Book Cabinet – Shaping the Leg, part one

IMG_0429After much casework, I finally get into the fun part: creating the shaped legs. To create the fin, I mark two 45 degree lines to yield close to a 3/4-inch thick fin. Perpendicular lines are drawn which will determine the protrusion of the fin at its widest part. The beveled rips, followed by the perpendicular cuts are a bit tricky to keep the workpiece against the fence and table saw surface. I used feather boards to keep the legs against the fence. If my fence accommodated them, some feather boards or similar devices would have been useful. I did my best to hold the legs in the cut using a long and heavy push block.

As the perpendicular cuts freed the waste the footprint of the workpiece is dramatically reduced. Working at a table saw should always be done with full attention and wits. Whatever full attention is, double it, for these last two rip cuts.

This leg design was written of by well-known designer and woodworker, Hank Gilpin, for a 2015 issue of Fine Woodworking Magazine. Earlier I had made a prototype of the leg to gain experience with the techniques and to evaluate proportions. I appreciated the impact this design had on shadows and visual planes.

IMG_0450I marked the fin taper with a long straight edge and made a sled to hold the legs at the required 45 degrees from any flat reference surface. The long tapers were made at the band saw trying to keep 1/32 of an inch on the waste side of the line.

The same sled was also used to hold the leg while I created the round over for the fin. I used a circle template to draw some guidelines on the ends of the legs. I did not work to those lines, but rather attempted to make them look and feel appropriate.

Next up, shaping the inside corners of the legs that protrude past the case bottom.

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