How to - Easy Way to Cut Shapes

In woodworking although most parts are straight, rectangular pieces of wood, there are times when cutting curved shapes are required, such as in curved backsplashes and bases.

These pieces are often cut using a jigsaw, bandsaw or fretsaw but most home woodworkers in India are unlikely to have a bandsaw or a jigsaw. Although jigsaws and bandsaws do cut quickly they are not essential tools.

Cutting shapes by hand with a fretsaw can be a tedious process. Fortunately there is a much simpler process which only requires a few cheap hand tools.

Tools required: hand saw, chisel and mallet, rasp and sandpaper.

Step 1: Draw the profile or shape that needs to be cut.

Step 2: With a hand saw make straight cuts across the part that needs to be removed.

These cuts need to be made along the entire length of the portion to be cut out.

Step 3: Using a chisel and a mallet knock off the waste portion. The cut parts chips off easily.

Step 4: Use a rasp to clean the shape.

Step 5; Finish the shape with sandpaper.

This is a quick method which has been advocated by great woodworkers such as Paul Sellers and can easily be mastered by the novice woodworker.

Indranil Banerjie
18 July 2014


  1. A coping saw will do it very accurately with minimum sanding required at the end. And if the curved surface has a circular cross-section, even that sanding can be speeded by sticking sandpaper to a bamboo piece of the right dia and driving a philips bit into it so it can be rotated by a hand drill.


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