Tapering the legs

Finally!

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Between various holiday activities, getting a flu right before Christmas, the cold weather, and an insane work schedule for the last two weeks, I haven’t been able to get the last of the 4 legs glued together.  Anyway, I finally brought the leg and the glue into the house, let it all warm up, and then took it outside to glue it up.  Then I brought it back inside dry.  Anyway, all of the legs are dry and ready for the next step: tapering.

But, before I can taper them…I need to clean up the glue and plane the maple flush.

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First, I used a plane to remove the bulk of the excess material and glue…both on the sides and bottoms of each leg.  Then I used a scraper to get everything nice and smooth and flush.

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I like to cut tapers on the jointer.  It’s a very accurate way to cut gentle tapers.  But, it does require a bit of setup.  First you find the length of the piece you are tapering.

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Then you set a stop block at half that length from the center of the jointer knives.  And set the depth of cut to one-half of the desire depth, in this case I wanted 1/2” of taper, so I set the jointer at 1/4” cut.

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Now that the jointer is setup, all you have to do is push the stock into jointer desired smaller end first.  Repeat for each side of each leg.

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Once all the legs have been cut on all sides, this is the result.

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Next remove the stop block, turn the piece around, and tilt the leg up…so that it is doing a “wheelie”.  Then push it into the jointer.  Its important to go slowly because the depth of cut is so deep.  Otherwise, you can get a lot of tear-out.  Repeat for all sides of all legs.

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Then end result.  30 minutes later 4 legs are tapered exactly 1/2” on each side.

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The next task was to determine which sides of each leg should face outwards, or more importantly which should NOT.  When doing projects like this, quite often it’s a matter of “hiding” the defects.  I got a little bit of tear-out on one side of one leg were there was a small knot.  That corner will face the inside of the table!  Once I’ve arranged the legs, I place a piece of tape on the outside corner of each leg, just to mark it.

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These pictures show the arrangement of grain that I’ve chosen

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The next task is to cut the pegs and mortises for the apron.  because walnut is so dark, I use tape to make it easy to see the marks.  This also helps to minimize tear out.  I’ll be cutting the pegs and mortises , next.

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