The Champion Table Build, Part 3: Leg Joinery

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flattening walnut stock with a wooden joiner for the top rails of the leg assembly

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using winding-sticks to make sure there is no twist in the board

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finishing up with a #7 jack plane

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squaring up the remaining edges and dimensioning the walnut on the bandsaw

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layout lines

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initial shaping of the curves on the top rail of the legs

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testing it against the table-top

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sawing lengths of white-oak for the vertical posts of the leg assembly

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the white oak after squaring-up

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testing the concept and a few angles before committing

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laying out the leg joints

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establishing the sliding dovetail angle with a knife

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cutting the front of the sliding dovetail

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all the bandsaw work done, now the hand-tools will finish

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paring the back cheek of the tenon

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the joint is most of the way there- the waste between the mortise and the dovetail is yet to be removed

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the four white oak legs all cut

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the arsenal of tools to accurately transfer the dimensions of the tenon/ dovetails onto the walnut rails

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starting the cut for the sliding dovetail socket with a carcass saw

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another view cutting sliding dovetail sockets

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chopping out the waste in the socket

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paring the sidewalls unreached by the saw

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using a router plane to achieve an accurate floor of the joint- the leg on the cutter allows it to reach the angled corners

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another view of the router-plane

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starting the mortise with a 3/4 mortise chisel

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the first row is delicate- just establishing the shape and protecting the corners

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going the full depth of the mortise with an auger – you can see the round-topped sliding dovetail socket parallel to the mortise

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squaring the mortise the rest of the way with the mortise chisel

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cleaning the sidewalls with my extra-big paring chisel

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thank God, they fit!

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step one is successful- to get to this point took endless drawings and two complete practice joints and a lot of patience

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marking the leg rails for some shaping/ sculpting cuts on the band saw

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the top rails post rough-shaping, and the taper of one of the white-oak legs marked with blue tape

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dry re-assembly just to make sure

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the glue-up

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next week will concern the joining of the bottom rail and the final shaping of the leg assemblies

12 thoughts on “The Champion Table Build, Part 3: Leg Joinery

    1. Thank you, Astrid. Your praise means a lot, as I greatly admire your skill and the excellence of your craftsmanship.

  1. Hi Jake,
    You have good angles and lines throughout to my eye. I had thought the dovetail would be getting exposed at the endgrain but it turned out with its location to be hidden. I wonder how you feel about the rounding-off there at the stopped end now that it’s together?

    1. Hi Ernest,
      It is “Jack” actually -but that’s not a big deal. The joint is similar to the joint used to attach the legs to those big Roubo style workbenches everyone is building these days. I should have identified mine as a stopped sliding dovetail. The rounding off of the top is part of the whole design of the leg assembly- which I have not shown yet. I’ve been generally pleased with the results, but you can judge for yourself when I post the pictures on the next post. Thank you kindly always for your comments and kind words, Ernest. How is the hewing treating you these days?

      1. Thanks for setting me straight Jack, mines actually Don, Ernest du Bois is more how I feel about wood. Since I may have jumped the gun I’ll let you do your thing. No judgements really at this point, I just see you walking a thin line’s all.
        As for the subject zo near my heart I got several side axes waiting to get fixed up and with the changing weather an itching to cut into sweet chestnut.

      2. No problem, Don. I am pleased to be on a first name basis with you. There is no doubt that I am walking a number of thin lines on this project. We’ll see where I end up. Please know I am always grateful for any insights and observations, especially for those who are ernest in their passion for the wood and the work.

  2. Beautiful work, as always, Jack. It’s amazing to see these joints in action– and I have no idea how you can get them to all fit together with all of those crazy angles. It’s pretty incredible to see the legs joined, and I can’t wait to see the final outcome!

    1. Thank you, Mikey. I had to do a lot of head scratching, drawing and practice work to make sure I got all of the angles right. The key angle is 14 degrees from square. I doubled my favorite angle, which is 7 degrees from square. The angle compounds in a few places, and that always makes for tricky alignment.

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