiently.

But both of these methods are efficient, the first method being the most efficient of all and recommended by tons of carpenters and woodworkers.

First Method – Round Wood Edges with a Hand Plane

For this method, you need either a manual hand plane or an electric one. Both work in this situation and are the quickest way to round wood edges.

  1. First, you will need to clamp on the piece of wood on a workbench. You can use your workbench clamp vise for this. You can also use any other vise of your choice to fasten the wood so it does not budge.
  2. If you are using an electric hand plane, you need to power it on. Using the bevel on the front shoe, start to plane the edge. You can adjust the angle of the edge to your choice by positioning the edge differently on the bevel.
  3. If you are using a manual hand plane, then simply just start to plane the edge of the wood. This will round wood edges the fastest.
  4. Try to position yourself properly when you plane wood using a hand planer. Stand in front of the piece of wood you intend to plane. Remember to push in front of the plane when you start off and push on the end of the plane when you are off the edge.

Round Wood Edges with an Orbital Sander

This method requires you to use an orbital sander. You can also use a sanding attachment on a drill if you want. But the best results achieved are through the tool itself.

  1. First, mark the edge you want to sand off, this will make sure you don’t sand it off unevenly. You only sand off the area that is marked with a marker. Any further means you will end up with an uneven rounded edge.
  2. Clamp the piece of wood on to a workbench clamp vise. You can also fasten it by nailing the piece of wood to the workbench but that leaves behind nail marks.
  3. Turn on the orbital sander and slowly start sanding off the edge from the wood. You start from one edge and with one uniform motion take it to the edge. This will allow you to make sure that the edge is not uneven when it’s rounded.
  4. This method takes time so be patient and keep sanding till you sand off all the marked area. After that, you can use high grit sandpaper to smoothen the surface so it’s not coarse to the touch.

Both of these methods work really well. The hand plane method is the fastest though. There are plenty of other ways you can round wood edges without a router as well. But they can be a bit time consuming and require more effort.

Woodworking is all about being creative and using the tools you have to do the work. You can use chisels to round wood edges as well, they are a bit hard to control though. If you know how to use chisels well, you can use those and a chisel mallet for the job too.

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