Cutting longish curve in plywood.

I'm making some yard items for youth activities. One of them is a football. Here is a picture of somethig real close to what I will be doing:
http://www.henrynet.com/stuff/yard/football1.jpg . I've used the search function here for advice but didn't find anything that fit. If you know of another thread, please give me a hint and I'll go there. OK, right now I plan on drawing my template, and using my jigsaw to cut the arc. My problem revolves around making a smooth curve instead of what I usually do. Any advice for using the jigsaw for this?
If these go well and I want to make more I was planning on using a ( to be purchased ) router to make the cuts. I'd make a template for the edge of the router to ride along, position my piece of plywood, and whammo, I'd have a nice cut. Sound ok?
And for some background.... I'm not a TOTAL idiot when it comes to woodworking, but I'm inexperienced in the best (or even close) way to do things at times. I'm in the process of building a small shop in which I'll have some nicer equipment in for but now it's me, my jigsaw, a circular saw, and a jug of water.
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"WonderMonkey" wrote in message

the
A good jig saw, with a sharp blade suitable for cutting plywood, would be my first choice for doing this.
You may find that a router will have a tendency to tearout most plywood ... ymmv.
With a jigsaw, go slow, take your time, cut just outside the line, use a wood rasp sander, to "fair the curve".
The more time and carefularity you take making the cut, the less cleanup/fairing you'll have to do.
... just my tuppence.
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Carefularity....excellent! ROY!
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"WonderMonkey" wrote

usually do.

<snip>
1) Make your template from 1/4" hardboard, doubled to 1/2".
2) Layout curve, then trim template proud with jig saw.
3) Sand to the line using a fairing board and checking your work with a fairing batten.
What is a fairing board?
A fairing board for this application will be a piece of 1/4-3/8 plywood about 3"W x 36LG with a handle at each end,
Use rubber cement and glue strips of 3"W, 24 grit sand paper to the plywood.
Stroke the fairing board across the curved jig saw cut line until smooth. (Change paper frequently).
A fairing batten for this job will be a 3/4"x3/4"x1/16"x96" aluminum angle.
Use back side of angle to check for high spots.
TIP: Rub the back side of the angle back and forth against the template surface. The aluminum will leave black marks on the high spots.
When your arms feel like they want to drop off, your template is fair<Been there, done that>.
When complete, you will have served your apprenticeship to fair out boat hulls<Grin>.
Have fun.
Lew
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WonderMonkey wrote:

You can forget about the template if...
1. You determine the radius of the arc you want to cut.
2. Take a 2-4" wide piece of ply a bit longer than the radius
3. Attach your jigsaw to the end of #2
4. Nail the other end of #2 to the ply you want to cut (one nail only) so distance blade<>nail equals desired radius. Enlarge the nail hole in #2 so it is the same diameter as the nail and so the nail will slip thru it easily.
Now you have a compass and can happily cut smoothly away :)
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dadiOH wrote:

Works for Rugby balls (which, I think, have arcs of circles). American footballs (again, I surmise) have arc of an ellipse. For the latter, you'll need two nails.
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And a string. I think you're correct, that an American football is an ellipse, but the one in the OP's photo has arcs that are so close to being circles as to not be noticeably different. Kerry
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And he's gonna need a really strong needle to add the stiches.
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Those look like circular arcs on that photo. It looks like the center point of each arc lies on the midpoint of the other arc.
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WonderMonkey wrote:

Easiest way to get football shape is to layout a camber.
See Fred Bingham's book, Practical Yacht Joinery, for details.
Been there, done that.
Lew
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll take them into consideration when I start on this project tonight.
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There are several ways to draw a curve, although I don't think that's your question. I probably would not make a template unless I would be making more than one item, but a template and router will work just fine. If the ply is thick, make more than one pass. If you are making just one football, draw, cut /w jigsaw (leaving the line), then sand to the line.
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I'm going to be making several of these. I'm going to end up making a template.
Phisherman wrote:

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As others have said, a router will just make a mess of it. If you want to use a template, run the jigsaw along it.
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And don't forget to put masking tape on area to be cut to prevent splintering along the cut edge if using plywood. W W
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