I ran over to the lumber yard and picked up some 4/4 for the base and a stick of 8/4 to make a single chair out of. I was going to finish the base before I started on the legs, but this 8/4 stick was magnificent (and I didn’t want anyone else to nab it). I recently posted a question in the Design Forum about possibly laminating 3/4” stock to make the legs 1-1/2”, but I couldn’t take any shortcuts (regardless of how cost-effective they might be) on the dining room set. This way, I can make the four legs, and work on the chair while they’re drying. Nice rationalization, huh?
I started by optimizing the sixteen 4” faces I’d need for four legs. This took into account board width, waste, good sides, etc. I then planed them all to the same thickness, which is important because I’m using a lock-miter bit to make the 45’s. I ripped them all down to a nominal width, then trimmed off the excess with the tablesaw blade tilted to 45 degrees. I left a 1/8” shoulder on purpose for two reasons: 1) You need that shoulder to run against the fence when you cut the 45 on the flip side. 2) The router bit needs to bite in somewhat to create the tongue for where it meets it’s mating groove. At least that’s what I hope happens. I used some scrap to create test pieces that get machined first on each process.
The deal with the lock-miter bit is that one piece gets cut horizontally, and the other vertical, so they mate. I need to mark my leg faces so that each 45 degree intersection has the right horizontal or vertical profile on it so that all four sides create a hollow column with the seam in the corner. The seam will hopefully disappear when I ease the edges and stain the legs. I also need to optimize “show” sides, and which ends of the faces will on top (and partially hidden under the table top), and which ones will be bottom (and more visible). When you’re talking sixteen faces 32” long (I’ll trim them down to their final 29” length after they’re glued), you can’t be too picky otherwise it costs a fortune in board feet.
The beefy 4” legs are an important part of the design, and I hope will ground the rather slab-like top that’s currently being used every night. I’m not going to do that inset detail that Kevin Rodel and WhatTheChuck did. I’m wanting a bit more simple, less modern look, and I think it will be tucked in under the table top anyway (although it’s a really nice touch).
-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails