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Making Table legs from 4/4 Lumber question

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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 03-02-2013 04:51 AM 1845 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bbasiaga

112 posts in 682 days


03-02-2013 04:51 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak planer jointer veneering joining

I’m going to make some legs that are 2.5” thick (and also 2.5” wide). I’ve got some 15/16” red oak for the project. There were no thicker boards in stock.

Since this is my first time laminating, I’m debating how to best handle this. The boards I have are pretty flat, but I’m figuring I’ll need to joint and then plane them enough to get them to glue together. I’ll cut them wide and long, and end up with somethng around 4” longer than desired, an inch or so wider than desired, and shy of 3/8” too thick. The extra length can help me if any snipe occurs during facing operations, and the width if something slips during the glue-up. And I’ll need to plane the final assembly back to the proper thickness.

Does this sound like the right/best way to do it? I was also thinking I could maybe get away without the planing/jointing ahead of time if the boards are flat enough, then just joint/plane out any imperfections in the final assembly. Somehow, that seemed more risky though. What do you all think?

I’m pretty new at this, so any advice would be much appreciated.

-Brian

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


13 replies so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10042 posts in 1305 days


#1 posted 03-02-2013 04:58 AM

Brian, been there and done that early in my hand-tool experience. Specifically thought I didn’t have to keep going when I was planing some recycled oak that was in turn going to be glued up to make legs for a small table.

The dark like on the right leg is the result of my ‘good enough’ approach.

I’d suggest your plan to plane smooth, for best fit, is preferred over the ‘flat enough’ plan. :-) Then you’ll get laminated legs that have more wood character than workmanship character.

This table is made from the same recycled material, just cleaned up (jointed and smoothed w/ planes) better.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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bbasiaga

112 posts in 682 days


#2 posted 03-02-2013 05:08 AM

Thanks for the advice. Can you elaborate on what caused the dark color?

-Brian

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

View toddbeaulieu's profile

toddbeaulieu

391 posts in 1691 days


#3 posted 03-11-2013 04:06 PM

I made some 4” legs for an assembly table a few weeks back from red oak. I milled them first and glued them up. I then milled the glued up piece. You can barely see the seams. I always go a little long to deal with planer snipe. I don’t usually get any meaningful snipe on the jointer, now that I’ve learned not to press down as the tail passes over the cutters.

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1060 posts in 707 days


#4 posted 03-11-2013 04:58 PM

What the others have said…joint, plane, glue up and then joint/plane again to get a nice square leg.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

1381 posts in 944 days


#5 posted 03-12-2013 02:32 AM

Another thought if you choose to laminate the boards to the desired thickness and do get some visible glue lines, you can apply a thin board (veneer) to those faces. When you round over the edges, that one glue line will disappear. This would be easiest if you have a band saw, but you can also cut veneers with a table saw although that wastes more wood. HTH

-- Art

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

10042 posts in 1305 days


#6 posted 03-12-2013 03:55 AM

Brian – the lines were evidence of an outer layer of darker, aged wood with a bit of finish as well. I said ‘good enough’ when it wasn’t.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View sprucegum's profile

sprucegum

323 posts in 685 days


#7 posted 03-12-2013 10:32 AM

I have laminated quite a few table legs with varying results bottom line is the more time you take fitting and matching color and grain the better the results will be. If the material is not overly expensive I often glue up a extra leg while I am at just in case I don’t like the look of one you can always use the spare leg for turning stock or some other project.. Clamp the crap out of them and leave them as thick as possible that way if you end up with some voids in the glue joint you can saw through the center of the joint with your table saw and reglue.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

14579 posts in 1025 days


#8 posted 03-12-2013 11:31 AM

Plane everything, assume nothing. Never trust store bought lumber to be square or evenly thick.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

112 posts in 682 days


#9 posted 03-12-2013 01:01 PM

Thanks guys. I did go ahead and joint and plane each piece before gluing. I’ll try and get some pictures up this weekend. They came out pretty good. I tried to paint the glue on as evenly as possible and I clamped them pretty hard. They cleaned up on the table saw pretty well when done, and I haven’t found any major gaps in the glue lines.

Its a good tip to veneer the side with the joint lines on it….I will keep that idea in my back pocket for sure!

-Brian

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

View Fettler's profile

Fettler

139 posts in 684 days


#10 posted 04-02-2013 11:05 PM

The trick IMO is getting the best grain to show on all 4 sides of the legs. You could try making the legs in 4 pieces with 45 degree bevels on the edges, but this could causes problems in glue up. IIRC, green and green would just butt joint and then vaneering the two sides with the seams.

-- --Rob, Seattle, WA

View Marty5965's profile

Marty5965

158 posts in 632 days


#11 posted 04-03-2013 03:03 PM

+1 Fettler, but that only works if your lumber is quartersawn (AFAIK).

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6948 posts in 1601 days


#12 posted 04-03-2013 03:15 PM

Looking at Smitty’s example and thinking out loud… Where are you planning to put the center of the bottom of your taper? I see Smitty kept one 4/4 whole, and tapered the rest of the laminate.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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HorizontalMike

6948 posts in 1601 days


#13 posted 04-03-2013 03:17 PM

double deleted

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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