Leg Taper Question

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Forum topic by CharlieM1958 posted 02-26-2011 03:32 AM 1940 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16280 posts in 4416 days

02-26-2011 03:32 AM

Okay ladies and gentlemen, I’m taking a survey….

I’m currently working on a chess table, and the legs will be tapered on two sides (adjacent faces). The last time I did this, I put the tapered sides on the inside, leaving the outer faces perpendicular to the table top. But now I’m wondering if it would be better the other way, with the tapered sides facing out, and the inner surfaces perpendicular to the top.

Is there a “correct” way, or is it just personal preference? Opinions?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

29 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3895 days

#1 posted 02-26-2011 03:35 AM

it would be better the other way

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3724 days

#2 posted 02-26-2011 03:42 AM

Taper on the inside. If the taper is on the outside then the table may seem pigeon toed and unstable. 2Cents only

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View patron's profile


13640 posts in 3539 days

#3 posted 02-26-2011 03:42 AM

the wider the leg sits on the floor
the more stable it will be

depending on the thickness
and the taper
you might loose some inches overall
making it somewhat top heavy

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View j_olsen's profile


155 posts in 3369 days

#4 posted 02-26-2011 03:44 AM

i have to agree with GMman—with the taper on the outside I think the look would be that the table was on the verge of falling over—just my 2 cents worth

-- Jeff - Bell Buckle, TN

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3870 days

#5 posted 02-26-2011 03:49 AM

My personal preference is inside taper. I agree with Kindlingmaker on the toe-out look. Regardless, I look forward to seeing the finished project Charlie. I favorited your earlier chess table some time back. You do beautiful work.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18388 posts in 3874 days

#6 posted 02-26-2011 03:55 AM

Guess I’m just joining a chorus at this point :-)) Taper inside.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View cabmaker's profile


1740 posts in 3007 days

#7 posted 02-26-2011 04:32 AM

Inside taper here

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3287 days

#8 posted 02-26-2011 04:34 AM

on a small table like that, definitely taper in, it would look unstable with the taper out, like an upside-down pyramid. sometimes you can put the taper on the outside to accentuate it on a larger piece, but not on a chess table.

View Karson's profile


35146 posts in 4598 days

#9 posted 02-26-2011 05:09 AM

The Shaker design did taper on inside of the legs. At least all of the Shaker tables that I’ve made. :>)

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View CharlieM1958's profile


16280 posts in 4416 days

#10 posted 02-26-2011 05:25 AM

Well, it looks fairly unanimous. Chalk that up to a random wild though, I suppose.

Just to clarify, I’m talking about pretty slender legs with a gentle taper similar to this:

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3124 days

#11 posted 02-26-2011 06:01 AM

Nice looking legs Charlie!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View rcs47's profile


196 posts in 3327 days

#12 posted 02-26-2011 06:57 AM

Why not taper all four? It works for a turned leg.

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3287 days

#13 posted 02-26-2011 07:16 AM

rec42, it’s tricky to taper all 4 sides, because once you taper 2, you have to change your taper setup since you dont have square faces to reference on the table and fence while cutting the third, and even worse for the fourth. it can be done, and fairly easily, by using your cutoffs to prop up your workpiece, or by adjusting taper setup for double angle, then for compound angle, it’s just a bit tougher, and not as common as the half taper legs.

View EPJartisan's profile


1122 posts in 3323 days

#14 posted 02-26-2011 07:28 AM

I also vote for inside tapers for the same reasons pointed out above.
BUT if you do taper the outside, I recommend you balance it with feet that turn out to even with to the sides, yet on a small piece it would still be kinda odd feeling. I try things out in foam first.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3268 days

#15 posted 02-26-2011 04:13 PM

Charlie I may be old fashioned (& I guess you can try anything once ) but always taper the inside If you put the taper to the outside only without a matching taper on the inside it does look really odd (Mr Chippendale did know his stuff) though some people like ODD?
Best Charlie

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

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