Sunday, 19 July 2015

Bedside tables (nightstands) - Part 2 - The legs

I had a piece of 16/4 (4" or 100mm square) sapele that I had seen in a home centre a few years ago. It originally was a finished newel post for a staircase and had been left on a rack alone in the home centre. I thought I could make a few guitar necks from it and as it was much cheaper than raw material bought it.
The timber was very well seasoned and was very stable and true. I used the bandsaw to resaw it in half and then run it through the table saw to get 8 pieces.
Then the usual milling process of jointer and planer/thicknesser was done to get the finished sizes of 38mm (1-1/2") square. The legs were then squared off and cut to length on the table saw crosscut table.
I then choose the best arrangement for each leg to match up the grain structures.
8 legs in raw form

There are a lot of mortises on each leg and the front legs differed from the back legs. I made up a story stick and marked off all the salient points for the mortises.

I had designed the tables to have 8mm (5/16") wide mortise and tenon joints and was all set to cut them using my dedicated mortiser. When it came down to doing the job I found that I had a 1/4" bit then a 3/8" bit and others going up to 5/8". But no 5/16" mortising bit!! I sent off for one and a 5/16" Narex mortise chisel from Amazon but it wasn't likely to arrive for a few days so I resorted to the old standby - the router.

Then using the router table I routed as many of the mortises as I could. I also decided to use my new Narex 5/16" mortise chisel, it arrived the next day due to the excellent Amazon Prime :),  to cut all the stretcher mortises and ejoyed the process. I found that mortising by hand produced far more accurate sides to the mortises than the ones produced by the router table. I think only doing 1/4" at a time with the router inevitably produces steps all the way down the slot. However that said the router is supreme at producing deep short slots which can't be done with the Narex mortise chisel due to its geometry.

Typical front leg

Typical rear leg

Some of the mortises cut,

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