Quarter Sawn White Oak Legs - The Two Sided Dilemma.

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Forum topic by Hellaenergy posted 11-25-2008 04:21 AM 8512 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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53 posts in 3973 days

11-25-2008 04:21 AM

I’m constructing a mission lingerie chest made from quarter sawn white oak. The plan calls for four legs that span the entirety of the four corners of the chest. Each leg has two sides showing until you get to the very bottom and then all four sides for a couple of inches. As you all know the beautiful flecks only show up on the two parallel sides of the quarter sawn lumber. This leaves the other two sides with flat sawn faces. Questions:

1.) Does traditional mission furniture use quarter sawn lumber for legs like these? if so, do they leave the sides flat sawn?

2.) How would I go about making the sides of these legs match the faces? Veneer? (I’ve never veneered something before)

13 replies so far

View 's profile

593 posts in 4208 days

#1 posted 11-25-2008 05:01 AM

As bentlyj said, that’s the way to go. A PITA but the only way you’ll get 4 equally flecked sides is by assembling each one out of 4 QS mitered sides. Hope you have enough clamps though! :o)

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53 posts in 3973 days

#2 posted 11-25-2008 06:20 AM

Man I wish I had thought of this before I milled and cut the four 54” X 1.5” X 1.5” legs to size. Live and learn.

View Joey's profile


276 posts in 4051 days

#3 posted 11-25-2008 02:50 PM

David Marks did this on an episode of woodworks. He cut veneer from the leg stocks he was using, got it down to I think 1/32” and then veneered it to the other 2 sides. Veneering is not hard, it’s good equal pressure and a quality glue.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms

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John Stegall

514 posts in 3752 days

#4 posted 11-25-2008 03:14 PM

I agree with Joey. you can still cut veneer and get what you need. Somewhere on the net, a guy used mdf as the core of his quarter sawn legs. I believe he cut it 3/32” thick and then mitered it and glued it to his “core”. He also glued some of it flat (sans miter) and then chamfered it. Both looked great.

-- jstegall

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Tim Pursell

499 posts in 4018 days

#5 posted 11-25-2008 03:58 PM

I use this kind of joint.

When you cut this kind of joint on all 4 pieces the glue up is pretty easy & the leg has to be the strongest, most stable design possible.


View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4364 days

#6 posted 11-25-2008 04:41 PM

Stickley et al. used a four piece construction for legs with interlocking pieces.
Sometimes veneer was also used.

-- 温故知新

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53 posts in 3973 days

#7 posted 11-26-2008 05:24 AM

Thanks everyone :)

I just found this on as well:

Stickley-Style Legs
A router bit and two jigs yield quartersawn figure on all four sides
by Patrick Nelson

Wish me luck ;)

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Tim Pursell

499 posts in 4018 days

#8 posted 11-26-2008 03:19 PM

Hellaenergy’s link and Barry’s tip are right on. Those long skinny pieces are tough to get perfect with out wasting some prime wood. I know , I’ve had to redo a few.


View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4321 days

#9 posted 11-26-2008 04:46 PM

Here’s another tip. Don’t use QS for your legs. Use Rift Sawn. You may not have as many flecks showing but you will have a consistent grain pattern on all four sides. Now that being said, when I built my Thorsten side table, I ripped a 1/16” strip from the same stock as my QS legs came from and laminated to the PS sides of the legs. That would be a bit more difficult for you as you will have the angle to deal with.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4326 days

#10 posted 11-26-2008 05:25 PM

The other option is to cut a veneer for two sides of the lets. Mill your leg stock minus 1/4”+ on the two plain sawn sides. Then Cut your own 1/8”+ Veneer (Nice to do from the same piece if possible). Glue to the legs. Trim with a flush trim bit and mill to final thickness. Not even Perceptible. You can see it on my dining table.

On casework you will only see two sides, so I would only bother to veneer an outside visible face. Good luck.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

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Charles Mullins

94 posts in 3947 days

#11 posted 11-26-2008 05:26 PM

I have seen a technique printed of making the leg a 1/8” narrower and applying 1/16” shop sawn flake veneers to the sides. The narrow edge will not be noticable. It seems easy enough especially if it is beveled on the edge some.

Good luck.

Charlie M.(the OTHER CharlieM.) 8^)

-- God makes the wood beautiful--I simply rearrange it to make it more useful, hopefully.

View Hellaenergy's profile


53 posts in 3973 days

#12 posted 11-29-2008 03:13 AM


Do you have any setup tips for the lock miter technique you use for your legs? For instance, if you have a given end dimension of the leg how do you calculate and mill the proper pieces for that beautiful end result you seem to get? I want a leg that is 1.5 “x 1.5”, do I mill each side to lets say 0.75” thick and 1.5” + n wide where n is a given loss of wood? Also, what do you use for the center?

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t. rector

31 posts in 2910 days

#13 posted 03-13-2011 08:11 PM best prices on qswo lumber in sw ohio and he will ship..

-- I often wonder "how did I get this lucky?"..t rec

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