Shape wood by hand

Most of the wood you use will be in standard sizes or will be a ready-machined moulding, and the range of sizes and cross-sections available will meet most of your requirements.
 
Sometimes, however, you need to shape a piece of wood for a particular purpose. Chisels, rasps and Surforms will help you to do this. If you need a component that is not available as a standard size or profile, you will have to alter its cross-section or shape. For this you need a plane and a router respectively. You can cut curves with a suitable saw. Rounded ends or surfaces curved in more than one direction need another approach.

Paring with a chisel

The simplest way to form a rounded end or corner is to trim (pare) it with a chisel.
  STEP 1
Mark the shape you want to cut on your workpiece. Clamp it securely on your workbench, with some scrap wood or board underneath it to protect the bench surface. Cut off the bulk of the area with a saw before you use the chisel.
  STEP 2
Use a sharpened chisel to pare the remaining wood. Continue trimming off finer and finer shavings until you have cut back to the marked line.
STEP 3
Smooth the resulting curve with a fine rasp (see below) and then abrasive paper.
 
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