Orchard Street Sofa #6: Progressing to the leg tenons

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Blog entry by AandCstyle posted 02-19-2016 12:54 AM 802 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Yes, I have a pair of arms Part 6 of Orchard Street Sofa series Part 7: Mostly chiseling »

Today I began the most difficult stage to date. In order to make the leg tenons it was necessary to cut the upper side rails to match the shape of the arms. Paolini demonstrated a method that used a template, but I am getting ahead of myself.

I started today by cutting the arms to length. Paolini showed how he determined the proper angle for cutting the through mortises using the level in a combination square and I used that method to determine that the front end of my arms needed to be elevated 4”. Here you can see my support method.

I clamped the back end down and supported it when cutting the opposite end.

The Paolini template requires that you measure up from the bottoms of the feet to the appropriate location on the legs and mark them to be at the proper height for the top of the upper rail.

Then mark those locations on the template blank.

After that you need to draw the curve of your arms onto the blank and band saw it and fair the curve with a sander.

Then you use the template to draw the curves onto the upper rails, band saw them and fair them. That all worked fine.

Here is one arm being held against its rail.

The next step is to use the template to mark the curves on both sides of the legs. For some reason that didn’t work well for me, so I just laid the arms on edge and used them as the template. That worked for me.

After marking the curve on both sides of the legs, you square a line across the fronts and backs of the legs. Here is the two corners of one of mine.

Once that is complete you cut the shoulders of the tenons on the table saw. Note that you only actually cut one shoulder to the line and that is the one facing the front chair. The remaining shoulders are cut with a chisel.

Then use a dado to remove most of the waste.

I got all the legs to this stage.

I will be in a much better position to gauge my success after cutting the arm through mortises, hopefully tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I was asked how I treat the edges of the floating tenons. I round them with a round over bit on the router table and fine tune them with a disk sander. Here are the ones I cut today when cutting the curves on the top rails.

-- Art

5 comments so far

View Mark's profile


814 posts in 1394 days

#1 posted 02-19-2016 03:14 AM

That looks tricky. Why couldn’t you adjust your miter fence to the proper angle for the sides? I had to do something like that with the ding room chair build. Soldier on mate!

-- Mark

View Alongiron's profile


552 posts in 2113 days

#2 posted 02-19-2016 12:22 PM

t does look tricky but also looks like so much fun! I wish I was there to watch!! You could start a new series…”The joy of Woodworking” Thanks for sharing and really great craftsmanship!

-- Measure twice and cut once.....Steve Lien

View AandCstyle's profile


2538 posts in 1677 days

#3 posted 02-19-2016 12:43 PM

Why couldn t you adjust your miter fence to the proper angle for the sides?

Mark, I probably could , but the arm is curved so I would still need to clean up the edges with a chisel. There isn’t much of a curve at the front legs, but there is for the back legs and I think it would show if it were cut off square.

You could start a new series…”The joy of Woodworking”

Steve, there you go getting carried away again, but thank you.

-- Art

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2110 days

#4 posted 02-20-2016 12:57 AM

Art, This looks like a pretty ambitious build but you are up to the challenge. It’s looking good! Carry on….........

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View AandCstyle's profile


2538 posts in 1677 days

#5 posted 02-21-2016 12:37 AM

Andy, thanks for the vote of confidence. I keep chipping (chopping) away at it.

-- Art

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