Help with flared table legs

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Forum topic by LiveEdge posted 12-18-2013 10:36 PM 2112 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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598 posts in 1861 days

12-18-2013 10:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mission table leg flare

Hey everybody! First time poster, but I’m hoping to become more of a regular. I come from a long line of woodworkers and so have some skill/knowledge but not nearly enough. I’ve picked woodworking up again after I finally got a decent table saw. I’ve been working on smaller projects with the goal of building my skills before attempting a dining room table.

Enough about me. Here’s my question.

I like the mission style and came across this table that I may use for inspiration. (picture) I noticed the legs widen at the base in two directions and wondered the best way to go about accomplishing a similar look. Can one simply build up some material around the leg and then proceed to cut it down and shape it or are you stuck starting with a wide post and cutting it down along the length except for the flare at the bottom?

Probably a basic question, but, you know, the whole measure twice, cut once thing…

Thanks for the help!

7 replies so far

View LakeLover's profile


283 posts in 2181 days

#1 posted 12-18-2013 11:55 PM

I’ll throw my .02 in

Unless you can hide a glue line.

I think you have to carve away.

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3306 days

#2 posted 12-19-2013 12:20 AM

I don’t like cutting through a glue line on a tapered cut if at all possible. Cutting through at an angle will visually elongate the exposed glue line and make it quite noticeable.

-- PaulMayer,

View lepelerin's profile


495 posts in 2566 days

#3 posted 12-19-2013 12:26 AM

You could resaw almost to where the curve starts and carve, spokeshave, rasp, sanding …. router with a template, band saw if you have one … patience and time … good luck.
Glue line will be visible … Nice table btw

View LiveEdge's profile


598 posts in 1861 days

#4 posted 12-19-2013 12:43 AM

I was afraid that was the answer. Without seeing the table in real life I wonder what dimensions will look good. I want a leg with some visual heft to it so was thinking a 4” post would be good. I think I’m going to build it out of alder and I’m not sure I can get anything bigger than 16/4 from my local shop.

I guess I could trim the post down to 3.5”x3.5” with a half inch flare. I might just have to do one and see what it looks like before I can pass judgement.

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3306 days

#5 posted 12-19-2013 08:05 AM

I should clarify. I don’t like cutting through a glue line in a path that runs nearly parallel to the glue line. For a leg this size it is common practice to make a taper cut on a surface that is perpendicular to the glue line. You wouldn’t need 16/4 stock to do this. I would be comfortable laminating stock for the legs, but you would just want to contain the taper cut to a single plank so that it cross a glue line. If you match grain, get good glue surfaces and use plenty of clamps to clamp up the laminations, your glue lines will be nearly invisible. I believe that you could use 8/4 stock, and possibly even 6/4 to make these legs. Glue up the sandwiches to make the leg blanks, then mill your mortises so that the glue lines face the sides (not the front) of the desk. Then mark your taper cuts so that they stay clear of the glue line by at least 1/8”, and 1/4” would be better. The just be sure that you leave the line and sand carefully to it. I build legs this way all the time and I am pleased with the result. The first time I did one I cut too close to the glue line and sanded through. Yuk. That is one of those mistakes that you only need to make once.

-- PaulMayer,

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3889 days

#6 posted 12-19-2013 08:19 AM

You can make the legs of glued-up wood and veneer the
outside. If you have a band saw you can cut your own
veneer, even having quarter sawn (tiger stripe) oak on
all 4 faces. Thick veneers can be bent to follow the
flair on a 2” steel pipe heated with a propane torch
inside (guitar side bending iron).

Ideally you might saw them from solid stock but you’d need
to find 16/4 stock and you might not like the price.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30154 posts in 2579 days

#7 posted 12-19-2013 10:47 AM

Nice looking table. It will enhance your skills building it. For me I would start with thick stock and cut it down. Loren is correct on the veneer, but whatever you do, it has to match the look of the rest of the table.

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