I would like a 3.5" leg but only have 1" lumber

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Forum topic by Marcus posted 01-28-2013 02:47 PM 988 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1163 posts in 1987 days

01-28-2013 02:47 PM

I am working on a desk and want to use spalted maple for the legs. Ideally, they would be about 3.5”, but I only have 1” lumber. I am planning on the legs having a taper, so I can just miter the edges and make a hollow 3.5” leg, but I am afraid that 4 1” pieces laminated together will look odd. Does anyone have any pictures of a leg build like this or any suggestions?

12 replies so far

View johnstoneb's profile


2871 posts in 2141 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 02:52 PM

Just glue them up face to face until you get the thickness desired. With the proper surface prep the glue joints will be invisible or very hard to see.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Manitario's profile


2629 posts in 2851 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 02:52 PM

I am building a bench right now out of elm; the legs are ~3” square but the lumber I have is less than 1” thick; I laminated 3 pieces together and then glued a thin slice of elm to the glue line sides of the legs; it looks good and looks like the legs are made of 3” square lumber…

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Brian's profile


180 posts in 1999 days

#3 posted 01-28-2013 02:54 PM

I know that I have seen legs laminated together before on here, but I’m curious to hear what some of the experienced LJ’s have to say. I’m about to come upon this same issue. Anything other than 1 inch boards takes an act of congress to get around here.

-- “Always take a banana to a party, bananas are good!” - Tenth Doctor

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 1987 days

#4 posted 01-28-2013 03:13 PM

I’ve done it with walnut before, actually just finishing up a coffee table w/ 2.5” legs made from 3 1” pieces of lumber. They turn out pretty well, and the only place you notice something is on the taper. . Im just worried w/ spalted maple, it will look really odd with definite hard line stops where two pieces are glued together.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2939 days

#5 posted 01-28-2013 04:14 PM

I would rather have a laminated leg than one piece. I feel it is stronger and will stay straighter.

View bbasiaga's profile


1202 posts in 1963 days

#6 posted 01-28-2013 04:18 PM

Could you just get some spalted maple veneer to cover the side if it came out bad? I’m planning a project using red oak (or cherry if the wife will give me the extra money :) ) doing the same thing – laminating the legs. Veneer was my fall back if the two sides didn’t look right when I was done. Not sure if spalted maple veneer is even available though. I suppose Google could tell you….


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2604 days

#7 posted 01-28-2013 04:39 PM

I would agree on the spalted maple perhaps looking a bit odd at the glue lines. Is it possible to use a different wood, or non spalted maple? I’m sure you are set on it on your mind.

Whenever I come upon these situations in my head during a build, I take a step back and really think about what would look best compared to what I previously had in mind. Sometimes the original idea was best, but just takes more time to do. More often then not, I come up with a better solution that looks better in the end.

I’d say hollow legs would look the best, but you have yourself some work with mitered and tapered legs. Good luck

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2216 days

#8 posted 01-28-2013 04:44 PM

If you look through my projects, every table I made has laminated legs. It works well. My only tip would be cut them a tad long at first. Focus on getting one edge COMPLETELY square. Ride that face against your tablesaw fence to trim the uneven side.
3.5” may exceed your TS capacity though, in that case you can run it through a planer.


View Fuzzy's profile


298 posts in 3956 days

#9 posted 01-28-2013 04:44 PM

Lock Miter joints are also worth considering … nice face grain on all four sides …

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

View Loren's profile


10276 posts in 3616 days

#10 posted 01-28-2013 04:48 PM

I would veneer it with 1/8” veneers. You see this
on Stickley furniture a lot as a way to get the
quartered figure on all four sides of the leg.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3545 days

#11 posted 01-28-2013 05:17 PM

View Gopher's profile


27 posts in 1914 days

#12 posted 01-28-2013 06:10 PM

Crank45 nailed it !

-- Ted T. Aiken S.C.

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