Bedroom Chest: A Concave Roundover

The roundover is a common treatment for edges. This project has a backsplash which creates a concave corner. A corner like that tends to be hard to finish nicely, and it accumulates dirt and is difficult to clean. It seems like rounding this corner would be a great improvement.

I suppose the normal way to do this would be to apply some molding. I don’t have any molding, but I recently received a pair of molding planes in the tiny 1/4″ size, so I put them to work to create the roundover.

The process using my molding plane is to glue down a strip, cut a rabbet to guide the molding plane, then glue the backsplash on, and finally, cut the roundover.

Above you can see the strip glued in place. Before gluing it down I marked out a 1/8″ rabbet, making sure the top knife line was very well established and going over the bottom line in ink. The top line is important because it will guide the plane to cut the rabbet. I was amazed when I learned how well this technique works without a fence. I started with the edge of the plane resting in the knife line and began to cut. Once I had a groove established, I could level out the plane and work the rabbet down to the highly visible inked line.

The rabbet provides support and guidance for the convex blade of the molding plane. It doesn’t need to look pretty.

Once the rabbet was done, I glued on the backspash. I had a little trouble here because I had cut the front edge of this board at an angle, which meant the clamps were likely to dig into the angled corner edge. I extracted the offcuts from the trash and tried to tape them down with carpet tape to protect the edge, but they shifted sideways and I still ended up with some edge damage. I think the shear forces are simply too large for tape to hold. The final step is cutting with the molding plane.

The HNT Gordon molding plane, with its blade bedded at 60 degrees cut amazingly well in both directions on the wood. Because the molding plane only covers 1/6 of a circle, I had to hold it at different angles to cut a complete quarter round. This process worked quite well, though I got into some trouble with the cut angle shown in the second picture. I had raking light on the flat part but no raking light from above lighting the backsplash, so I didn’t realize that I was overcutting a circular hollow above my roundover. I needed to do a lot of sanding to blend the roundover with the backsplash. And here’s the final result.


Is there any other method that could achieve the same result? I can only think of hand carving with a gouge or maybe a similar approach using a profiled scraper instead of a molding plane.