Friday, January 30, 2009


I am currently shaping some legs for a table. The legs are double-tapered and will be shaped to form a curved outside edge overlapping three facets of the leg. I spent some time measuring and re-measuring the width and depth of the top and bottom of the leg since everything in between leads to these two points. I quite like the shape of tapered legs which provide a larger surface for strength at the joining area towards the top and then taper down to a thinner point at the bottom where strength isn't as much an issue.

In this case I have combined cherry and maple feet to form these particular tapered legs. I work with certain sizes and slope of legs which I have been successful with in the past. The slope is not too dramatic, but more gradual which presents an elegantly shaped leg once I have completed the shaping. I rough out the blanks on the tablesaw and bandsaw , but the handplane is my tool of choice for shaping the legs. I use an variety of handplanes ranging from a block plane to the jointer plane, the jointer plane to maintain the correct and straight taper on each of the leg sides.

I can't begin to explain how joyful it is working these rough blanks to fine, elegantly tapered legs which are smoothed to perfection. It's almost like forming a chunk of rough stone into a fine diamond. As the bandsaw marks disappear and the leg sides become straight, true and square to each other along their taper, it becomes difficult to stop planing :) This is where the regular measuring and comparing enters, since even with pencil lines, these are soon enough planed away and any reference disappears. What I do is use one leg as a template and compare the others against this one.

Next entry I will show the completed, shaped leg.