I'm planning to build a bed-side table and wish to build it with gently curved legs. I'm planning to recycle wood some old hardwood doors by cutting the blocks out with a circular saw, then cutting the curve in with a jigsaw.

Now the questions: Do I need a planer with a curved base to get a nice finish on the curve? Will a manual planer work best in this case? Power planers with a curved base seem pretty rare.

In order to keep the legs strong, do I need to ensure that the centre part of the leg runs from the top to the bottom of the leg without being cut?

BTW: my chippie skills are so-so. I've build simple furniture-like things before, but pretty simple ones.

2 Answers 2


User is right saying you should cut the rough shape with a band saw. If you don't have one, you can use a jig saw but use the most rigid blade that will follow the form. The next step will be to use a table mounted rotary sander/ drum sander to work the piece to the scribed line. It will be next to impossible to make a well shaped piece without this step. Check out a few episodes of "New Yankee Workshop" online (PBS) to see the techniques. Keeping a full length of grain top to bottom is extremely important,(as mentioned) otherwise the piece will split in time. Good luck with your project.

  • 2
    +1 for grain direction. If you want a better finish on the inside curve, use a spokeshave with a convex base...you can pick them up used pretty cheap and resharpen the blade. Jun 9, 2011 at 16:36

Use a bandsaw to get the rough shape (jigsaw blades tend to deflect when cutting thick stock). In order to keep the leg strong, make sure that you have at least a small section of wood that runs undisturbed from the floor to the table top. I have a very old buffet that was made with curved legs, and it has a weak spot in the leg that tends to shear off and time it gets bumped.

  • Will a bandsaw cope with hardwood? I'm not sure what wood it is since the doors are about 90years old but they are damn heavy - I'm guessing Tasmanian Oak.
    – dave
    Jun 8, 2011 at 20:43
  • 2
    Never heard of Tasmanian Oak. Red and White oaks tend to be a bit finnicky to work by hand, since the grain is so pronounced. Working with reclaimed hardwoods can be incredibly rewarding, but if you are unsure about the project, perhaps some practice on a cheaper (and more available) softwood is in order. Jun 8, 2011 at 21:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.