Four-Sided Quartersawn Table Legs

Four-Sided Quartersawn Table Legs

How to rout lock miters on narrow pieces.

By Tom Caspar and Stewart Crick

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If you spotted an oak leg with quartersawn figure on all four sides, your first reaction might be: That’s neat! But if you know wood, your second reaction ought to be: Now, how did they do that?

Well, there’s more than one way. You could make a solid, plainsawn leg and glue quartersawn veneer on all four sides. Or you could make a leg from quartersawn wood and veneer just two sides. Or you can do what L. & J. G. Stickley did over one hundred years ago, in the heyday of the Arts and Crafts era, and make the leg from four interlocking pieces of solid wood. This method is the most durable type of construction because there’s no chance of veneer flaking off. Using a modern lock miter router bit, it works well for any size leg, big or small.

Figuring out how to make these lock miters safely and accurately on a narrow leg can be quite a challenge. On each piece, one lock miter is routed with the piece held vertically; the other is routed with the piece held horizontally. The problem, as you can readily see, is that the pieces have very small bearing surfaces. The solution: make a push block and a jig to hold the pieces rock steady for each pass.

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8. Glue four identical pieces to make the leg. The interlocking miters prevent the pieces from slipping side to side.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker April/May 2009, issue #141.

April/May 2009, issue #141

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