Rounding Corners
We sweat the small stuff to design and make the best products we can. In this series, Details Matter, we’ll dive into a specific detail of one of our products. First stop—rounding corners with our desk accessories.
What’s a Spline?
There are two different ways to soften the corners of a square: the first and easiest is to just radius the corners. Take a square block of wood, round off the corners, done. This is the most common route. The second is to use a spline to create a gentle curve that flows from side to side. This is what we do for our products.

Originally, a spline was a physical tool (a thin piece of wood or other pliable material) used to help draw a gentle bending curve between fixed points. Now, we use computer software to model spline curves as we design our products, and then produce the shape out of solid hardwood. This method allows us to create a continuous curve around the edge of the square, rather than an abrupt change from flat to rounded.
Subtle/Not Subtle
Seeing is believing—check out the animation below to see the difference between the two profiles:
(A) shows the profile of a square with rounded corners, the more common approach. (B) shows the shape created with a spline, the shape we use in our products. With (B), the turn is gently extended around the entire shape, avoiding the optical illusion created in (A) where the sides appear to pinch inward. It’s a gentler transition from side to side.
Although the difference between the profiles is subtle, it’s a much more complex (and difficult) shape to model and create. Woodworking techniques are designed around right angles and flat surfaces—using the spline shape makes the manufacturing harder throughout the process, from cross cutting to sanding. We need to use special jigs to find the center of each piece—it’s hard to measure from the edges when each side is entirely curved.

“The spline softens the edges of the square, giving it a warmer, more organic feel.”

SEAN KELLY
Lead Product Designer
The result, however, is a shape that is way more sculptural. It’s why our planters, pen cups, and other accessories have been classics in our workspace collection. Once we saw the shape created by using a spline, we couldn’t go back to a rounded square! It’s a detail worth working hard to create.
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Wooden monitor stand, planters and maple Grovemade desktop collection.
Sizing details of the maple wood desktop planters by Grovemade.
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Grain and size differences of the solid wood desktop planters by Grovemade.
Spline in Action
We designed a range of desk accessories using this shape—from a dish for your knick knacks to a desk lamp.
Workspace, Accessorized
Pair these accessories with our desk shelf, monitor stand or laptop stand for ultimate workspace inspiration.

Further Reading

Design Inspires What You Do
We at Grovemade believe the tools you immerse yourself in reflect who you are and the meaning behind your work.

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