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Making Table legs from 4/4 Lumber question

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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 496 days ago 1638 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bbasiaga

112 posts in 579 days


496 days ago

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

9492 posts in 1202 days


#1 posted 496 days ago

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

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

112 posts in 579 days


#2 posted 496 days ago

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

389 posts in 1588 days


#3 posted 486 days ago

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

1040 posts in 604 days


#4 posted 486 days ago

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

1224 posts in 841 days


#5 posted 486 days ago

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9492 posts in 1202 days


#6 posted 486 days ago

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 582 days


#7 posted 486 days ago

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

Monte Pittman

12900 posts in 922 days


#8 posted 486 days ago

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

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

112 posts in 579 days


#9 posted 486 days ago

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

106 posts in 581 days


#10 posted 464 days ago

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 529 days


#11 posted 464 days ago

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

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

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6907 posts in 1498 days


#12 posted 464 days ago

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

6907 posts in 1498 days


#13 posted 464 days ago

double deleted

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

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