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Need advice shortening tapered table legs

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Forum topic by tsdahc posted 03-25-2015 12:05 AM 2344 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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tsdahc

107 posts in 1812 days


03-25-2015 12:05 AM

My parents bought a table that was too tall, they asked me to cut the legs down 5 inches. Said no problem easy job.
I got the legs and they are tapered, still thought no problem, set up a jig on my miter saw that held it away from the fence and held up from the base of the saw to make it square when I cut. First one done looks good, cut the second one and its crooked and off about 1/8-1/4 inches. Look at the legs and it appears the tapers are not uniform to each leg. Anybody have an advice on how to cut these?


13 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4024 posts in 1812 days


#1 posted 03-25-2015 12:18 AM

Are they tapered on 2 sides? 4 sides? A picture would be a good thing.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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firefighterontheside

13448 posts in 1317 days


#2 posted 03-25-2015 12:19 AM

How about measure up from the bottom at each corner and make a mark. Connect all the dots and cut thru the line. That’s if each side is tapered. Sometimes legs are made so that only two sides are tapered. In which case two are square and you should be able to register those sides against the fence and against the table of your saw and cut.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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tsdahc

107 posts in 1812 days


#3 posted 03-25-2015 12:35 AM

Sorry thoughts described the taper, all four sides are tapered. No way to register one side. The top of the leg isn’t even flat, I swear a 5 year old built these legs. Legs didn’t sit flat on the feet from the factory, none of the tops are flat, tapers all seem to be a little different angles.

Here’s a picture but hard to tell since they’re black

And here’s what my first two cuts look like. The set up I used didn’t move and was set up to account for the difference in the top of leg to bottom but as I said all 4 legs are different apparently, all off by about 1/8” here and there

Think I may try the measure down with points on each face then connect the dots.

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tsdahc

107 posts in 1812 days


#4 posted 03-25-2015 12:39 AM

Sorry for the side ways pictures, I’ve rotated them in my editor and they still go caddywompus

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firefighterontheside

13448 posts in 1317 days


#5 posted 03-25-2015 12:52 AM

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View BigMig's profile

BigMig

385 posts in 2074 days


#6 posted 03-27-2015 05:01 PM

I’d measure up frpom teh bottom – and as you said – “with points on each face then connect the dots” Perhaps even hand saw the legs.

Second option – create a wedge that holds the leg parallel to the saw stage.

I like the first option better.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

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tsdahc

107 posts in 1812 days


#7 posted 03-27-2015 05:39 PM

I am going to try the point method, but now I have to measure from the top since two are already cut. May have to get a new hand saw (darn hate having to buy new tools) since my handsaws are 2” then a spine, guess I need their big brothers to make it through.

I had built a contraption on my miter saw that held the legs the correct distance from the fence and base of the miter saw, that’s how I figured out that all the legs have different degree of taper. A little bit here or there off no big deal but when it’s over a 42” leg it makes a difference. Guess that’s you get when you buy cheap Chinese made furniture, accuracy isn’t important.

I will let everyone know how it goes this weekend, hopefully I don’t have to but my parents a new table!

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

3178 posts in 2237 days


#8 posted 03-27-2015 06:24 PM

Stand the table up as it should be – on a level surface. Using wedges under the legs, level the table top. Cut a piece of 2×4 the length that you want to shorten the table, I would use a table saw that cuts smooth and square.

Hold the 2×4 against each leg and scribe the cut line across three of the legs on each side. Cut three of the legs on the downside of the scribe. Cut the fourth leg about 1/4” lower so this leg is longer than the other three.

Pick up the table and put a 1/2” piece of plywood under the three cut legs, leaving the fourth hanging off the edge. Using a marking knife, carefully scribe the longer leg at the edge of the plywood. Cut his carefully on the downside of the scribe mark.

It should sit straight and not wobble. I always put felt under the legs to not let the legs scratch the floor and not splinter the legs, it also adjusts for uneven floors.

Doing it this way allows for all curves, tapers, and everything else.

Good luck

-- David in Damascus, MD

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tsdahc

107 posts in 1812 days


#9 posted 03-29-2015 04:58 PM

Thank you all for the suggestions. Unfortunately I only have the legs, my parents live in Michigan im in Virginia so they just shipped the legs. If I had the whole table this would have made life easier. I’m going to use the scribe method using a story stick for each legs. Cut them with a hand saw then flatten it out with a sander. I’ll lt you all know how they turned out.

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 797 days


#10 posted 03-29-2015 05:21 PM

Stop cutting! You are going to run out of legs. Ship them the legs back. Tell them to assemble the table and set it on four sheets of 80 grit sandpaper double taped to a level surface. They can lightly move the table back and forth on the sand paper and flatten out the legs checking for level as they go. Should work unless its a huge table.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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tsdahc

107 posts in 1812 days


#11 posted 03-29-2015 07:22 PM

Thanks for the sandpaper idea but I think it would take them about 100 years to use that method and get them down 6” that they needed.

I went through and used a digital protractor to fine the angle of each face on the leg and found which face netted closest to 90 deg. I set that side face down on my table saw. Took a second leg repeated procedure then clamped it to the first and leveled against the fence and set the lefty to 35 3/4”. I then took my Osborne miter gauge and set it up to the corresponding angle of the taper and then clamped it to the legs. I put shims in between the legs at the foot to keep them from shifting moved the fence away to prevent binding and cut them on the table saw. They came out close. The problem has always been there is not a single section of these legs that were square to reference the cut. They are all a little different in height with about the Max difference between a 1/16 and 1/8” off. I told them to get feet level lets from the store since the tables about 1/4” shorter then they wanted. That will make it so they can get it perfectly level. Of course u don’t think the table was level to begin with since each leg was a different length depending on which face you measured. I’ll find out next weekend if it worked, takes a few days for ups to get them there.

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TopamaxSurvivor

17654 posts in 3136 days


#12 posted 03-30-2015 01:55 AM

I would send them back for assembly. Put the table upside down on larger level table. Using a water level if they do not have a better method like a laser level, have them marked on all 4 sides. You should be able to set up to cut the marked legs.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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ElChe

630 posts in 797 days


#13 posted 03-30-2015 02:40 AM

Hahaha. I thought you had already cut the 6” off the legs. I didnt mean for your poor parents to sand off the 6”. Just to level the legs after the initial cuts were made.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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