LumberJocks

Selecting Lumber for Table or Desk Legs

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Chris posted 09-01-2007 03:52 AM 1381 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2650 days


09-01-2007 03:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: stock selection grain orientation

So… here I am busily trying to design my first piece of furniture from scratch. Then it occurred to me; How should I go about selecting stock for legs?

Previous projects were accomplished using pre-purchased legs. I suppose my biggest confusion is grain orientation. Any suggestions you folks may ahve would be much appreciated.

The piece is a shaker style writing desk for my oldest son in college. It would be similar to a library table.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein


14 replies so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2647 days


#1 posted 09-01-2007 05:21 AM

If you are using square legs then you will want to grain to run from corner to the opposite one. (diagonal)

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

13006 posts in 2641 days


#2 posted 09-01-2007 05:31 AM

Thanks Gary … I didn’t know about the diagonal grain orientation. I’m happy I stumbled onto this blog today !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2650 days


#3 posted 09-01-2007 05:37 AM

In Response to GaryK…. Yes. They are going to be square with a taper on two sides starting approx 1/3 down the length from the top of the leg. I realize that classic shaker would have turned legs more often than not; But, I neither have the skill with a lathe nor own one.

Thanks for the response! One of the problems we face here in Florida is that there are VERY few places were you can go pick out you hardwood lumber. Unless of course you consider Home Depot a lumber supplier (perish the thought!) So, if i were ordering this from an online retailer as I have in the past; What would I ask for? Plain Sawn, Rift Cut, Quarter Sawn?

Any Suggestions? It’s these type of nagging questions that have a habit of cementing me in place when trying to get a project started.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2969 days


#4 posted 09-01-2007 05:38 AM

Gary can you elaborate? I would think that the grain should run from top to bottom. The straighter the grain the stronger, correct? What would be the benefit of the grain running diagonal? Thanks!

-- Jesus is Lord!

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2647 days


#5 posted 09-01-2007 05:44 AM

It would have to be plain sawn away from the center of the tree.

Just explain to them what you are looking for and it should be easy enough for them to accomodate you.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2650 days


#6 posted 09-01-2007 05:46 AM

So.. I would rip the legs from either edge of the board were the grain sweeps upward. Correct?

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2647 days


#7 posted 09-01-2007 05:56 AM

Try this. Cut a square hole in a piece of paper the size of your leg. Hold it over the end of the board and rotate until the grain pattern you want appears, then mark the square on the wood.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2621 days


#8 posted 09-01-2007 01:54 PM

Lots of good info here. I guess, like Dan, I never thought much about the orientation of the growth rings on the end of the legs. I usually just look for straight grain up and down with minimal amounts of curl or swirl. I have used knotty Alder and turned across the knots. It didn’t seem to have any efect on the strength and kind of looked neat. Thanks for the tip, Gary.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2647 days


#9 posted 09-04-2007 07:34 PM

oscorner – You do want grain running from top to bottom and straight. It’s like quarter sawn at a 45 degree angle. All four sides will have straight grain.

When I say diagonal I mean looking at the end grain. Selecting based on that will prevent any warping
due to humidty since all four sides of the leg will show the same grain pattern and take in moisture
at the same rate.

I hope this is a little clearer.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Woodminer's profile

Woodminer

69 posts in 2596 days


#10 posted 09-05-2007 05:16 AM

Chris,

Where in Florida are you?

There are a few places where you can get hardwoods, but few of them are local. You do have a couple of dandy woods that could be used however.

What exactly are you looking/hoping for?

-- Dean, Missouri

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2650 days


#11 posted 09-05-2007 01:33 PM

Dean,

I am in Jacksonville.. I am looking for a decent price on white oak. THe only thing available locally is $11.00 BF

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3966 posts in 2722 days


#12 posted 09-05-2007 04:53 PM

Great tip, Gary. Would this not also help with achieve ray fleck on QS white oak?

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2647 days


#13 posted 09-05-2007 08:36 PM

Douglas – I’m not sure about the fleck on oak. I only use oak for drawer sides.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2650 days


#14 posted 09-05-2007 11:46 PM

Just wanted to thank everyone for their input. Just picked up 12BF White Oak at half the usual cost. After it acclimates I can get started and I will try to remember to post some pictures.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase