Tips & Tricks Issue 85: A Quick Corner Rout

When making shelves and small table tops, I like to radius the corners for both aesthetics and safety. I find that the most efficient and consistent way to do it is using a template on a table router outfitted with a flush-trim bit. A pair of fences on the template allow for quick, accurate positioning of the workpiece. Make the template from a piece of 1/2" hardwood plywood, shaping one of the corners as desired with a jigsaw or bandsaw. If necessary, smooth and fair the profile by filing and/or power-sanding. Attach two fences as shown, keeping them back from each end of the curve by a couple of inches so they don’t impede bit travel. 

To shape your workpiece, first trace its corners using the template, then saw to within 1/8" of the line. Install a flush-trim bit with a shank-mounted bearing into your table router, and adjust the projection of the bit so the bearing contacts the pattern. Holding the workpiece firmly against the template fences, trim the corner to shape, making sure to move the workpiece against the rotation of the bit.

—Marvin Mertz, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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