by Les Hastings
Ok everyone come on in and grab a stool or bucket. Have a seat and we’ll get stated.
The pair of doors I’m going to focus on will be 1” thick with a 20” outside and a 19” inside diameter. They will fit in an opening that is 24” wide x 30” tall. I’ll be painting them so I’m using poplar to make them out of. If you are making curved doors for the first time you might want to use poplar as well. Might be a good idea to make a few extra parts also.
First up we will need to make a full size drawing of the doors. A top view is all that is needed. I usually do this on a piece of ¼’ plywood. But paper will work also. Draw your two 19” and 20” arches. Then add a center line through the arches. Determine what width of styles you need. I’ll be using 2 ½’ wide styles. On the 20’ arc from the center each way put a mark at 2 ½’. From the center measure over 12’ each way and put a mark. From those marks again measure over 2 ½’. for the styles. Make a mark on each of those marks from the center point of your arc’s . Extend the line past the arc’s on both sides. Here’s what you should have. Set this aside we’ll get back to it later.
A tray is needed to rout the styles and the panel parts. I make mine out of ¾” thick melamine. The smooth slick surfaces allows the parts to slide easily . Here’s the parts you’ll need.
1 ea. - ¾” x 3 ½” x 48”
2 ea. - ¾” x 1 7/8” x 24”
Assemble them to create a U shaped channel. Center the 24” pieces on both sides of the 48” piece. Picture below.
I use porter cable routers. I have two that I leave set up all the time for curved work. One is for the inside and one for the outside radius.
Custom made bases are needed for the routers. Mine are 5 ¾” square and made out of 3/8” thick Baltic birch plywood. Drill a 1” hole in the center. Layout your holes for the mounting screws and drill those. Mount the base and determine the layout for two 1/8” deep x 3/8” wide dados that will miss all the mounting screws Mine are 2 7/8” apart for the porter cable router.
Lastly you need four pieces of the 3/8” Baltic birch plywood 1” wide by 5 ¾” long. Insert these into the dados and attach with some small screws. Do not glue them in place, might need to trim them later.
Now you need two small radius pieces for both bases. They need to be the same matching radius as the router jigs that will be made next. See pictures below.
Basic router base. I just use double face tap to hold the small radius pieces to the base.
In the picture you see that the side rails have had the corners trimmed to miss the tray.
The two routing jigs are next. One for the inside and one for the outside radius. I make mine out of ¾” thick MDF, but any material will work. Below is drawings for both jigs. The width of these is the same as your width of the opening between the rails on the router bases.
The following pictures are with everything complete and ready to start the styles and panel parts.
The tray and router bases can be used over and over with any radius. Next time all you will need is different radius jigs if you want to do a different radius.
My hope is that I’ve provided enough in the form of drawings and pictures that will help you get these made. But I’m sure some of you will have questions, feel free to ask. I’ll do my best to answer them all to make this as clear as possible.