Harvey Ellis Nightstand #2: Legs

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Blog entry by DBrown52 posted 02-17-2015 02:49 PM 2164 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro Part 2 of Harvey Ellis Nightstand series Part 3: Rails »

The most involved aspect of the build is, by far, the legs.

The first thing I did was cut out the eight leg blanks to rough dimensions and then jointed and surfaced the blanks to 7/8” thickness. Then they were laminated to give a full 1-3/4”. Thickness surfacing before lamination means that my glue line is in the exact center, which is aesthetically important since I can’t hide it with Stickley-style veneers on account of the leg taper. After drying 24 hours, they were trimmed square to final length and width.

Next I cut all the mortises. Techniques vary, but my weapon of choice is a plunge router equipped with a 1/4” spiral upcut bit and an edge guide. There were quite a few to cut and the layout was fairly complicated, so I did lots of planning in SketchUp and diagrammed out my steps the evening before. I’m sure lots of guys can think on their feet in the shop, but I can’t.

I did all the vertical mortises first, so I only had to set my edge guide once.

(BTW, I didn’t miss my cut. I drew the mortises wrong during layout, but it doesn’t matter after the edge guide is set correctly on a scrap piece.)

The horizontal mortises for the drawer dividers are a bit more difficult. I couldn’t use an edge guide because the reference line (the top) is too short and too far away. So I clamped on a straight edge to run the router along. It’s a little tedious, but it worked.

Then I cut the open dovetail mortises in the top of the front legs to accept the divider over the top drawer. Sure, a square open mortise would have worked, but why not have some fun? I did this on the router table, stopping my cut only 3/8” in to accept the lapped dovetail. It’s a wide groove, so I hogged out most of it with a 3/4” straight bit and then finished it off with the dovetail bit. A piece of scrap that didn’t laminate well helped me set the router table fence.

Then it took a little chisel work to get everything flat where the router bit didn’t reach. I did a pretty lousy job and had some chipping, but it will be hidden by the top. I’ll have to figure out a different way to do these in the future.

Finally, I swapped in a 1/4” straight bit and cut grooves to accept the floating panels and the haunch of the tenons. They pass directly through the vertical mortises cut earlier.

Eventually, they will get tapered, but that can wait. The hard part of the build is done and I can move on to the other components soon. Thanks for reading. I promise the following entries won’t be so long.

6 comments so far

View handsawgeek's profile


663 posts in 2007 days

#1 posted 02-17-2015 04:23 PM

Nice progress! This is indeed going to be a great piece of furniture.
I look at this and imagine how this build would be done with all hand tools. Yikes!

-- Ed

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3478 days

#2 posted 02-17-2015 04:27 PM

This is coming along nicely. Keep up the good work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View pintodeluxe's profile


6040 posts in 3424 days

#3 posted 02-17-2015 06:47 PM

Looking good, keep up the great work.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Mean_Dean's profile


7017 posts in 3758 days

#4 posted 02-18-2015 01:12 AM

She’s coming along nicely—looking forward to seeing your progress!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View DBrown52's profile


65 posts in 2341 days

#5 posted 02-18-2015 03:04 AM

Thanks fellas. Work was delayed for a trip to Belize with my wife for our honeymoon. Beautiful country. Here I am with a cieba tree

We saw a massive mahogany tree on a hike. It had to be over 6ft wide at the base and broke the canopy. The places we stayed used mahogany for everything… doors, furniture, trim, even ceiling beams. It was really beautiful

Now I’m back to -20F wind chills. But it’s good to be home

View CaptainSkully's profile


1612 posts in 4169 days

#6 posted 03-26-2015 09:39 PM

Nothing wrong with a long post for a build this spectacular! Thanks for sharing.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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