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Modern Federal Style Desk Leg?

by Marcus
posted 496 days ago


24 replies so far

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Marcus

1040 posts in 606 days


#1 posted 496 days ago

Anyone have any thoughts on this? I had a scrap piece of cherry 4×4 so I took a stab at it. by the time it was straightened, it was roughly 3.5”x3.5” I wish I could get the taper to be a little more steep, but thats about the max for my setup.

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huff

2776 posts in 1872 days


#2 posted 496 days ago

I guess it depends on the overall size of the desk you are planning on building and the fact you like big. I would think that might be a little big for say a 24” x 60” desk, but may look OK on a 30” x 72” desk or larger. It’s hard to tell with just one leg and no spacing.

Besides; it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. If you like it, that’s all that matters.

Good luck and look forward to seeing the final results.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

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Marcus

1040 posts in 606 days


#3 posted 496 days ago

The desk is roughly 30×50”. I agree with you John, I think I need to get all 4 legs done and under the desk before I know if I’ll like it or not. The plain square leg is growing on me more and more, but that kind of kills my idea of a “federal style”

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huff

2776 posts in 1872 days


#4 posted 496 days ago

I like the looks of the spade foot. I don’t know your set up for doing the leg, but can you make all four legs the size you have now and when you build the desk and before you attach the legs? could you down size the legs a little if you felt they where too big.

It’s always easier to make a board smaller then bigger! LOL

BTW. I also like the amount of taper you have in proportion to the spade foot.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

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Marcus

1040 posts in 606 days


#5 posted 496 days ago

Here’s kind of a rough sneak preview. Im really liking the look of just the square leg. Apparently my distaste for federal style won’t let me move that way at all.

I could cut all the legs w/ the spade foot to see if I like it, but if i were to cut them back down to square, the leg size is almost cut in half and then would not be in proportion w/ the rest of the desk. I basically wanted to make a farmhouse table into a desk, but do it in the federal style.

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Loren

7169 posts in 2234 days


#6 posted 496 days ago

I think these proportions are missing the mark. It doesn’t
remind me of federal at all.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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Marcus

1040 posts in 606 days


#7 posted 496 days ago

Loren -

That’s exactly the point. I do not like the proportions of federal style, but enjoy the ornate detail. I am looking for an interesting way to combine the two, but I do not think it will be done w/ a spade foot.

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Marcus

1040 posts in 606 days


#8 posted 496 days ago

Or maybe I should say I dont think it SHOULD be done with a spade foot. I am playing w/ tapers at the moment to see if something strikes my fancy.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

464 posts in 1117 days


#9 posted 496 days ago

Instead of a spade foot, what about going with a simple taper of whatever looks proportional, and adding a cuff and/or slippered feet?

See
(http://shamrockwoodstudio.com/images/sized/portfolio610_lyptusdemilune.png)

Federal style is also know for the stringing, but I’m going to suggest that it would get lost in the spalting.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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Marcus

1040 posts in 606 days


#10 posted 496 days ago

Hey Mark -

I actually decided to so something similar to what you suggested. A simple taper the full length, then adding a walnut band similar to this:

or this:

I have somewhat of a nonconventional idea for stringing/inlay for the top and have been going back and forth on it for the legs. I was thinking of cutting some 3/16” strips and taping them to the leg to see what it looks like and if it would be worth the effort.

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Mark Kornell

464 posts in 1117 days


#11 posted 495 days ago

3/16” is more like “roping” than “stringing” :-)

At the scale of those legs, that size would certainly be appropriate. The spalting on those legs makes them pretty busy, and I’d be tempted to omit the stringing altogether. If you make the stringing bold enough to stand out, it might overpower the visual texture of the maple.

Instead of adding, maybe take away? Consider routing out indents in the legs – either grooves where stringing would usually go, just no stringing, or create a recess with the stringing pattern as the outline?

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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Moron

4666 posts in 2480 days


#12 posted 495 days ago

from farm table to museum quality ?

from the kitchen floor of the blue collar worker : )

the beauty of woodworking are the endless answers to interpretations of ideas that if not ventured are never learned.

2 cents

consider using the router to keep the leg chunky and maybe recess some figured veneer with contrasting trim and remember that many a career started by thinking out of the box and even more ended : )) Throw some heavy wrought iron at it, concrete……

who knew ?

there is no greater learning curve then cautious commitment

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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Kelby

133 posts in 997 days


#13 posted 495 days ago

I like oysters.

I like ice cream.

I do not like oysters and ice cream.

-- Kelby

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1040 posts in 606 days


#14 posted 495 days ago

Hey Kelby -

Have you ever tried oysters and ice cream together?

It’s more about TRYING something new than making the same old mission style desk from a magazine plans. And just so the status quo isnt offended, I’m making a cutting board out of the cut offs. And now the discussion of using spalted maple in a cutting board….

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Kelby

133 posts in 997 days


#15 posted 494 days ago

Marcus, no I haven’t tried oysters and ice cream, and I don’t intend to. I don’t mean to discourage you if you wish to try them for the sake of something new, though.

I haven’t built from magazine plans in many years, and I applaud you for branching out. As you try new approaches, though, consider why they did the old things the old way. IMHO, the more massive pieces in the shaker/AC/mission styles work because of the simple, straight lines. The pleasing aesthetic is the strength of the material itself—a nice, strong block of wood. On the other hand, the Federal style gets away with all of the inlay, veneers, etc. because the delicate lines of the inlay and details compliment the delicate size of the material. The feet on the pieces in the various photos in this thread are a method for adding visual strength to a small leg without making it bulky. A 4” maple leg, on the other hand, does not require additional visual strength, and a foot looks out of place. It’s not a question of whether it’s OK to blend styles; the three blocky maple legs just look better than the shaped cherry leg, because the straight lines compliment the size of the leg better.

But in the end, you aren’t building it for me, so my opinion doesn’t matter. If it works for your eyes, then that’s the way you should build it!

-- Kelby

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Marcus

1040 posts in 606 days


#16 posted 494 days ago

To my eyes, the spade foot on that large of a leg looked like a penis, so I abandoned that idea! Glad I made a test out of cherry first.

I decided to go w/ a slight taper and am planning on adding some “roping” (I like that name way more than stringing)

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Moron

4666 posts in 2480 days


#17 posted 494 days ago

Looks really nice

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View CrazeeTxn's profile

CrazeeTxn

150 posts in 537 days


#18 posted 494 days ago

Marcus – I like your way of thinking and that’s what makes what we do awesome. We can take a little of this and a little of that and make our own style. Plus, it’s usually what she likes anyway not matter what we think ;) To help you out without ruining your maple or anymore cherry, i’ll bet you can get a 4×4 post at the BORGs to experiment on with the spades and see how it looks.

Disregard the experimentation part..just saw the post where you’re going with the taper…

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

464 posts in 1117 days


#19 posted 494 days ago

Marcus, that’s very cool. Have you thought about maybe leaving the walnut roping slightly proud of the leg to create texture?

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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Marcus

1040 posts in 606 days


#20 posted 494 days ago

Kind of sad I didnt even think about heading to grab a 4×4 to experiment on. The chunk of cherry I had was actually very (very) ugly and a cut off piece that was destined for the burn pile. There was one fact that was not all gnarled (not in a good way), so it made a good tester for the spade foot.

Mark -

I actually did think of that…after I already had the bottom band in flush. The top band will be 1/4” thick and tie the legs into the apron. I thought about maybe leaving the roping about 1/8” above the surface as sort of a transition from 1/4” to flush. I worry about it breaking/chipping off though. The desk will be in a busy area of the house and get used constantly. Not to mention my 2 yr old and his affinity for hitting everything w/ anything.

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Mark Kornell

464 posts in 1117 days


#21 posted 494 days ago

Yeah, I had the same thought after I posted. :-)

And I did mean just the roping, not the cuffs. Having the cuffs stick out would pose a hazard to one’s ankles and/or knees.

On the other hand, if you left the roping slightly proud and it proved to be a problem, you could always plane it flush later on.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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Marcus

1040 posts in 606 days


#22 posted 494 days ago

The top band will protrude out as a bit of a detail. You’re right, I may end up regretting this after a few scratched knees. I think I’ll leave the work below the top band flush to the leg. I may cut a 1/8” thick square of walnut and see what it would look like above the band though. It may start getting really busy at that point though…but I suppose that’s what the federal style is.

View DS's profile

DS

2131 posts in 1007 days


#23 posted 494 days ago

That last pic is really cool! I like it!
Looks more Fedral than the other one.
Though, if you are going for “Modern Federal” you would need to borrow $16 Trillion to make it.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Moron

4666 posts in 2480 days


#24 posted 493 days ago

Gitte up

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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