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Can you cut tapered legs with router?

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Blog entry by Bstrom posted 02-28-2021 12:31 AM 527 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve got a 1800’s reproduction table project that calls for tapered legs with a shaped foot detail that would make using a table saw impossible. Has anyone used a router and jig to taper a portion of a leg? Looking for a more brilliant mind to get me started…help!

I know a separate piece could be doweled onto the leg but if there is a way I’m open to it. Thanks!

-- Bstrom



6 comments so far

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

8264 posts in 3444 days


#1 posted 02-28-2021 10:22 AM

yes use a taper jig

-- Regards Rob

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

1389 posts in 3739 days


#2 posted 02-28-2021 10:34 AM

Do it by hand or use your bandsaw.
Use a spokeshave and a rasp to remove the bandsaw ripples where you can not reach with a hand plane.
A bullnose hand plane might be useful.

When I started to be interested by woodworking, looking at web sites, I was under the impression that everything could be made with a router. I bought an interesting book showing a lot of possibilities and then a router (10 years ago?). Then I discovered Paul Sellers, his blog and videos. I have used the router twice in 10 years.

Look here an example on how easy it is to shape wood without building complicated jigs(from about 3’50”):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlAOPG_H49E

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Bstrom's profile

Bstrom

360 posts in 413 days


#3 posted 02-28-2021 01:31 PM



Do it by hand or use your bandsaw.
Use a spokeshave and a rasp to remove the bandsaw ripples where you can not reach with a hand plane.
A bullnose hand plane might be useful.

When I started to be interested by woodworking, looking at web sites, I was under the impression that everything could be made with a router. I bought an interesting book showing a lot of possibilities and then a router (10 years ago?). Then I discovered Paul Sellers, his blog and videos. I have used the router twice in 10 years.

Look here an example on how easy it is to shape wood without building complicated jigs(from about 3 50”):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlAOPG_H49E

- Sylvain


Thanks for the direction – I’ve watched a lot of Paul Seller – he’s a great tutor. I’ll bandsaw the basic shape and hand finish. Probably make the foot separately and dowel it to the leg. That might be the hardest item to make.

-- Bstrom

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

1389 posts in 3739 days


#4 posted 02-28-2021 06:16 PM

I would try to do the leg in one piece. Making the transverse cut at or a little above the 3”1/2 and then making the tapering cuts free hand, leaving some wood to plane it after.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Bstrom's profile

Bstrom

360 posts in 413 days


#5 posted 03-01-2021 02:00 AM



I would try to do the leg in one piece. Making the transverse cut at or a little above the 3”1/2 and then making the tapering cuts free hand, leaving some wood to plane it after.

- Sylvain


I would love to do that but have no idea how to make four identical shapes like that – on the legs or separately. It amazes me that a fellow in the early 1800’s did know how and was able to do so with no power tools too.

-- Bstrom

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5848 posts in 2462 days


#6 posted 03-01-2021 05:32 PM

Are all four sides tapered?

Personally I’d start by making a hardboard template with a pattern bit on the router table. The template could be made in several parts, the upper tapered section and the lower “doohickey” section.
The main section of the template has the taper cut on the TS to be straight and the doohickey section is cut as a simple taper that is lopped off to the appropriate width at the leg/doohickey junction. Don’t worry about that raduis in the corner of the junction.

DS tape these two sections to a full length piece of 1/4” hardboard, rough cut with a bandsaw close to the edge and use a top bearing pattern bit to cut the full sized pattern. If you use a pattern bit with the same radius as the corner at the junction, the bit will inherently add that feature perfectly as it cuts into the corner created by your two-piece patterns.

You now have a full sized “master” pattern.
If only doing two opposite sides, DS tape this to your leg blank and have at it.

If you need to do all four sides, I’d use the master template to make a profiled jig from some thicker material (1/2” BB plywood). The plywood would be about 6-8” wide and using the hardboard template , the profile is cut along both long sides of the plywood leaving the clear area in the center. To this jig base you can glue on some stop blocks to align the leg stock and add a pair of toggle clamps to the plywood to clamp down the leg for profiling at the router table.

For this last step, you would need a bit with at least 1-5/8” cutter length. A simple straight bit will work if you add a bearing and two stop collars to the shaft. I do this by “borrowing” the parts from my other router bits or you could buy a bottom bearing pattern bit with the bearing diameter matching your junction radius.
The leg will need to be offset from the profiled edge of your plywood to compensate for the difference in radius created between the bits bearing and cutter diameter.

Sounds complex, but very accurate and you can make many more legs for future projects.
The choice of which profiled edge of the jig to use is based on the grain direction of the leg stock. Choose so you are always routing the grain “down hill” for the best smooth cut.

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