How to Cut Scallops in Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Wood can be cut into scallops for aesthetic purposes. Scallops are decorative dips that connect to each other in a pattern to create a flowing, pleasant edge. Scallops can be used on wood valances that span between cabinets over sinks, on china cabinets, credenzas or anywhere you wish a decorative edge to be applied. Scallops can be drawn on wood freehand, but it's best to start out with a thin-plastic French-curve template that can be purchased at any home improvement store.

Lay the French-curve template on the edge of the wood so that the edge of the template is extending out past the edge of the wood by 3/4 inch.

Trace the edge of the French curve on the wood with a pencil. Slide the template down the wood and connect the end of the previous line to the edge of the template.

Trace the template again. Continue moving the template down the wood, connecting the line to form a continuous line of French curves. The points where the French curves come together are the scallops.

Cut along the lines with a band saw.

Sand the scallops by hand with 100-grit sandpaper.


The measurements here are for examples. You can cut deeper scallops or very delicate scallops on any size wood you desire. You can use the plastic jig to create different designs with fewer or more scallops. Use your imagination. Try to balance your scallops if possible. It's best if you can have 1 scallop centred on the wood.


Always wear safety glasses when working with wood.

Things You'll Need

  • French-curve template
  • Wood, 3/4 by 6 inches, 6 feet long
  • Pencil
  • Band saw
  • 100-grit sandpaper
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About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.