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Make a template and a plunge router. But if your doing just one, make a guide on each side and cut to the curve, bore out the center, then very carefully finish the two ends by eye with the router. Any slight difference in the cut, sand it down to look good....
Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....
You can drill a 11/32 hole on each end using a drill press and then cut the slot on a scroll saw with a thin blade. I've done it with 9/32 holes for 1/4 screws. You just have to take your time and be careful but if you go easy it should come out very nice.
[QUOTE=BadgerDave;148712]How would you safely make this type of slot cut in a piece of wood?
I'd drill an appropriately sized pilot hole, and then use the router table, with a stop block positioned to end your cut. Basically imagine a stopped dado cut, but with the bit raised higher, so you're cutting all the way through.
A 3/8" router bit should give you nice round ends, with only 1/16" of total play over your specified 5/16" bolt size. And you're virtually guaranteed a perfectly straight line cut.
To get it done quickly if looks are not at a premium, I would drill holes at the end and jig saw the line in between (clamping a guide board to it for the jig saw). Dress up edge with file or a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a putty knife blade.
If doing several, or for a smoother job, I would drill the ends and make a template for the plunge router with a 1/4 bit, taking about a 1/8 deep cut each time. I would drill for 5/16 unless a loose fit is desired. Adjusting the template can give you just a bit more slip space if needed and can be blended into the end hole with a bit of sandpaper wrapped around a 1/4 dowel or screwdriver shank.
If doing strictly by hand, bore end holes and chisel out the center, working from both sides to get a smooth surface cut.
Thanks all for the suggestions. I made some sample cuts on some scrap wood using a few of the methods suggested. Wood Junkie's method worked the best for me and produced the best results so I went that route. The scroll saw hints were good ones but my expertise with the scroll saw is very lacking of talent.
I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.