1. Make the shape. I usually draw the shape at full scale on a piece of graph paper, or sometimes with software, and print it out. Sketchup (free and excellent) or Adobe Illustrator (expensive but powerful) can both be used to make all sorts of curves. Pencils work pretty well, too.
|A template design I made in Illustrator|
|Trace the pattern first|
|Hash marks on the waste side prevent expensive mistakes|
|Ready for the router|
5. Cut it! My weapon of choice for this one is a 3/4" diameter x 2" template cutting bit with a bearing at the top (Whiteside #3023) in a fixed-base router. Set the height so that the bearing runs along the template and watch the bearing as you cut, not the cutter. Again, watch the grain direction and try to cut with it. You might need to climb cut around some curves, which is no big deal if you pre-cut the shape fairly closely.
|A big bit gets the job done easily|
|No sanding required|