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Routing Fingernail Edges

By attaching a jig to a router table, round-over bits can be used to create fingernail edges on tabletops or bookshelves. Here's how to give furniture designer edges without spending a ton of money.

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routing fingernail rdges

Step 1: Cut the Plywood Base

Fingernail router bits are used to create designer fingernail edges, but they can be rather expensive. To accomplish the same effect with an inexpensive round-over bit, attach a jig to the router table to guide the round-over bit.

The first step is to set the table-saw blade at 45 degrees.

Send the plywood base (cut the length of the router table, with a width about one-fourth the length) through the table saw to cut a bevel through one side of its length.

cut the plywood base

Step 2: Cut the Support Block

Set the table-saw blade at 90 degrees (Image 1). Adjust the blade to the height of the support block (7/8" should be adequate for the blade to clear the wood).

Send the support block (cut 2-1/4" wide and the length of the router table) through the blade at a 45-degree angle to cut a triangle from its end (Image 2).

Send the same end of the support block through for another pass, this time at a 90-degree angle (Image 3).

Make the same cuts on the other end of the support block.

Step 3: Attach the Support Blocks to the Clamping Block

Take the small pieces of wood cut off in step 2, and cut a small shoulder from their longest ends (Image 1). The shoulder should be the same size as the clamping-block material you've chosen.

Screw the support blocks to the clamping block (cut the length of the router table and about 1-1/2" wide) so they're as far apart from each other as the jig's base is long (Image 2).

Step 4: Attach the Base to the Stands

Screw the plywood base onto the stands at a 45-degree angle (Image 1).

Screw the 3/4" plywood strip -- cut the length of the base and about 1/6" the width of the base -- that will act as a stop to the foot of the base, resting at a 45-degree angle (Image 2).

Step 5: Drill Through the Stop and Base

Use a hole saw attached to a drill press to drill a hole in the center of the stop and plywood base. Use sandpaper to smooth the rough edges. The hole allows the router bit to come up through the base and contact the work piece.

drill a hole in center of stop and plywood base

Step 6: Send the Work Piece Through the Round-Over Bit

Attach the round-over bit to the router table. Center the jig's hole around the round-over bit (Image 1).

Use the stop as a fence for the bottom of your work piece as you send it through the round-over bit (Image 2). Sending a work piece through the jig will give it rounded edges. Be sure to experiment with scrap wood before sending your work piece through. You may need to adjust the fence forward or backward on the table to get a perfect fingernail cut.

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