Leveling Table Legs

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Forum topic by Redzy posted 01-25-2015 03:53 PM 1105 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 647 days

01-25-2015 03:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table legs leveling poplar tips

Hi! I read through the previous posts on this topic but they were all a little older and didn’t really apply to my specific situation.

I’m putting together my first poplar console table. I’ve built a few small things as well as a daybed. I’m thinking I must have gotten lucky with the daybed legs being level? Or perhaps spruce relaxes down?

I’ve put together the frame for my table and all 4 legs were cut the same length but I’ve attached the legs to the aprons and turned the table upright to find that it is not level. I don’t have the top on the table yet but 2 of the legs are sitting on the floor at a time…unless I put weight on it.

Will it relax on its own or with heavy weight on it for a few days or do I need to trim the legs?

If I need to modify the length of the legs how should I go about that? I’ve watched several videos using a table saw as a planer to even them out – has anyone tried this? I’m a beginner and am very nervous using a table saw in such manor.

-- Meliss, Tampa, FL

10 replies so far

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 950 days

#1 posted 01-25-2015 03:56 PM

I wouldn’t do anything until you put the top on and check it.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2530 days

#2 posted 01-25-2015 05:09 PM

I had this happen many years ago with a weight bench I built. It was just fine where I assembled it, but when I put it in position, it rocked. If you are building on a concrete slab, I’d recommend completing your project and putting in it’s final place before altering the legs. Concrete slabs are generally not very even.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5105 posts in 2616 days

#3 posted 01-25-2015 06:04 PM

Yep…...set it on a dead-flat surface before going any farther….and make sure it’s dead-flat…...!!!!!!!

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View Loren's profile


8163 posts in 3069 days

#4 posted 01-25-2015 06:31 PM

A pair of at least parallel flat planes is required. A couple
of straight boards can be put on milk crates and then you
check them for parallel visually as if using winding sticks.

A level may also be used but in the case of a table only
level-ish parallels are required. Then you shim up the
short leg, scribe its nearest neighbor to the thickness of
the shim. I use a marking knife with a flat face but a
chisel will do, held firmly on a “frog”. The board used
on this end must be wide enough to steer the frog
around on and if a chisel handle is in the way that can
be a problem. A self-made marking knife from a piece
of hacksaw blade ground with a flat face can be attached
to the frog for one use as well.

With the cut marked, I then make a notch all around with
a sharp chisel on the line. This notch gives a hand
saw (I use a dozuki) something to register in and prevents
saw marks on the finished leg.

I saw shallowly on the faces, then working the saw around
the corners until a useful kerf is established all around. The
more carefully this is done less paring and filing the
end of the leg will require. Finally, parting off the waste
piece, clean up the end grain and check to see what
you’ve got on your parallels.

View MrUnix's profile


4031 posts in 1620 days

#5 posted 01-25-2015 07:10 PM

The above recommendations should point you in the right direction.. but you never know how level the floor is where the piece will eventually set and it may not level out on it’s own. A simple solution would be to put some screw type levelling feet on the bottom of the legs. You can get them already made in various sizes, or you can make your own depending on the project.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1772 days

#6 posted 01-25-2015 08:38 PM

I would save the leveling for last, certainly after the top is attached. Whatever method you use to cut the long legs make sure that you have a flat reference surface. Another consideration is that floors are not always level or flat, if you can, see if the piece wobbles in its room location before you start whacking off the legs. How you trim the legs depends on how much you need to remove, for slight adjustments a sander would work well or a block plane. More major adjustments would call for a sawing or chiseling. I think that the table saw method would work but I haven’t tried it myself.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Loren's profile


8163 posts in 3069 days

#7 posted 01-25-2015 09:29 PM

... and glides can have spacers placed in between the
glide and the leg end.

View ric53's profile


144 posts in 941 days

#8 posted 01-25-2015 10:29 PM

make sure your subassemblies are square.

-- Ric, Mazomanie

View AandCstyle's profile


2539 posts in 1678 days

#9 posted 01-26-2015 02:05 AM

Meliss, put heavy felt glides on the bottoms of the legs and they will adjust to un-level floors to some extent. HTH

-- Art

View Patch2020's profile


97 posts in 662 days

#10 posted 01-26-2015 03:49 PM

Don’t worry until the top is on and it is in position. Then make sure you adjust the one that levels it and not just the one that makes it quit rocking.

-- Patch2020, Tennessee

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