Routing a large "french" curve
I need to smooth the edge of an 8' piece of 5/8" melamine-coated pressboard to apply iron-on edge banding (white melamine). Normally I use my router, clamp a straight edge, and route the edge smooth, but this time I need to make it in a large 'french curve', from 36" wide at one end curving smoothly down to 18" wide at the other end. Does anyone have any suggestions for material to use to guide the router along a smooth curve this large? Thanks.
I use a piece of plywood and cut the curve smaller (or larger) than the desired curve by the distance from the bit to the edge of the routers base plate. Use a jigsaw to cut the plywood and file or sand the curve smooth. Then clamp it to your material and run the router against the plywood template.
Glen, thanks, I tried a different approach which worked well. This is an attempt to make a clean curved edge on a piece of 3/4" melamine-coated particle board. I bought a piece of clear pine lath about 10' long and 1/4" x 2" and bent it into an S-curve on the surface of the melamine. Get a piece that is really wobbly (Home Depot has several kinds but most are too stiff.) The pine is smooth and would do a good job of being the surface to slide the router base along, if only I could attach it to the surface without marring. I finally decided to used 3M foam adhesive mounting squares. I used these to mount little pine blocks behind the bent lath, then shot a brad through the lath into each pine block. I used about 6 of them in 8' of lath. Presto, the curved lath was totally rigid and made a perfect curved surface for the router to follow. The final trimmed edge is razor-sharp, and the foam mounting squares peeled right off the melamine surface.
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