Routing an Elliptical Solid Wood Table Edge

Joining and profiling a curved table edge out of solid wood. April 18, 2011

I've been given an ellipse shaped office table to make. Not so hard, I figure, but the customer wants 2" thick by 1.5" wide solid walnut edging all the way around, with a profile cut into it. If I were to laminate the walnut around it in strips, it wouldn't be such an issue. But the customer wants segments cut out of solid walnut blocks all around the perimeter. Any ideas on how I could make the solid segments so that the joint between the laminate top and the edging is almost seamless?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor R:
You could make an MDF template of the table and template rout the walnut. You would probably have to do it in sections of segments glued together (depends on the size of the table). Then template rout the sections.

From contributor P:
You want to cut the edging out of solid material anyway, as the strips would feather the glue line when you cut the profile, and this would not be acceptable. Do you know how to make a jig for cutting ellipses? Or you could go to someone with a CNC. Either way you are probably going to need to cut the edging parts with a template.

From contributor T:
Rockler (and others, I suppose) sells a circle cutting jig for routers that does ellipses. Make sure it's big enough to do the table you're building. Lay out segments of solid wood oversized. Pay attention to where you want your seams to fall. Glue them up and clamp to a flat surface. It may make sense to make two halves, depending on your strategy for attaching the edge to the top.

Use a 2" spiral bit to do the cutting, taking multiple passes to get to the full depth. Use the same setup to cut your substrate before laminating. You need to be very exact when adjusting the radius of the jig, so the MDF top and edging will fit properly.

Or outsource it to a shop with CNC.