Charles Neil lowboy build-along, #4
Hey folks, welcome back!
I want to stop and thank Charles Neil for the invitation to build this lowboy and for furnishing the material for the build, plus patterns and of course, know-how and even a lot of pre-milling of the material.
A point I’d like to make is that I haven’t made a lowboy before and then, only a smaller version on what might be called a cabriole leg.
I have made a few pieces of furniture that incorporated cabriole legs in them, but because of time restraints, I purchased the legs for those projects.
Last time, we left off at bandsawing the pre-drawn pattern out, furnished by Charles, and sanding and trimming it to size. Guess what…? I already goofed and cut the knee a little off. So I cut the pattern out like everyone that’s building off the PDF that Charles has online for the subscribers to his ” Mastering Woodworking”, and started over on the pattern. So I glued my cut-out pattern to some ¼” ply and this time took a little more time and got my pattern cut out properly.
With the patterns, it’s important to get the shaft lined up with the lowboys’ apron and of course, to have the correct shape of your cabriole leg. As Charles points out, unless you really do a real botch job of cutting a leg out, all the legs can be contoured to look alike.
We now move forward on to the cabriole legs, one of the most challenging parts of this build, (according to Charles ). The different parts of the leg include the shaft , knee, ankle, foot, pad and later, a knee block.
After squaring the leg stock, it’s now important to give focus to the grain of the stock we are about to use for our legs. Before you go any further, Charles points out that it’s important to pay attention to how the grain runs, in relation to the front knee section of your leg or you may end up with what can be a unattractive bulls eye shape right at the knee. This will interfere with the lines of the completed piece and distract the eye.
After squaring the leg stock and aligning your woods’ grain, the next step is that you’ll need to prepare it for turning on the lathe, by drawing lines on the end of the stock, from corner to corner, to find center.
I mark the corners to indicate where the square part of the leg will be.
I mark the center with an awl to help mount it in the lathe.
On the foot side, I put a mark on the bottom to keep track of the proper orientation of the stock.
Next we use a compass (aka: dividers) to draw a group of circles on the foot side of the stock.
The circles are centered on the offset mark on the bottom of the foot. The center circle is approximately 1½” for the pad, 2 ¼” for the foot and around 2 3/8” for the outer edge of the foot to be cleaned up later.
To help keep track of where the turning will be on the lathe, I will draw the outline of the leg on our blank and then mount it on the lathe. Before I mount the leg, I make sure the the center is well fixed by using my large carvers mallet.
The lathe will be turning on as low a speed that’s practical, being careful not turn too much off of the heel, which will be cleaned up later. The area to be turned on the foot is only about a strong ¾”, up from the bottom of the foot or bottom of the blank, plus anther ¼ “ for clearance. You have to be careful not to get carried away and take too much off and mess up the heal of your legs.
This is where I will end for this week. Next week we should be off and running, by starting to cut out and shaping our legs.
-- W James Brokenbourgh Custom furniture maker http://artisticwoodstudio.com/