Best way to temporarily cut off a leg

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Forum topic by DavidInCazenovia posted 11-23-2011 06:20 AM 5664 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2402 days

11-23-2011 06:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: leg removable question

I recently got this 50-60 year old oak office desk for which I have in mind to restore the finish and put it into service. Its a great cool beast of a thing, very heavy and solid feeling. The right hand side has a neat spring loaded mechanism which was used to raise up a typewriter to normal height!

Anwyay, the problem is, because of its 6-legged stature, I can’t fit it through a normal doorway in my house. (At any orientation, even if we removed the door.)

If, hypothetically, the middle legs were absent… then it would fit. I believe that most of the length which protrudes from the bottom is in the way, though I have not measured precisely.

So I’m wondering… is there a sensible way to remove the middle legs but incorporate a system to re-join them? I could for instance cut them off square, then use metal brackets to re-attach them, but that seems inelegant, and also there would be a loss of the saw kerf in the height.

(Doing this would tamper with the original character a bit, but these legs are primarily for function, not for show. And if it doesn’t fit in a normal doorway, it isn’t going to be seen or used anyway.)

I hope my question is clear and thanks for any tips!


6 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2996 days

#1 posted 11-23-2011 06:36 AM

I have had 4 such desks. The legs on mine were different from yours, but presented the same problem.

An almost elegant solution is to remove the legs, all six of them, flush with the bottom of the desk.
Then make two platform boxes using 2×4 or 2×6 lumber on edge with plywood tops and banded with a nice baseboard type molding that will cover from he floor to just above the bottom of the desk.

The boxes need to be the same height as the legs that were removed.
And, obviously, the boxes have to be the same size as, or very slightly larger than, the bottoms of the desk pedestals so the base molding can lap onto the bottom of the desk.

Those desks make wonderful, functional pieces of furniture.

View 1958's profile


20 posts in 2476 days

#2 posted 11-23-2011 07:27 AM

Could you cut the legs off with a thin kerf Japanese saw(Lee Valley). some as thin as 0.016” or thinner. they are a little pricey$50, I have one that I bought.I don’t use it often but nice to have when I need it.After the cut you can reattach the leg with doweling .I have used this method on another project and it worked great.I also used furniture pads to help level any little indifference.

-- measure twice,cut once,hope for the best

View Irv2012's profile


3 posts in 2401 days

#3 posted 11-23-2011 10:14 AM

I would look at removing the desk top… looks easier than trying to remove the third legs and re-attaching. When they built it, one of the last things they did was put on the top..

View 489tad's profile


3368 posts in 3036 days

#4 posted 11-23-2011 04:07 PM

David, I had to cut six legs off a couch to get it to the basement. the legs are square at the top and tapper round at the bottom. I cut the leg about .5” from the bottom of the couch using a hand saw. I made a reversable drill jig to drill a hole for a hanger bolt. Wood thread on one side, machine thread on the other. Jig locates on the square portion of the leg. I drilled the hole. On the cut portion of the legs I drilled into the backside of the leg with a forstner bit and made a longated slot, cleaned up with a chissel. Longated slot “T’s” at the bottom of the hole so the washer and nut can bolt fast the leg to the bottom of the couch. I used this method in the event I have to get the couch out of the basement. Good luck.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3093 days

#5 posted 11-23-2011 04:20 PM

Can the desk be disassembled? The top can usually be removed, and a few screws separate the pedestals.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View DavidInCazenovia's profile


2 posts in 2402 days

#6 posted 01-16-2012 03:32 AM

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful suggestions.

I posted that question just before the holidays and hadn’t gotten back to the project until tonight!

Anyway it turned out that Sawkerf’s idea was spot-on. With the top off, the back panel split in two and through the door the pieces went. When assembled the panel looked convincingly glued but one side was not, perhaps even with this manouver in mind.

Thanks again!


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