If you don’t have a router, and you need to round wooden edges, this can seem like a difficult task at first sight.
But don’t worry, because the tips in this article will show you exactly how to round wood edges without a router. After reading this article, you will soon see that you can still do this task without a router, and surprisingly well and quickly too.
The router may be the best and quickest way to round wood edges, but it is perfectly possible to round wood edges without it. Furthermore, before the invention of power tools, woodworkers could finish wooden edges perfectly and skillfully without the use of these tools.
You can round wood edges without a router by using sandpaper, files, rasps, chisels, hand planers, surform, sander, jigsaw, and a Dremel. Those are the 8 alternatives that you will learn to use in this article.
As you can see, there are numerous tools for rounding wooden edges available.
Whether you want to make rounded table edges, how to round corners on plywood, or any other reason for rounding wooden edges, you will undoubtedly find the best wood edge rounding tool for your project in this article. So continue reading with caution.
Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.
How to Round Wood Edges Without a Router?
So if you don’t have a router for woodworking, but you still want to round your wooden edges, then you’ve come to the right place.
Before moving on with this guide to help you know how to round wood edges without a router, understand that none of the alternative methods is as fast as a wood router.
Owning a palm router myself, and with a great desire to buy a plunge router, I can strongly recommend this tool. You can see the biggest proof that this tool is indispensable in my workshop when you watch my YouTube videos. There are hardly any videos where I am not using this tool.
Are you convinced that a wood router is something for your workshop, but you are not sure how to choose this tool from the wide range, then I advise you to read an earlier article on my website. In What Woodworking Router Do I Need? A Clear Types Overview, you can find out which type of router is most suitable for you.
If you know that a palm router is your thing, but you are not sure which brand or model to buy, then you should take a look at this article: Compare & Find The Perfect Palm Router | Top 5 Best Buy Guide.
Now back to the ways on how to soften wood edges without a router. To be able to do this, there are two main options: Either you do this by hand, or you use power tools.
By reading this article all the way through, you will gradually become aware of the advantages and disadvantages of these methods and you will be able to better determine what is most suitable for you.
Do Wooden Edges Need to Be Rounded?
Some people prefer rounded edges, while others do not. In reality, it is a matter of personal preference. However, it’s still a good idea to think about why you’d do this.
Rounded corners have a few benefits, and I believe they give your work a slightly different look.
If the edges of the wood are not rounded, they will remain sharp. This can lead to a variety of issues. In the following section, I’ll go over when it’s best to round corners.
When Do You Need to Round Wooden Edges?
There are numerous advantages to rounding wood edges, but the most important advantage, in my opinion, is safety. If the wood’s edge isn’t rounded, it will become as sharp as a knife. Anyone who works with the wood risks injuring themselves.
Another reason rounding wood corners is safer is that they are less likely to break. Splinters can be formed when a piece of wood breaks off, posing a new risk of injury.
Your work’s appearance and quality
The second reason is to make your project more visually appealing. Rounding the edges of the wood will improve its quality and beauty significantly.
How Much Rounding Do You Want?
The first thing to look at when rounding wood corners is how much rounding the edges really need.
This will also determine which alternative you can use from this list, after all, the more aggressive the beam, the longer it will take.
If you only want to round off lightly, this can be done quickly by hand, sometimes even faster than if you were using a router in some cases.
If you want to make larger roundings, the energy, and time you have to put in will become too great to do this manually. Then it is recommended to switch to an alternative way with power tools.
With very large rounding, you may have to combine a number of different methods.
You can start with an aggressive method of creating a quick and rough shape followed by a method of refining it, which allows you to make the rounding look really nice.
What Are the Accessories We Need?
If you want rounded table edges, are looking for a way to round corners on plywood, or if you have other reasons to round wooden edges, you need the right accessories.
Because you want to know how to round wood edges without a router, you should look for suitable tools to round wood edges.
Fortunately, the right tool for rounding wood edges is not difficult to find. All of the suggested alternatives are tools that you most likely already have in your workshop.
To give you an overview, I make a shortlist below. Later in this article i will go over them more in depth with possible links where you can go even deeper into these tools so that you can make the best choice for the job.
The alternatives you can use for creating rounded edges are split between hand tools (the first five options) and power tools (the last three options) and are:
- Round over the wood edge with sandpaper
- Use a file or rasp
- Using a chisel
- By using a hand plane
- Use a surform
- With a power sander
- Using a Dremel
- With a jigsaw
How to Round Wood Edges Without a Router by Hand?
Rounding Off Wooden Edges with Sandpaper.
The trick to using sandpaper is to start with a low-grade sheet and work your way up to a fine-grit finish.
For better grip and control, use a sanding block. It not only provides a smooth and even surface, but it also protects your knuckles from splinters.
However, sandpaper is not the best method for removing a large amount of material. Then try another method first, followed by sandpaper.
Follow these steps: Make a guideline by drawing a curve on the short side of the wood.
Begin by flattening the sharp corner at a 45-degree angle with 80-grit coarse sandpaper.
Begin shaping the curve’s edges as you get closer to the desired line.
For finer details, use 120 grit sandpaper followed by 220 grit.
To achieve a smooth surface, sand with long strokes over the straight edges and avoid sanding unevenly.
Continue this process until the curve takes shape.
Rounding Off Wooden Edges with a Wood File or Rasp.
Wood files aren’t that different from sandpaper when it comes to the end result, but the great thing about wood files is that they give you an incredible amount of control. They are excellent finesse tools, so creating curved edges is very easy with this handheld tool.
The only downside to wood files is that, like sandpaper, it can take a long time to see results. A better option here is the rasp, which is slightly more aggressive than the wood file. But here too it might be better to use a different method and finish with a wood file.
To round corners with a wood file or rasp, do the following: Hold the file by the handle with one hand and the top of the blade with the other.
The file should be run along the straight edges, making a 45-degree angle at the ends near the corners.
To match the straight lines, shape the sharp edges by flattening them and leveling the curve.
Work the file back and forth along the edge of the curve until it is complete.
Rounding Off Wooden Edges with Chisel.
The use of a chisel necessitates more practice and skill. Wood chisels are more aggressive than previous methods, and irreversible mistakes can be made in a short period of time. That is why it is suggested that you practice on a piece of wood first to get a sense of how it works.
You risk removing too much wood at once if you use too much force with the hammer, mishandle the chisel, or use the wrong angle. Always proceed with caution and remove small amounts of wood at a time. The secret is in the chisel itself; always keep the chisel sharp. A dull chisel will cut through the wood more slowly and increase the possibility of mistakes.
Corners are rounded with a wood chisel as follows: Hold the chisel at a 45-degree angle and tap the end gently with the hammer.
Begin by removing the sharp point at the corner.
Continue to shred until you have a semi-flat edge.
Concentrate on the edges where they meet the corner.
Form the angle as you go along the straight edge.
After you’ve removed the majority of the wood, use sandpaper to shape the rough edges into a smooth curve.
Rounding Off Wooden Edges with Hand Plane.
If the edges of the wood are sharp, and you want to quickly remove a lot of wood for an aggressive round over, the best and most effective method is to use a hand planer.
A hand planer is a tool for leveling the wood, but you can also use it to smooth the edges of the wood. The best hand planer for this task is the block planer. It fits easily in the palm of your hand and is easy to operate when rounding wooden edges.
To round corners with a hand planer, start by placing the hand planer at a 45-degree angle on the edge of the wood.
Sweep along the straight edges along the entire length.
Change the blade tilt as you approach the angle to adjust the bend.
Plan the corner gradually until it resembles a rounded edge.
To form the shape, finish the rounded edge with sandpaper.
Rounding Off Wooden Edges with a Surform.
A surform is essentially a hybrid of a hand slicer and a grater. It has hand planer-style handles and a perforated blade that grates the wood as it passes. You can check a surform out on Amazon here.
It’s used in the same way as a hand planer, with the handles gripped at both ends and smooth movements across the wood. This is a tool that can move quickly due to the grater and the power you can exert through the handles.
You can use a surform in the following manner: place the surform on the sharp corner and work in sweeping movements from left to right.
Take the surform and run it along the straight edges, tilting it as you get to the bend.
Repeat with the opposite straight edge until you have a natural curve.
How to Round Wood Edges Without a Router with a Power Tool?
Rounding Off Wooden Edges with a Power Sander.
Actually, this is similar to making roundings with sandpaper, but it is much faster. The advantage is that sandpaper can be used to achieve a nice, smooth rounding, and the sander’s sole helps to keep the rounding nice and flat.
Working with a sander, on the other hand, has a disadvantage when compared to manual sanding. When using a Power Sander, you must be cautious because the sanding is very fast due to its power and speed.
Begin by drawing a curved template on the crosscut side of the wood to round corners with a sander. This will serve as a guide for you to follow. Switch on the sander and wait for it to reach its maximum speed. Begin rounding the corners by sanding back and forth along the long sides of the edges. Sand the edges with the sander until they are at the desired angle.
Rounding Off Wooden Edges with a Dremel.
When I first heard about a dremel, I assumed it was a tool for hobbyists or miniature builders. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Since I own one, I’ve learned that Dremels are useful tools for woodworkers. I can highly recommend this Dremel on Amazon, which is a great set for a descent price.
Curved edges are simple and quick to create with a Dremel. There is one disadvantage to using a dremel to make roundings, and that is that this machine is difficult to control for this task.
Another thing to keep in mind is that putting too much pressure on one part risks ruining the flatness of the finish.
Draw a template curve on the wood with a pencil to make roundings with a dremel.
Turn on the Dremel and allow it to reach maximum speed.
To remove the sharp corners, use sweeping motions.
Follow the lines and gradually arrange the wood’s curvature.
Smooth out any rough edges with sandpaper to achieve a better shape.
Rounding Off Wooden Edges with a Jigsaw.
You might not immediately expect it, but a jigsaw is suitable for making rounded edges in wood. This tool is agile and fast, but don’t expect neat edges.
Using a jigsaw to round out sharp corners of wood will only work if you need to remove large chunks of wood.
However, it takes practice and skill to keep the blade under control. You risk screwing up your project.
Here’s how to get started with the jigsaw: Make a template of your curve by drawing it on the endgrain of the wood.
Place the jigsaw blade at the desired angle on the starting point.
Turn on the jigsaw and advance the blade.
Finish the cutting action in one pass and come to a halt when you reach the end point.
After you’ve removed the majority of the wood, you’ll need to finish the rounding with a different technique. Sandpaper, for example, can be used to smooth out rough edges.
How to round wood edges without a router – conclusion
If you do not have a router, you should not immediately incur costs for that one time you have to round wooden edges. There are several alternatives that you probably already have in your workshop that can get the job done.
However, if you want to round off more corners in the future, I can recommend that you purchase a router. Earlier in this article, I gave you links to other articles on my website that can be a useful tool in choosing the right router. So that you don’t have to search all over again where these links were, I’ll give them here and here again.
Another problem that comes up with rounding is rounding inside corners. These are sometimes quite difficult to reach. To help you with that, I previously wrote the article, How To Round Over Inside Corners (3 Dead Simple Tricks). I recommend that you take a look at this article.
Building your workshop can be daunting, filled with trial and error. Believe me, I’ve been there too.
But it was “The Ultimate Small Workshop” course, a gem I discovered and now endorse on Christofix.com, that provided insights unparalleled to any other. This expertise empowered me to invest wisely and save substantially.
I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!
I hope this information on how to round wood edges without a router was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
Feel free to share this blog on Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media.
You can do this by using the buttons below or at the top of the blog.
It will be much appreciated.
I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.
Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration