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Modern Federal Style Desk Leg?

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Forum topic by Marcus posted 03-04-2013 02:52 PM 1414 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Marcus

1080 posts in 767 days


03-04-2013 02:52 PM

So Im not a big fan of federal style furniture. I appreciate the craftsmanship, but it just looks too light/thin for my liking. I decided I would see if I could put my twist on a federal style desk and make it somewhat of a cross between federal style and farmhouse (a big chunky style I find appealing). For the legs, I was planning on making some hefty legs but putting a spade foot on them. they are 3 5/8” square. I drew out a spade foot on the leg and I can not decide if I like it not. Finding spalted maple here is next to impossible, so I would hate to cut it and decide I do not like it. Thoughts?


24 replies so far

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Marcus

1080 posts in 767 days


#1 posted 03-04-2013 04:29 PM

Anyone have any thoughts on this? I had a scrap piece of cherry 4×4 so I took a stab at it. by the time it was straightened, it was roughly 3.5”x3.5” I wish I could get the taper to be a little more steep, but thats about the max for my setup.

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huff

2810 posts in 2033 days


#2 posted 03-04-2013 04:54 PM

I guess it depends on the overall size of the desk you are planning on building and the fact you like big. I would think that might be a little big for say a 24” x 60” desk, but may look OK on a 30” x 72” desk or larger. It’s hard to tell with just one leg and no spacing.

Besides; it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. If you like it, that’s all that matters.

Good luck and look forward to seeing the final results.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

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Marcus

1080 posts in 767 days


#3 posted 03-04-2013 05:00 PM

The desk is roughly 30×50”. I agree with you John, I think I need to get all 4 legs done and under the desk before I know if I’ll like it or not. The plain square leg is growing on me more and more, but that kind of kills my idea of a “federal style”

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huff

2810 posts in 2033 days


#4 posted 03-04-2013 05:34 PM

I like the looks of the spade foot. I don’t know your set up for doing the leg, but can you make all four legs the size you have now and when you build the desk and before you attach the legs? could you down size the legs a little if you felt they where too big.

It’s always easier to make a board smaller then bigger! LOL

BTW. I also like the amount of taper you have in proportion to the spade foot.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

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Marcus

1080 posts in 767 days


#5 posted 03-04-2013 05:45 PM

Here’s kind of a rough sneak preview. Im really liking the look of just the square leg. Apparently my distaste for federal style won’t let me move that way at all.

I could cut all the legs w/ the spade foot to see if I like it, but if i were to cut them back down to square, the leg size is almost cut in half and then would not be in proportion w/ the rest of the desk. I basically wanted to make a farmhouse table into a desk, but do it in the federal style.

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Loren

7822 posts in 2396 days


#6 posted 03-04-2013 06:25 PM

I think these proportions are missing the mark. It doesn’t
remind me of federal at all.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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Marcus

1080 posts in 767 days


#7 posted 03-04-2013 06:32 PM

Loren -

That’s exactly the point. I do not like the proportions of federal style, but enjoy the ornate detail. I am looking for an interesting way to combine the two, but I do not think it will be done w/ a spade foot.

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Marcus

1080 posts in 767 days


#8 posted 03-04-2013 06:33 PM

Or maybe I should say I dont think it SHOULD be done with a spade foot. I am playing w/ tapers at the moment to see if something strikes my fancy.

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Mark Kornell

650 posts in 1279 days


#9 posted 03-04-2013 09:21 PM

Instead of a spade foot, what about going with a simple taper of whatever looks proportional, and adding a cuff and/or slippered feet?

See
(http://shamrockwoodstudio.com/images/sized/portfolio610_lyptusdemilune.png)

Federal style is also know for the stringing, but I’m going to suggest that it would get lost in the spalting.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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Marcus

1080 posts in 767 days


#10 posted 03-04-2013 09:26 PM

Hey Mark -

I actually decided to so something similar to what you suggested. A simple taper the full length, then adding a walnut band similar to this:

or this:

I have somewhat of a nonconventional idea for stringing/inlay for the top and have been going back and forth on it for the legs. I was thinking of cutting some 3/16” strips and taping them to the leg to see what it looks like and if it would be worth the effort.

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Mark Kornell

650 posts in 1279 days


#11 posted 03-05-2013 03:51 AM

3/16” is more like “roping” than “stringing” :-)

At the scale of those legs, that size would certainly be appropriate. The spalting on those legs makes them pretty busy, and I’d be tempted to omit the stringing altogether. If you make the stringing bold enough to stand out, it might overpower the visual texture of the maple.

Instead of adding, maybe take away? Consider routing out indents in the legs – either grooves where stringing would usually go, just no stringing, or create a recess with the stringing pattern as the outline?

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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Moron

4724 posts in 2641 days


#12 posted 03-05-2013 04:19 AM

from farm table to museum quality ?

from the kitchen floor of the blue collar worker : )

the beauty of woodworking are the endless answers to interpretations of ideas that if not ventured are never learned.

2 cents

consider using the router to keep the leg chunky and maybe recess some figured veneer with contrasting trim and remember that many a career started by thinking out of the box and even more ended : )) Throw some heavy wrought iron at it, concrete……

who knew ?

there is no greater learning curve then cautious commitment

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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Kelby

133 posts in 1159 days


#13 posted 03-05-2013 06:03 AM

I like oysters.

I like ice cream.

I do not like oysters and ice cream.

-- Kelby

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Marcus

1080 posts in 767 days


#14 posted 03-05-2013 01:52 PM

Hey Kelby -

Have you ever tried oysters and ice cream together?

It’s more about TRYING something new than making the same old mission style desk from a magazine plans. And just so the status quo isnt offended, I’m making a cutting board out of the cut offs. And now the discussion of using spalted maple in a cutting board….

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Kelby

133 posts in 1159 days


#15 posted 03-06-2013 06:30 AM

Marcus, no I haven’t tried oysters and ice cream, and I don’t intend to. I don’t mean to discourage you if you wish to try them for the sake of something new, though.

I haven’t built from magazine plans in many years, and I applaud you for branching out. As you try new approaches, though, consider why they did the old things the old way. IMHO, the more massive pieces in the shaker/AC/mission styles work because of the simple, straight lines. The pleasing aesthetic is the strength of the material itself—a nice, strong block of wood. On the other hand, the Federal style gets away with all of the inlay, veneers, etc. because the delicate lines of the inlay and details compliment the delicate size of the material. The feet on the pieces in the various photos in this thread are a method for adding visual strength to a small leg without making it bulky. A 4” maple leg, on the other hand, does not require additional visual strength, and a foot looks out of place. It’s not a question of whether it’s OK to blend styles; the three blocky maple legs just look better than the shaped cherry leg, because the straight lines compliment the size of the leg better.

But in the end, you aren’t building it for me, so my opinion doesn’t matter. If it works for your eyes, then that’s the way you should build it!

-- Kelby

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