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Thread: Putting shelf on turned legs

  1. #1

    Putting shelf on turned legs

    Will be starting a new project of making end tables for the living room. My wife and I like the design of having turned legs with a shelf attached about 4 inches from the floor. I have seen several commercial tables in magazines with this design. My problem is what is the best way to cut the grooves in the legs to accept the shelf corners. The only way I can see to do it is to chisel each groove by hand. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    The other thing you might consider is a cross rail that really becomes a breadboard end to the shelf.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  3. #3
    Charles, if I understand what you are saying I still would have to put a groove in the turned leg.

  4. #4
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    I'll assume the turned leg will have a square headpiece to attach the aprons(?). This could be your guide. Shim up the turned profile and use your dado sled. If you have no sled for dados and you're only talking about two tables and eight notches, I would be tempted to just hand chisel them out. Or use this as the excuse to finally get around to making that dado sled. ;-)
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
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    The few times I've done stuff like this, I've cut the joints before turning the legs. Takes a bit more planning and careful layout, but it makes the overall job much easier.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Lasher View Post
    Charles, if I understand what you are saying I still would have to put a groove in the turned leg.
    I was thinking of a drilled hole, with a dowel or round tenon on the end. But I like square legs, and would probably have a square mortise (like your groove). See the third and fourth tables at www.plesums.com/wood/livingroom/coffeetable.html ... one has a narrow shelf, the other has a full-width shelf, but curves around the leg so it can have a breadboard end.

    Remember if you have a solid shelf, and a long-grain apron above the cross grain shelf, you will have conflicting expansion/contraction. The distance between them makes the chance of problem very small (the legs will bend before the shelf will split) but the breadboard end eliminates the issue.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

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