Greene inspired Night Stand #4: Milling Legs

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Blog entry by ChicoWoodnut posted 02-10-2008 11:54 PM 2540 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Cutting up boards Part 4 of Greene inspired Night Stand series Part 5: Progress »

The weekend here in Northern California has been extraordinary. Spring is in the air. A pesky mocking bird has been trying to imitate my router.

Although I had indicated that I would start making templates for the cloudlift panels, I decided to start milling the legs this weekend. There were two reasons.

1. It was the right place to start.

2. I had to buy a 1/4” slot cutting bit for the panel grooves. The local supplier (Western Tool) had the bit and arbor but not the correct bearing for the 1/4” slot. It is on order and won’t arrive til Thursday. I could have ordered it via the internet but I like to help keep the local guy in business because he is the only one north of Sacramento carrying a large supply of woodworking tools. I detest the borg and won’t shop there for anything substantial.

Laying out the legs was quite an excercise. Since the legs are essentially the stiles for all of the panels (save the doors) they each need to be accurately milled on two sides to hold the rail mortices and panels. To make matters worse, they are mirror images of each other. Luckily I did a similar project with my wine rack and I had this figured out already.

First I jointed, planed and cut all the legs to their exact width and length. Then I arranged all the pieces til I liked the way the grain matched paying special attention to the front legs. Once I liked th arrangement, I marked the top of each leg so I could keep track of the pieces during the milling operations.

Leg Layout end Markings

Above you can see the pieces are stacked as they will be encorporated into the cabinet. I drew arrows on the corner that faces toward the middle so I would always be able to arrange them the same way. The labels are from the perspective of looking at the cabinet from the front. Thus LR, RR = Left Rear, Right Rear. Since I am making two of these, I added the number “1” in front of the label on this set so I could keep the legs as a set. I also drew “corner rounds) to indicate where to run the 1/8” rounding bit. The dovetail markings are for the top front stretcher.

Marking position

Above you can see how I layed out the legs for marking the layout lines. The two front legs are in the foreground and the two back legs are behind. The tops are facing the left and right. This gives me a good reference for marking all of the legs. I reference the marking gauge from the front of the front legs and the back of the back and I don’t get (too) confused this way. Since the panel grooves and the mortices are all the same distance from the “Outside” of the leg, I can set the marking gauge once for the outside edge of the grooves then once more for the inside edges. If I start getting mixed up, I just stack them all together the way they were in the first picture and lay them all down again.

Standing Legs

Next I cut the mortices in all the legs with my hollow chisel morticer. One setup of the fence cuts all the motices that are aligned with the panel grooves.

Stretcher Mortice

The mortice for the drawer stretcher was a little different. I set a stop block on the fence and cut them by moving the fence out for each plunge. A little time consuming, but the drawer stretcher will definitely be perfectly horizontal.

Router Table Setup for panel grooves

Next I cut the panel grooves. To do this I set up my router table with a 1/4” straight bit raised 1/4” above the table (plus 1/32). Since the existing mortice matches the location of the panel groove, I used one of the existing mortices to establish the location of the fence.

Above the bit

To cut the slot, I held the leg above the spinning bit being careful to keep it against the fence.

Drop down

Then I lowered the leg into the bit. The bit starts in an existing mortice. Feed the leg until it exits into the mortice on the opposite end. You will hear the bit stop cutting. Now lift the leg out of the spinning bit being careful to keep it against the fence.

I am going back out to the shop now to cut some tenons. Hope to have them all done by the end of the day.


-- Scott - Chico California

5 comments so far

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4024 days

#1 posted 02-11-2008 01:21 AM

Looking good – let us know how you progress…hope you get those tenons cut today…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4126 days

#2 posted 02-11-2008 06:12 AM

This will be fun to follow, I love Greene and Greene.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3901 days

#3 posted 02-11-2008 02:14 PM

Looks like a spectacular project unfolding.

View Topapilot's profile


172 posts in 3867 days

#4 posted 02-11-2008 05:51 PM

Looks good! I enjoy making two of things; for about 25% more effort, you get 100% more results. Tools and machines are already set up, and by the second one I usually get it right!

I’m guessing those are your hands in the pictures, so is the shop dwarf behind the camera??


View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3842 days

#5 posted 02-12-2008 04:40 AM

Sometimes I make two and give one away for a present. Of course there are two sides to my bed. I have been married for 24 years and we have somehow lived with only one nightstand. Guess whose side it is on? As for the pictures, I actually have three arms.

-- Scott - Chico California

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